CMYK FRIDAY www.thestatesman.com 29 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 P9 WEATHER Mainly clear sky. Fog / Mist in the morning. Temperature most likely to be in the range of 24-13 degrees Celsius. EIGHT PROPOSALS TO STABILISE INDO-CHINA TIES RUSSIA COURT REJECTS NAVALNY’S APPEAL PAK S.C. ORDERS PEARL MURDER ACCUSED FREED P10 P5 PRESS TRUST OF INDIA STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 28 JANUARY 18 Opp parties to boycott President’s address Max. 97% TEMPERATURE Max: 24.3°C (-2) Min: 13.00°C (-2) SUN RISES SUN SETS 06:17 hrs 17:22 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 16:57 hrs 05:54 hrs Full moon on 29 January THUMBNAILS Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee pays homage to Lala Lajpat Rai on his birth anniversary at the state Assembly in Kolkata. IANS India slips ranks in Corruption Perception Index: India's rank has slipped six places to 86th among 180 countries in corruption perception index (CPI) in 2020. For 2020, Transparency International (TI)'s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) was released on Thursday. The index, which ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and business people. India's rank is 86 out of 180 nations with a score of 40. The CPI score for India is almost constant this year P5 as well as the previous year score. HC denies bail to comedian Munawar Faruqui: The Madhya Pradesh High Court on Thursday refused bail to comedian Munawar Faruqui who is accused of passing “indecent” remarks about Hindu deities during a show, and noted that to “promote harmony” is one of the constitutional duties. Liberty of a person has to be “balanced” with his duties towards other citizens, Justice Rohit Arya of the Indore bench of the high court said. The court also turned down bail plea of Nalin Yadav, another accused in the case. P4 P12 Budget session R-Day violence: Lookout notices issued against farmer leaders set to be stormy RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Min. 44% MESSI RETURNS NEW DELHI, 28 JANUARY eralding a stormy Budget Session of Parliament, which begins tomorrow, the entire Opposition has decided to boycott President Ram Nath Kovind’s traditional address to the joint sitting of Parliament in solidarity with agitating farmers protesting against the three contentious farm laws. In a joint statement, leaders of 16 Opposition parties expressed solidarity with the agitating farmers and regretted that “the Prime Minister and the BJP government remain arrogant, adamant and undemocratic in their response” to the issue. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) also separately announced their decision to boycott the address. Describing the Opposition parties’ move as “most unfortunate”, Parliamentary Affairs minister Pralhad Joshi urged them to reconsider their decision. Speaking to reporters, he said the issues cited by the Opposition parties for boycotting the President’s address can be raised during the debate on the motion of thanks. The 16 parties, including the Congress, NCP, DMK, Shiv Sena, Trinamul Congress and the Left parties said in their joint statement: “The three farm laws are an assault on the rights of the States and violate the federal spirit of the Constitution.” If not repealed, these laws will effectively dis- H Bengal sixth state to pass resolution against farm laws KOLKATA, 28 JANUARY West Bengal on Thursday became the sixth state to pass a resolution against the three contentious farm laws enacted by the Centre, even as the Opposition BJP staged a walkout from the assembly amid “Jai Shri Ram” slogans. State Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee moved the resmantle the edifice of the National Food Security that rests upon MSP, government procurement and the Public Distribution System (PDS), the leaders said. Indicative of how the farmer-government confrontation over the agri laws will cast its shadow on the coming session of Parliament, the Opposition leaders said the farm Bills were brought without any consultations with states and farmer unions, and lacked national consensus. “Parliamentary scrutiny was bypassed and the laws were pushed through muzzling the Opposition, in brazen violation of Parliamentary rules, practices and conventions. The very constitutional validity of these laws remains in question,” the Opposition statement said. The Opposition leaders said the farmers were fighting against the three agri laws “that threaten the future of Indian agriculture which sustains over 60 per cent of India’s pop- olution under rule 169 urging the centre that the three laws- the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act,2020; the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020~ be repealed. See Page 3 ulation and the livelihood of crores of farmers, sharecroppers and farm labour.” They said the farmers were agitating on Delhi’s borders braving biting cold and heavy rain for the last 64 days. Over 155 farmers had lost their lives. “The Government remains unmoved and has responded with water cannons, tear gas and lathicharge. Every effort has been made to discredit to legitimate mass movement through Government-sponsored disinformation campaign,” the Opposition said. The protest and the agitation were largely peaceful, the leaders said. Unfortunately there were a few acts of violence on 26 January in the national Capital. “We also express our sadness over the injuries sustained by Delhi Police personnel. But we believe that an impartial investigation will reveal the Centre’s nefarious role in orchestrating those events,” the Opposition said. Delhi Police on Thursday issued lookout notices against farmer leaders named in an FIR in connection with the violence during the farmers’ tractor parade on Republic Day and invoked sedition charges in a case of the Red Fort incident as the force intensified its investigation. It also asked the farmer leaders to submit their response within three days, explaining why legal action should not be taken against them as they did not follow conditions set for the parade. Sources said that around nine crack teams have been formed to locate all the culprits, even as there was no official confirmation from the police yet. People from near Singhu protest to demand removal of the farmers’ dharna from the area on Thursday. SNS The move comes a day after Police Commissioner S N Shrivastava said that no culprit would be spared. On Thursday, Shrivastava held a meeting with the special commissioner of police (Intelligence) and other senior police officers at the police headquarters. The farmer unions protesting against the three farm laws alleged that there was a conspiracy behind the violence, which left 394 police personnel injured and one protestor dead. Thousands of protesting farmers, who reached ITO from the Ghazipur border, had clashed with the police on 26 January. Many of them, driving tractors, breached the Red Fort. Some protestors even hoist- ed flags on the domes and placed the flagstaff at the ramparts of the national monument, where the national flag is unfurled by the Prime Minister on Independence Day. “The Delhi Police has issued lookout notices against farmer leaders named in an FIR in connection with the violence during the tractor parade,” the police commissioner said. Police have named 37 farmer leaders, including Rakesh Tikait, Yogendra Yadav and Medha Patkar, in the FIR that mentioned charges of attempt to murder, rioting and criminal conspiracy. Delhi Police has registered a sedition case in connection with the violence at Red Fort during a tractor parade by farmers on Republic Day. Vacate UP gate: Ghaziabad admin to protesting farmers Haryana extends supension of mobile Internet PRESS TRUST OF INDIA CHANDIGARH, 28 JANUARY GHAZIABAD, 28 JANUARY The Ghaziabad administration has given an ultimatum to agitating farmers to vacate the UP Gate protest site by Thursday midnight even as union leader Rakesh Tikait remained adamant, saying he would commit suicide but won’t end the stir. A confrontation was building up at the UP Gate in Ghazipur bordering Delhi with heavy security deployed while frequent power cuts were witnessed in the evening at the protest site, where Bharatiya Kisan Union members, led by Tikait, are staying put since 28 November. The “verbal” communication from the district administration to BKU on Thursday comes after three farmer unions withdrew their protest against the three Central farm laws over the violence in Delhi on Republic Day. “Ghaziabad District Magistrate Ajay Shankar Pandey has communicated to the protestors camping at the UP Gate at Delhi border to vacate the spot by tonight or the administration will remove them,” a district official said. However, Tikait, the BKU’s national spokesperson, condemned the Uttar Pradesh government and police for the move. “I will commit suicide but won’t end protest until the farm Bills are repealed,” Tikait said. He also alleged that armed goons were sent to the protest site. In a separate statement issued by BKU media in charge Dharmendra Malik, Tikait was quoted as saying that the Uttar Pradesh Police was trying to arrest protestors even when the Supreme Court has found peaceful protests legitimate. “Our protest will continue,” he added. Haryana government on Thursday extended the suspension of mobile Internet services in three districts of Sonipat, Jhajjar and Palwal until 5 p.m. Friday, following violent farmers’ protests rocked neighbouring Delhi. “Haryana government has extended the suspension of mobile internet services, all SMS services (excluding banking, mobile recharge) and all dongle services provided on mobile networks except the voice calls in the territorial jurisdiction of districts of Sonipat, Palwal and Jhajjar for next 24 hours till 5 p.m. on 29 January,” an official spokesperson said. SNS ‘India will soon make more Covid India has flattened Covid-19 graph: Harsh Vardhan vaccines available to the world’ COVID SUCCESS SNS & PTI PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 28 JANUARY India will soon make available many more Covid-19 vaccines to other countries after two Made-In-India jabs have already been introduced to the world, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday while emphasising the country’s global responsibility in fighting the pandemic. In a special address at the World Economic Forum’s online Davos Agenda Summit, Modi also said he wants to assure the global business community that situation will now change rapidly on the economic front also and invited businesses from all over to participate in the country’s growth journey. Modi said that some had said in February-March 2020 that India would be the worst affected country by Covid-19 and would face a “tsunami of corona infections”. Modi said, “We transformed the fight against coronavirus into a people’s movement and today India is among the most successful countries in saving lives.” Modi said India has started the world’s largest coronavirus vaccina- tion programme and its speed can be imagined from the fact that over 23 lakh health workers have been vaccinated in just 12 days. In the next few months, we would complete vaccinating 30 crore old people and people with comorbidities, he said. He said India has ensured that it follows its global responsibility by sending essential medicines to over 150 countries while Covid-19 vaccines are also being sent to other countries. “While two Indiamade vaccines have already been introduced to the world, many more vaccines will be made available from India,” he said. “India’s upcoming vaccines will help other countries at a swifter pace to fight the pandemic,” he added. NEW DELHI/KOLKATA, 28 JANUARY A total of 146 districts across the country have no new cases for the last seven days, 18 for the last 14 days, six for 21 days and 21 districts have not reported fresh cases of the coronavirus infection in the last 28 days India has flattened its Covid19 graph and 146 districts have reported no new case of the viral disease in the last seven days, 18 in 14 days, six in 21 days and 21 districts in the last 28 days, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Thursday. This has been achieved due to pro-active testing with more than 19.5 crore Covid19 tests conducted in the country so far, Vardhan, who chaired the 23rd meeting of the high-level Group of Ministers (GoM) on Covid-19 through a video-conference, said, according to a statement issued by the Health Ministry. The current testing capacity is 12 lakh tests per day, istry’s data, 1,03,73,606 people have recovered so far. The ministru stated that 165 cases of a new UK variant of the virus have so far been reported in the country. This has been achieved due to pro-active testing with more than 19.5 crore Covid19 tests conducted in the country so far. The current testing capacity is 12 lakh tests per day HARSH VARDHAN UNION HEALTH MINISTER the minister added. Of the over 700 districts in the country, around 20 per cent have not reported any Covid19 case in the last one week. “With the ‘Whole of Government’ and ‘Whole-of-society’ approach envisaged by Prime Minister Narendra Modiji, India has successfully contained the pandemic. Less than 12,000 cases were reported in the last 24 hours and the active caseload has reduced to just 1.73 lakh,” he said. Vardhan informed that a meagre 0.46 per cent of the 1.73 lakh active Covid-19 cases is on ventilators, 2.20 per cent is in the ICU and 3.02 per cent is on oxygen support. The Ministry on Thursday said there were 123 fresh deaths taking the overall toll to 1,53,847. As per the Min- Bengal records 289 fresh Covid-19 cases: West Bengal today registered 289 fresh Covid cases and 9 deaths due to infection. The state’s total Covid case count is 5,69,173 and death toll is 10,148 while there are 5,781 active cases. Kolkata recorded 87 cases and 1 death and North 24 Parganas recorded 83 fresh Covid cases and 4 deaths. In the last 24 hours, 367 patients were discharged from hospitals taking the number of recovered patients to 5,53,244 and discharge rate to 97.20 per cent. SC slams Centre over ‘instigating’ TV shows Holding minor’s hand not sexual PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 28 JANUARY The Supreme Court on Thursday said control over TV programmes having instigating effect is as important as providing “lathis” to policemen for law and order, and slammed the Centre for “doing nothing” to curb such shows. Hearing a plea on the media reporting issue in the Tablighi Jamaat case, a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde also referred to the internet shutdown in some areas of Delhi on 26 January when the tractor parade by farmers protesting against three new farm laws turned violent, leaving 300 policemen and scores of others injured. “Fair and truthful reporting is normally not a problem. Problem is when it is used to TOP COURT CENSURES Hearing a plea on the media reporting issue in the Tablighi Jamaat case, a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said control over TV programmes having instigating effect is as important as providing “lathis” to policemen for law and order and slammed the Centre for “doing nothing” to curb such shows. The bench said: “We are not interested in what the people say on TV. They can say anything and use any tone on TV but as long as they don’t instigate, we have no problem with that. agitate others. It is as important as pr oviding ‘lathis’ to policemen. It is an important preventive part of the law and order situation,” said the bench, also comprising Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian. Appearing for the Centre, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that there are effective mechanisms in place to prevent spread of hate news. The CJI then told Mehta: “Control over some news is as important as some preventive measure and check law and order situation. I don’t know why you are blind to this. I don’t mean anything offensive but you are doing nothing about it”. The bench said: “We are not interested in what the people say on TV. They can say anything these days and use any tone on TV but as long as they do not instigate, incite violence, we have no problem with that. We are interested in broadcasts or programmes which have instigation effect and there are situations when it can cause riots, and there can be loss of life, property”. Mehta agreed with the bench and said that sometimes it is done “deliberately” but sometimes it is “unfortunate”. The top court made the observations while hearing a batch of pleas which have raised the issue of media reporting of Tablighi Jamaat congregation in the national capital last year during the onset of Covid-19 pandemic. The top court was hearing the pleas filed by Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind and others alleging that a section of the media was spreading communal hatred over Tablighi Jamaat congregation during the onset of pandemic. assault: HC judge in earlier ruling PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NAGPUR, 28 JANUARY The Bombay High Court judge, who faced flak for acquitting a man of groping a 12-year old girl’s breast because he did not make skinto-skin contact, had ruled four days earlier that holding the hands of a five-year-old girl and unzipping his pants do not amount to ‘sexual assault’ under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. A single bench of Justice Pushpa Ganediwala made the observation on 15 January while ruling on an appeal by a 50-year-old man challenging a sessions court order convicting him for sexually assaulting and CMYK molesting the 5-year-old girl. Another judgment passed by Justice Ganediwala on 19 January acquitting a 39-year-old man for groping a minor girl, noting that there was no “skin-to-skin contact with sexual intent” has faced severe flak. The Supreme Court had on Wednesday stayed operation of that order after Attorney General K K Venugopal mentioned the matter submitting that it was a very disturbing conclusion by the Bombay High Court. The 50-year-old Libnus Kujur was convicted under sections 354-A and 448 of the IPC and sections 8, 10 and 12 of the POCSO Act in October 2020 and sentenced to 5 years in jail. In her order, Justice Ganediwala noted that while the prosecution has established that the accused entered the house of the victim with an intention to sexually harass her, it has not been able to prove the charge of ‘sexual assault’ or ‘aggravated sexual assault’. She noted that the definition of “sexual assault” under the POCSO Act says that there has to be “physical contact with sexual intent without penetration”. “The acts of holding the hands of the victim, or opened zip of the pant as has been witnessed by the prosecution witness (mother of the victim) does not fit in the definition of sexual assault,” Justice Ganediwala said. 1,07,01,193 1,73,740 11,666 14,301 1,53,847 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 10.00 P.M. THURSDAY, 28 JANUARY 2021 Sourav undergoes second angioplasty KOLKATA, 28 JANUARY BCCI president and former India cricket captain Sourav Ganguly underwent another angioplasty operation a day after he was admitted to Apollo Gleneagles Hospital along EM Bypass in the city after suffering symptoms of dizziness and chest discomfort. The 48 year-old had his first angioplasty operation in the first week of this month, involving the insertion of a stent in one of three blocked coronary arteries. Two more stents were implanted during the operation today. A team of doctors, including eminent cardiologists Dr Devi Shetty from Bengaluru and Dr Aswin Mehta from Mumbai, after verifying Ganguly’s health condition, decided to perform the second angioplasty operation today. Details on Page 3
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