FRIDAY www.thestatesman.com 25 DECEMBER 2020 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |`5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR SEPARATION OF POWER P6 WEATHER Mainly clear sky. Moderate to dense fog in the morning. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 23 and 05 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max: 97% PM’s charge of lying to farmers baseless: Opp NEW DELHI, 24 DECEMBER T THUMBNAILS Children at Bow Barracks on Christmas-eve. ANAGHA BANIK In Kolkata on Thursday. Fresh sentence for Saeed: Mumbai terror attack mastermind and chief of the banned Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) Hafiz Saeed was on Thursday sentenced to 15 and a half years in jail by an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan in one more terror financing case. The Anti-Terrorism Court of Lahore also imposed a 200,000 Pakistani rupees fine on Saeed. The 70-year-old radical cleric has already been convicted for 21 years imprisonment in four terror financing cases of late. Saeed will have to undergo collective imprisonment of over 36 years in five terror financP9 ing cases at the Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore. en Opposition parties including the Congress and the Left, together with the Farooq Abdullah-led People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), today took strong exception to the government’s charges that they were lying to the farmers on the farm laws or were using them for their politics. In a joint statement, the Opposition leadersled by former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, including NCP president Sharad Pawar, CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and DMK leader T R Baalu demanded the three contentious farm laws, along with the Electricity Amendment Bill, 2020, be repealed and discussions be held with the farmers and all stakeholders. “On the basis of these consultations new enactments may be considered by Parliament, if necessary, by convening a special or a joint session,” the leaders said. They said “We, the undersigned, register our strong protest against the baseless allegations being made by PM Modi accusing the Opposition parties of “repeatedly lying” to the farmers about the new farm laws and “using them for their politics”. “The Prime Minister’s accusations are a complete travesty of truth,” the Opposition leaders said. The parties which issued the statement were Farmer leaders during the ongoing protest at Delhi’s Singhu border on Thursday. NEW DELHI, 24 DECEMBER The government on Thursday extended a fresh invite to protesting farmer unions for talks, but made it clear that it would not be “logical” to include in the agenda any new demand related to minimum support price (MSP), saying it was out of the purview of three new farm laws. In a three-page letter written to 40 farmer leaders, Agriculture Ministry Joint Secretary Vivek Aggarwal said, “I again request you that the government has been discussing all issues with an open heart and good the Congress, NCP, DMK, PAGD, RJD, SP CPI (M), CPI, , CPI (ML), AIFB and RSP. Expressing solidarity SNS Rahul meets Prez over farm laws Govt sends fresh invite for talks with a non-MSP rider intention to end the protest, and will continue to do so. Kindly suggest a date and time (for the next round of talks).” Previous five rounds of talks between the government and the unions have failed to break the deadlock with the farmers insisting on the repeal of the three laws and camping at various border points of Delhi for nearly a month now. Aggarwal asked the union leaders to provide details of other issues they want to discuss. The talks will be held at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi at a ministerial level, he PTI said. with the agitating farmers, they said the call for the farmers’ “historic struggle was given by more than SNS & PTI LONDON, 24 DECEMBER The BCCI’s governing body on Thursday ratified the entry of two new franchises in the IPL to make it a 10-team affair from 2022 and also decided to back the ICC’s push for cricket’s inclusion in the 2028 Olympics, during its Annual General Meeting (AGM) here. “Two new teams will be introduced in the 2022 IPL,” a Board source said. It is learnt that time at hand is too short for even a nine-team IPL next year as an elaborate tenderfloating process, increase of matches and ensuring that all foreign player’ international calenders are adjusted, would be prove to be a herculean task. T20 cricket in Olympics: In another major development, the Board, in principle, decided to back the ICC’s bid for inclusion of cricket, in the T20 format, in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics “after getting some clarifications from the International Olympic Committee”. “Look, the BCCI is an autonomous body and it would like to maintain its autonomy. Our legal team is looking to get a few clarifications. Obviously, cricket in Olympics is great for the game,” the member, who attended the AGM, said. BCCI likely to lose $123m in ICC revenue: “We have told the ICC that we will approach our government for tax rebate but if we don’t get that exemption, the amount, which is around $123 million, will be deducted from our annual revenue, so we will get around $267 million. But India is hosting the 2021 T20 World Cup,” the PTI source said. Details on Page 12 P12 Don’t tinker with poll results: PAGD urges J-K admin NEW DELHI, 24 DECEMBER Sharpening its attack on the government over the new three farm laws, Congress leaders on Thursday staged a strong protest outside the party headquarters here at Akbar Road after they were prevented from marching towards Rashtrapati Bhawan. Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury later met President Ram Nath Kovind and demanded withdrawal of the three PTI farm laws. Details on Page 5 500 kisan organisations from all over the country under the banner of Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM). Many of us had opposed these agri Laws when they were being enacted in the Parliament, without discussions, or, a proper consideration. MPs who sought a vote were suspended.” Clarifying their positions, the parties said that “amongst the many unsubstantiated accusations made, one of them is that those who spoke of agrarian reforms in election manifestoes earlier but are now opposing.” “Yes, we are for reforms, but what sort of reforms? Opposition parties seek reforms to strengthen Indian agriculture; enhance the prosperity of our farmers; and ensure continued food security for our people and the country. The present farm laws undermine these very objectives,” the statement said. “Among the “big lies” that the Opposition is supposedly spreading is on the MSP. The PM claims implementing the Swaminathan Commission Report in this regard. This Report had recommended an MSP of C2+50 per cent, while this government, at best, implements A2+50 per cent,” the leaders said. “In fact, this government told the Supreme Court its inability to implement C2+50 per cent MSP . Who is spreading untruths,” they said. Likewise, the parties contested the accusation that Opposition parties are “shooting from the shoulders of the farmers” in order to “regain lost political ground.” STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE JAMMU, 24 DECEMBER The Peoples’ Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) on Thursday urged the administration to respect the verdict of people in the District Development Committee (DDC) elections and not tinker with the democracy by confining independent candidates and pressurising them to support a particular party. The PAGD spokesman Sajad Lone, while briefing media persons about their meeting, did not name any political party but his obvious reference was towards the BJP National Conference . chief Farooq Abdullah was also present during the briefing about the meeting that was held at his Srinagar residence to review the outcome of the elections. Lone said that disturbing reports have come in of the government of the day acting in a “partisan manner” and in fact becoming participant by directly and indirectly facilitating moves by some people to attract independents towards them by confining them. The administration should desist from such tactics and not humiliate the great verdict of the people of J&K. Now that people of J&K have reposed their faith in democracy of the country after so many upheavals, the onus lies on the administration to reciprocate that respect and faith of people in the democracy. We need to respect this verdict and show respect to people of J&K. Under no circumstances should the democracy be tinkered with or interfered with, which is totally unacceptable. The PAGD expressed gratitude to the J&K people for coming out in large numbers to vote in the DDC elections. Lone said that the other new trend that has appeared in J&K during these elections is of preventive detentions by the administration. What is the logic behind putting innocent people behind bars, he asked. This has been one of the most peaceful election in past three decades and it can be called the most non-violent and peaceful election. It should have ended with something good but the preventive detentions are totally contradictory to peace. Farooq Abdullah said, “Gupkar alliance is much stronger today than when it was formed. We are united and we will continue to be united.Why do you have doubts about this”, he asked reporters. (SNS photo) UK, EU clinch post UK Covid strain: States put in place fresh protocols Brexit free trade deal PRESS TRUST OF INDIA AHMEDABAD, 24 DECEMBER P10 STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE Min: 4.5°C (-3) SUN SETS 17:32 hrs MOON SETS 03:363 hrs BCCI AGM ratifies 10-team IPL from 2022 P9 CAVANI MUSCLES MAN-U INTO SEMIS Opposition parties demand the three farm laws be repealed, talks be held with stakeholders Min: 45% TEMPERATURE Max: 23.1°C (+2) SUN RISES 07:12 hrs MOON RISES 14:16 hrs TRUMP PARDONS FORMER AIDES PAK COURT ORDERS RELEASE OF PEARL MURDER ACCUSED The deal is done, Downing Street in London and European Union (EU) officials in Brussels confirmed on Thursday as both sides managed to thrash out a post-Brexit free trade agreement (FTA) just days before the 31 December deadline. Thousands of pages of legal text accompanies the deal, with details of the agreement set to emerge in the course of the next few days, including the final ratification of the FTA by Parliaments on both sides. “We have got Brexit done and we can now take full advantage of the fantastic opportunities available to us as an independent trading nation, striking trade deals with other partners around the world,” Downing Street said in a statement. “We have signed the first free trade agreement based on zero tariffs and zero quotas that has ever been achieved with the EU. The deal is the biggest bilateral trade deal signed by either side, covering trade worth GBP 668 billion in 2019,” it said, adding that the UK has taken back control of its “money, borders, laws, trade and our fishing waters”. “The deal also guarantees that we are no longer in the lunar pull of the EU and all of our red lines about returning sovereignty have been achieved,” Downing Street declared. Details on Page 10 NEW DELHI/HYDERABAD, 24 DECEMBER As states put in place fresh protocols in view of a new Covid19 strain spreading in the UK, a coronavirus positive woman allegedly managed to give the slip to authorities in New Delhi after her arrival from London and reached Andhra Pradesh by train only to be picked up by authorities and admitted to a hospital. The 47-year-old woman had landed in Delhi from the UK on the night of 21 December and her 22-year old son had gone to receive her. The mother had tested positive both at the airport and at Safdarjung Hospital. The hospital authorities had advised home isolation. The pair quietly left the hospital and boarded AP Special Express on 22 December to reach Rajahmundry on 23 December midnight. The pair were picked up by police at Rajahmundry and sent to a hospital. Her swab samples have been sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune to determine whether she had contracted the new strain of Covid-19. The Centre has suspended all flights connecting India and the UK from 23 December till 31 December after the discovery of the new strain of the deadly virus and has directed rigorous testing of those who arrived from England recently. In Meghalaya, entry of individuals from the UK into the state has been barred. The state government has also urged people who have recently returned from Britain or transited through the coun- Uptick in daily new cases trend SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 24 DECEMBER The number of new Covid19 cases recorded daily in the country saw a slight uptick on Thursday, with 24,712 new cases being reported in the previous 24 hours, which also took the total number of confirmed cases to 1,01,23,776, according to date provided by the Union Health Ministry. The number of recoveries, meantry to stay in isolation and inform it about their travel history. As many as 216 people who arrived in Amritsar from the UK in a 22 December flight will be institutionally quar- while, surged to 96.93 lakh. The death toll increased to 1,46,756 with 312 new fatalities, the data updated at 8 a.m. showed. Delhi today reported 1,063 fresh cases of Covid-19, which took the cumulative count of its Covid tally to 6,20,681. According to the Delhi government's latest health bulletin, as many as 89,920 tests were conducted to iden(SEE P2) tify these cases. antined as they might have come in contact with seven of their fellow passengers and a crew member who tested Covid-19 positive on arrival, health officials said. 1,01,23,778 2,83,849 24,712 29,791 1,46,756 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. THURSDAY 24 DECEMBER 2020 Gurudev’s vision essence of Atmanirbhar mission: Modi at VBU PRESS TRUST OF INDIA SANTINEKATAN, 24 DECEMBER Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s vision is the essence of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ mission of his government for empowerment of India and the world, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday, as he took forward his outreach to premier educational institutions. Addressing a function to mark the centenary celebrations of Visva-Bharati, the country’s oldest Central University, he extolled the pivotal role it played in India’s freedom movement and in furthering the cause of universal brotherhood. Visva-Bharati was declared a Central University and an Institution of National Impor- tance by an Act of Parliament in 1951. “Gurudev’s vision forVisvaBharati is the essence of Atmanirbhar Bharat. Atmanirbhar Bharat is the path to India’s development for the development of the world. It’s a campaign for India’s empowerment and prosperity, and through it, the prosperity of the world,” he told the gathering through video conferencing from New Delhi. He said Tagore and the institution he founded not only strengthened the spirit of nationalism but also promoted inclusiveness that strengthened “vishva bandhutva” (universital brotherhood). The Prime Minister, who addressed the centenary celebrations of four universities~ the Mysore Uni- Prime Minister Modi addressing at the centenary celebrations of Visva-Bharati University, Shantiniketan, through video PIB conference, in New Delhi on Thursday. versity, Lucknow University, Aligarh Muslim University and Visva-Bharati~in the past two months, dwelt on the role played by educational institutions in the freedom movement. He said from the “Vedas to Vivekananda”, Tagore’s thoughts reflected the collective thought of India, which was never introverted or exclusive. “His vision was that what is best in India the Mamata not invited: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee today denied receiving an invitation to the centenary year celebrations of Visva Bharati University even as varsity authorities claimed that the invitation was sent 20 days in advance. At a Presser today, Miss Banerjee hit out at the BJP saying: “They did not invite me for today’s conSNS vocation.” See Page 4 world should benefit from it, and India should learn from the good things they have. Now look at the very name of your university~ Visva- Bharati...coordination and cooperation of India with the world,” he said. The Prime Minister said Visva-Bharati was the embodiment of the Tagore’s vision and a “venerable source of constant energy to the country.” He said, today, India was spreading Visva-Bharati’s message to the world. “India is today leading the world in the field of environment protection through the International Solar Alliance and is the only country moving at a rapid pace to achieve the goals of the Paris Accord,” he asserted. “Educational insitutions and universities like VisvaBharati and others gave a new direction to the freedom movement.” Praising the institution for its remarkable achievements in varied fields like art and literature, and science and innovation, the Prime Minister urged its students to reach out to the artisans in the region to explore ways to find national and international markets for their produce. “That will make them selfreliant. Atmanirbhar Bharat is the initiative for India’s prosperity which will aid in global prosperity,” he said. Modi also spoke about the inclusive culture that was inherent in India’s ethos. It came at a time when Bengal is witnessing political violence in the run-up to the Assembly polls and chief minister Mamata Banerjee has often dubbed his BJP a “party of outsiders”.
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