CMYK THURSDAY www.thestatesman.com 28 JANUARY 2021 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |` 5.00|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR BIDEN SIGNS ORDER TO ENSURE RACIAL EQUITY IMF FOR EXTENSION OF PANDEMIC SUPPORT MEASURES P10 Fog/Mist in the morning, mainly clear sky later. Temperature likely to in the range of 23-13 degree Celsius. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY TEMPERATURE P8 P5 P12 R-Day violence: Farmer camp splits WEATHER Max. 93% MAN CITY ON TOP OF EPL ‘RED FORT VIOLENCE INSULT TO NATION’ Min. 42% Max: 23.4°C (-3) Min: 14.1°C (-1) SUN RISES SUN SETS 06:17 hrs 17:23 hrs MOON SETS MOON RISES 05:54 hrs 16:58 hrs Full moon on 29 January THUMBNAILS Beating Retreat full dress rehearsal at Vijay Chawk in New Delhi on Wednesday. SUBRATA DUTTA Tandav web series: The Supreme Court Wednesday declined to grant interim protection from any coercive action to Ali Abbas Zafar, director of web series Tandav, and others seeking quashing of FIRs against them for allegedly hurting religious sentiments of Hindus and issued notices Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and other states on their pleas. Observing that freedom of speech and expression is not absolute, the court said Zafar and the others may seek bail from courts concerned in the FIRs lodged against the web series. Covaxin effective against UK variant: Covaxin, developed by Bharat Biotech, has the ability to neutralise the UK variant of the coronavirus, according to a preprint review by bioRxiv, an online archive and distribution service for unpublished preprints in the life sciences. “A comparable neutralisation activity of sera of the vaccinated individuals showed against UKvariant and the heterologous strain with similar efficiency”, in tests, the review said. Two farmer unions withdraw from agitation; police file 25 cases over violence; at least 37 prominent farmer leaders named in FIRs PRESS TRUST OF INDIA s many as 37 farmer leaders, including Rakesh Tikait, Yogendra Yadav, Darshan Pal and Gurnam Singh Chaduni, have been named in an FIR in connection with the violence during the tractor parade that left over 300 police personnel injured even as two farmer unions on Wednesday withdrew from the agitation against the farm laws. Delhi Police said that 25 FIRs have been filed and around 200 people detained. Multiple videos and CCTV footage are being scanned to identify those involved in the violence. The FIR registered at Samaypur Badli names 37 farmer leaders including Tikait, Yadav, Darshan Pal and Chaduni and their role will be probed, the police said. The FIR has been registered under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including A NEW DELHI, 27 JANUARY Scenes during the farmers’ agitation and tractor march that went out of control in Delhi on Tuesday. AMARJEET SINGH 147, 148 (related to rioting), 307 (attempt to murder) and 120B (punishment of criminal conspiracy). Even as the farmer unions continued to allege that “anti-social” elements had perpetrated the violence to “torpedo” their peaceful agitation against the farm laws, Tuesday's incidents that have been widely condemned started taking a toll with Bharatiya Kisan Union (Bhanu) and All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee withdrawing from the protests on the Delhi's borders. The protesting farmer leaders are now considering postponement of their foot march to Parliament on February 1 against the three farm laws in the wake of the violence on Tuesday. A senior farmer leader said that Samkyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), which is an umbrella body of 41 protesting unions, will take a final call on the postpone- ment of the February 1 foot march. Union culture and tourism minister Prahlad Patel visited the Red Fort on Wednesday to take stock of the damage caused by a section of farmers who stormed the monument and hoisted the Nishan Sahib, the Sikh religious flag, there after deviating from the rally route. The minister has sought a report on the incident. Security has been beefed up in several places across the national capital, especially at the Red Fort and farmer protest sites, with the deployment of additional security personnel. The tractor parade on Republic Day that was to highlight the demands of the farmer unions to repeal three new agriculture laws dissolved into anarchy on the streets of the city as tens of thousands of protesters broke through barriers, fought with police, and overturned vehicles. A day after unprecedented violence in Delhi during the tractor parade, the government on Wednesday said it has never stated that the doors for dialogue with farmers are closed and stressed that it will inform whenever the decision is taken for fresh talks. “We have never said that the doors for dialogue are closed. Have you heard. Whenever talks are held, we will let you know,” Union minister Prakash Javadekar said, when asked at the cabinet briefing on whether the doors for talks with farmers are closed now. After the 11th round of talks on Friday last, the government asked the Skin to skin contact: SC stays Bombay HC order PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 27 JANUARY The Supreme Court Wednesday stayed the Bombay High Court order which acquitted a man under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act saying groping a minor's breast without 'skin to skin contact' cannot be termed as sexual assault. A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna andV Ramasubramanian stayed the high court order after Attorney General K K Venugopal mentioned the matter. Tiktok shuts down India business PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 27 JANUARY NEW DELHI, 27 JANUARY China's ByteDance will shut its India business and cut the 2,000-plus employees to a bare minimum over the uncertainty in making a comeback following a ban on its hugely popular TikTok video app in the country, the company told employees in an internal memo on Wednesday. Tiktok's global interim head Vanessa Pappas and vice president for global business solutions Blake Chandlee in a joint email to employees have communicated the decision of the company to reduce its team size and the decision will impact all employees in India. According to sources at ByteDance, the company is retrenching its workforce in India and will continue to operate with skeletal staff in select department such as legal, administrative, human resource, accounts etc, to facilitate the settlements and engagement with the government. Pappas and Tiktok's global general counsel Erich Andersen briefed employees in a town hall on Wednesday morning about the lay-off plan and offered them three-month salary as well as additional month remuneration in proportion to the number of years they have worked for the company. “While we don't know when we will make a comeback in India, we are confident in our resilience, and desire to do so in times to come,” Pappa and Chandlee said in the joint email. ATiktok spokesperson said the company has worked to comply with the government order issued on June 29, 2020 but that in the ensuing seven months, it has not been given a clear direction on how and when its apps PTI could be reinstated. Details on Page 8 Never said doors for dialogue shut: Javadekar NEW DELHI, 27 JANUARY The top court also issued notice to the Maharashtra government and permitted the AG to file an appeal against the January 19 verdict of the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court. Venugopal, while mentioning the matter before the bench, submitted that the judgment of the high court is unprecedented and is likely to set a dangerous precedent. The verdict said that groping a minor's breast without “skin to skin contact” cannot be termed as sexual assault as defined under the POCSO Act. It said that since the man groped the child without removing her clothes the offence cannot be termed as sexual assault but it does constitute the offence of outraging a woman's modesty under IPC section 354. The high court had modified the order of a sessions court, which had sentenced a 39-year-old man to three years of impris- Collegium’s recommendations: SC upset at delay by Centre The Supreme Court Wednesday took strong note of the delay on the part of the Central government in acting on the collegium's recommendations clearing names for appointment of judges in the higher judiciary, saying it is a matter of great concern. The apex court said that as on date 189 proposals on appointment of judges are pending and sought an update on the latest position from the government. A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde asked Attorney General K K Venugopal to apprise it as to how much time would be needed for the Ministry of Law in responding to the collegium's The apex court said that as on date 189 proposals on appointment of judges are pending and sought an update on the latest position from the government. recommendations for appointment of judges in high courts. “If you do not give comments for five months on collegium recommendations, it is a matter of great concern,” said the bench, which also comprised justices S K Kaul and Surya Kant. We need the update on pending names as on January 29 and suppose you have reservation and you send back names and then we can reiterate. But if you do not give comments for five months on collegium recommendations then it is matter of great concern, the bench remarked. It said in some cases, the Centre has taken more than a year in responding to the recommendations and usually refer to their pendency with the intelligence bureau or with state governments. We need to put the house in order, the bench said and posted the matter for hearing after two weeks. The observations came on a transfer plea of PLR Projects Pvt Ltd originating in 2019 from Odisha, where lawyers were then observing strike in several districts demanding circuit benches of high court in other parts of the state. onment for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl. A lawyers' body the Youth Bar Association of India' has also filed a plea in the top court challenging the high court. The plea states that the observations made by the high court in its verdict would have a wide impact in the society and public at large. The verdict further held that mere groping will not fall under the definition of sexual assault. As per the prosecution and the minor victim's testimony in court, in December 2016, the accused, NEW DELHI, 27 JANUARY The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) today issued Covid19 guidelines for the month of February, which focus on Surveillance, Containment and Caution, and seek to consolidate the gains made against the pandemic. An MHA order said there was a steady decline in the number of active and new cases in the country over the last four months. “It is, therefore, emphasised that to fully overcome the pandemic, there is need to maintain caution and to strictly follow the prescribed containment strategy,” the MHA said. Cinema halls and theatres have already been permitted up to 50 per cent of seating capacity. Now they will be permitted to operate at higher seating capacity, for which a revised SOP will be issued by Ministry of Information & Broadcasting in consultation with MHA. Now gatherings for different purposes outside the containment zones will be allowed subject to standard operating procedures (SOPs) of the State/UT concerned. At present, social/ religious/ sports/ entertainment/ educational/ cultural/ religious gatherings are permitted up to a maximum of 50 per cent of the hall capacity, with a ceiling of 200 persons in closed spaces. In the open spaces, this is in keeping with the size of the ground. For further opening up of international air travel of passengers, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MOCA) may take a decision in consultation with Ministry of Home Affairs based on the assessment of the situation, the order said. Containment Zones, if required, shall be carefully demarcated by the district authorities at the micro level, taking into consideration guidelines prescribed. Local district, police and municipal authorities shall be responsible to ensure that the prescribed Containment measures are strictly followed and State/ UT Governments shall ensure the accountability of the officers concerned in this regard, the MHA order said. State/ UT Governments shall take all necessary mea- POCSO Act entails a minimum imprisonment of three years. The sessions court had sentenced the man to three years of imprisonment for the offences under the POCSO Act as also under IPC section 354. The high court, however, acquitted him under the POCSO Act while upholding his conviction under IPC section 354. “Considering the stringent nature of punishment provided for the offence (under POCSO), in the opinion of this court, stricter proof and serious allegations are required,” the high court had said. Ex-Jayalalithaa aide Sasikala released after 4 years in prison PRESS TRUST OF INDIA BENGALURU, 27 JANUARY Expelled AIADMK leader V K Sasikala was released on Wednesday after serving four years imprisonment in a corruption case at a prison here. The formalities for her release were done at the staterun Victoria Hospital, where she is undergoing treatment for Covid-19 infection, which she had contracted a week ago, along with her sister-in-law J Ilavarasi. According to hospital sources, prison officials sporting PPE kits completed the formalities inside the Covid-19 ward of the hospital. However, she would remain at the Victoria hospital for another three days as man- MHA issues Covid-19 guidelines for Feb STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE one Satish, had taken the girl to his house in Nagpur on the pretext of giving her something to eat. Once there, he gripped her breast and attempted to remove her clothes, the high court had recorded in her verdict. However, since he groped her without removing her clothes, the offence cannot be termed as sexual assault and, instead, constitutes the offence of outraging a woman's modesty under IPC section 354, the high court had held. While IPC section 354 entails a minimum imprisonment for one year, sexual assault under the sures to promote COVID-19 appropriate behaviour and ensure wearing of face masks, hand hygiene and social distancing. Business to Business (B2B) exhibition halls have already been permitted. Now all types of exhibition halls will be permitted, for which a revised SOP will be issued by the Department of Commerce in consultation with MHA. SOPs, as updated from time to time, have been prescribed for various activities. These include: movement by passenger trains; air travel; metro trains; schools; higher educational institutions; hotels and restaurants; shopping malls, multiplexes and entertainment parks; yoga centres and gymnasiums, etc. CMYK dated under the Covid-19 protocol, though she is now asymptomatic and her symptoms have reduced. “As per protocol, she will be discharged on 10th day (January 30) if she is asymptomatic and free for oxygen support for at least three days,” the hospital said in an official bulletin. A large number of supporters of the 66-year-old close aide of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister late J Jay- alalithaa lined up outside the Victoria Hospital, raised slogans in her favour and distributed sweets in celebration. Sasikala was in prison since February 2017 along with Ilavarasi and late Jayalalithaa's foster son V N Sudhakaran in connection with the Rs 66 crore disproportionate assets case. Sasikala was charged with hatching a criminal conspiracy with Jayalalithaa, with whom she was closely associated, and amassing wealth disproportionate to the known source of her income. The September 27, 2014, order of the Special Court awarding imprisonment and fine of Rs 10 crore each, was upheld by the Supreme Court on February 14, 2017. farmers to reconsider their proposal of holding the three farm laws on hold for 1-1.5 years, but the farmers rejected their proposal. No decision has been taken on another round of talks with farmers. He said whatever decisions with regard to talks with farmers are taken, will be disclosed at the right time. “We have already told you, if there is any change, we will let you know,” he said. The government's negotiations with representatives of thousands of protesting farmers hit a roadblock on Friday as the unions squarely rejected the Centre's proposal to put the three contentious laws on hold. Sourav Ganguly taken to hospital, stable KOLKATA, 27 JANUARY Following symptoms of dizziness with discomfort in the chest, BCCI president and former India cricket captain Sourav Ganguly was rushed to Apollo Gleneagles Hospital in the city this afternoon, less than a month after he underwent an angioplasty operation. He was admitted to a critical care unit at the hospital. The 48-year-old is being monitored by a team of doctors comprising cardiologists and general medicine specialists. A doctor attending to him said that his condition is stable and not alarming. He would be further monitored before they take a call, on Thursday, on a second stent which might be needed. Ganguly was brought to the hospital after Kolkata police cleared a traffic-jamfree ‘green corridor’. Ganguly was recently taken to Woodlands Hospital after complaining of chest pain on 2 January. He had undergone angioplasty and left the hospital after 5 days. Doctors had diagnosed Ganguly with three blocked coronary arteries following which a stent was inserted in one to remove the blockage. The doctors had recommended further angioplasty for the remaining blockages. SNS Over 23 lakh immunized so far SNS & PTI NEW DELHI/KOLKATA, 27 JANUARY Over 23 lakh healthcare workers have received Covid-19 vaccine jabs in the country so far, the Union health ministry said, while asserting that no case of severe adverse event or death is attributable to the vaccination till date. A total of 23,28,779 beneficiaries have been vaccinated for Covid-19 through 41,599 sessionstill 6 p.m. on Wednesday, the twelfth day of the nationwide immunisation drive in the country, it said. The ministry said 2,99,299 beneficiarieswere vaccinated today (Wednesday) till 6 pm across 28 states and UTs. Till date, there have been a total of 16 hospitalisations, additional secretary in the Union Health Ministry Dr Manohar Agnani said. “Total nine deaths have been reported so far. None of these deaths have been causally linked with Covid-19 vaccination,” the ministry said. India's total Covid-19 cases mounted to 1,06,89,527 on Wednesday with 12,689 new cases in the previous 24 hours, while 1,03,59,305 people have recovered from the infection, health ministry sources said today. With 137 more fatalities, the death count has reached 1,53,724, There are 1,76,498 active cases of Covid19 infection in the country. Bengal today registered 234 fresh Covid-19 cases and 8 deaths linked to the infection. The state’s total Covid19 case count is 5,68,884 with a death toll of 10,139 while there are 5,868 active cases. 1,06,89,527 1,76,498 12,689 13,320 1,53,724 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. WEDNESDAY 27 JANUARY 2021
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