THURSDAY www.thestatesman.com 04 FEBRUARY 2021 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |` 5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR MOSCOW COURT SENDS NAVALNY TO PRISON JEFF BEZOS TO STEP DOWN AS AMAZON CEO P8 WEATHER Generally cloudy sky. Light rain/thunderstorm towards evening. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 24 and 11 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max: 100% P10 Ascertain facts, India tells foreign celebrities Rihanna, Thunberg bring international spotlight on farmers’ protest NEW DELHI, 3 FEBRUARY Min: 52% Min: 10.4°C (+2) SUN SETS 18:03 hrs MOON SETS 11:28 hrs THUMBNAILS A farmer works at a mustard farm on the outskirts of Amritsar on Wednesday. IANS Post-Budget euphoria: The BSE Sensex closed B above the historic 50,000-mark for the first time ever on Wednesday as the post-Budget euphoria continued for the third straight session amidst a spurt in buying by foreign funds and positive global cues. Banking, finance and pharma counters hogged the limelight, while cement and FMCG stocks succumbed to profittaking. After touching a record intra-day high of 50,526.39 points, the 30-share BSE benchP8 mark ended at 50,255.75 points. PM’s brother stages dharna: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's brother Prahlad Modi staged a dharna at the Lucknow airport on Wednesday, alleging that police did not let his supporters reach there and took them into custody. Police, however, have denied the charge. According to authorities at Chaudhary Charan Singh Airport Prahlad Modi arrived at Lucknow by an Indigo flight around 4 pm. He sat on a dharna on the airport premises as he was unhappy over police stopping his supporters from reaching there. I ndia today slammed foreign individuals and entities who have spoken about the ongoing farmers' protests, saying those commenting on the agitation must ascertain facts and undertake a proper understanding of the issues at hand before rushing to talk on such matters. “We would like to emphasise that these protests must be seen in the context of India’s democratic ethos and polity, and the efforts of the government and the concerned farmer groups to resolve the impasse,” the ministry of external affairs (MEA) said in a statement. It said the temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments, especially when resorted to by celebrities and others, was neither accurate nor responsible. The temptation of sensationalist social media hashtags and comments, especially when resorted to by celebrities and others, is neither accurate nor responsible. Ministry of External Affairs Some Western celebrities, including singer Rihanna and environmental activist Greta Thunberg, US actress Amanda Cerni, as well as US Vice President Kamala Harris' niece Meena Harris had commented on the farmers' protests. The MEA pointed out that the Parliament of India, after a full debate and discussion, passed “reformist NEW DELHI, 3 FEBRUARY India becomes the fastest country to reach the 4 million Covid-19 vaccination mark, getting there in 18 days, even as the active Covid-19 caseload dipped below 1.5% of total cases. The Union ministry of health also said onWednesday that 14 states/UTs have not reported any deaths in the last 24 hours. India continued its streak of low single-day coronavirus case numbers as 11,039 new infections were reported in the last 24 hours, which took the overall Covid-19 tally to 1,07,77,284, health officials said. There were 110 more Covid-19 fatalities, taking the overall death toll to 1,54,596. As per the Ministry's data, there are 1,60,057 active cases legislation” relating to the agricultural sector. It said that a “very small section of farmers” in parts of India has some reservations about these reforms. Respecting the sentiments of the protesters, the government has initiated a series of talks with their representatives. Eleven rounds of talks have already been held with Union min- P12 Govt orders Twitter to take down ‘genocide’ hashtags PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 3 FEBRUARY isters taking part. The government has even agreed to keep the laws on hold. “Yet, it is unfortunate to see vested interest groups trying to enforce their agenda on these protests, and derail them. This was egregiously witnessed on 26 January, India’s Republic Day,” the statement said. In a pushback, the hashtags #IndiaTogether and #IndiaAgainstPropaganda were used in the MEA statement and by several Bollywood stars and top ministers to criticise the “half truths” of international forces. Among those who used these hashtags were Union home minister Amit Shah, Railway minister Piyush Goyal and several others. Their views found echo in Bollywood with actors Akshay Kumar, Kangna Ranaut and Ajay Devgn and filmmaker Karan Johar urging people to be wary of false propaganda. The government on Wednesday ordered Twitter to immediately take down handles and hashtags that suggested a farmer genocide was being planned, saying such misinformation and inflammatory content will incite passion, and impact public order. It warned Twitter of penal action in case of failure to comply with its directive. In a strongly-worded notice to Twitter, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said it had on January 31 asked the micro-blogging site to block 257 URLs (web addresses) and one hashtag under the relevant provision of the law as they were “spreading misinformation about (farmer) protests and has the potential to lead to imminent violence affecting public order situation in the country.” Twitter chose to sit over the request for one full day STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 3 FEBRUARY Concertina wire mounted on barricades at Delhi’s Ghazipur border where farmers have been protesting against the new farm laws. In the capital on Wednesday. SNS at present whereas 1,04,62,631 persons have been discharged so far. The recovery rate has increased to 97.08 per cent, while the fatality rate is down to 1.43 per cent. As many as 41,38,918 corona vaccine doses have been administered in India since the drive began on January 16. According to the health ministry, India is in fifth position globally in terms of the vaccine doses administered in the country, despite the fact that many countries had launched their vaccination campaigns before India. Delhi adds 150 cases, 6 deaths: Delhi today registered 150 positive cases of Covid-19 and 6 coronavirus-related fatalities, according to the Delhi government’s latest health bulletin. These fresh cases were detected out of 56,658 tests. (SEE P2) The hashtag '#ModiPlanningFarmerGenocide' has been found to be instigating people to commit offences relating to public order and security of the state, the govt said. before blocking them, only to unblock them a few hours later. This was not taken kindly by the government and a fresh notice has been issued to Twitter to comply, failing which penal action under sections that provide for fine and jail up to 7 years has been warned, sources with direct knowledge of the development said. Section 69A of the Information Technology Act gives the central government powers to direct an intermediary like Twitter to “block for access for the public any information generated, transmitted, received, stored or hosted” in any computer if it is “satisfied that the same is necessary or expedient in order to prevent incitement” of any offence, the notice said. The accounts that were blocked ~ and then restored ~ included those of news magazine Caravan, Kisan Ekta Morcha, tribal leader Hansraj Meena, and actor Sushant Singh. According to Twitter, it held meetings with government officials and conveyed that the accounts and posts in question constitute free speech and are newsworthy. The company then “unwithheld” the accounts to protect public conversation. The other accounts that were initially withheld included those of CPM politician Mohd Salim, farm organisation BKU Ekta Ugrahan and Tractor2Twitter. Opp presses govt to repeal farm laws BARRIER India reports 11,039 new cases STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE ‘MY JOB IS TO HELP VIRAT’ P10 STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE TEMPERATURE Max: 26.1°C (+4) SUN RISES 07:07 hrs MOON RISES 00:55 hrs FIRST FORMAL CHARGE AGAINST SUU KYI 1,60,057 11,039 14,225 1,54,596 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 08.00 A.M. WEDNESDAY, 03 FEB 2021 on the President’s address to a joint sitting of Parliament, Azad told the government that the Indian farmers had suffered for centuries, but when they fought against injustice with determination, even the British rulers had bowed before them on several occasions. In spite of repression, the Indian farmer had stood AstraZeneca first jab cuts coronavirus transmission substantially: UK study PRESS TRUST OF INDIA 1,07,77,284 The farm laws issue rocked the Lok Sabha for a second day today with a determined Opposition unrelenting on their demand for a separate discussion on the subject, as a result of which proceedings were adjourned repeatedly. In the Rajya Sabha, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and other Opposition members demanded that the Centre repeal the farm laws without making it a prestige issue. Initiating the discussion firm on his demands and persisted till they were conceded, he said, contending the government should not make it a matter of prestige and withdraw the three farm laws as per the farmers’ pleas. Azad requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was listening to the debate, that while those who insulted the National Flag be punished, the innocent kisan leaders should not be implicated in police cases. Several Opposition leaders including Ram Gopal Yadav (Samajwadi Party) supported the demand for repeal of the farm laws LONDON, 3 FEBRUARY Even just the first of the twodose Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine can cut coronavirus transmissions by around 67 per cent and therefore have a “substantial effect” on controlling the spread of the deadly virus, according to a new Oxford University study on Wednesday. The UK government described this as good news for the world because the impact of Covid vaccines on transmission has been a crucial unknown in the fight against the pandemic. “The data indicate that (the vaccine) may have a substantial impact on transmis- NEW STUDY A single standard dose of the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine, which is being manufactured in India as Covishield, showed 76 per cent efficacy from day 22 to day 90 after the jab, which means protection is not reduced in the three months between the first and second doses sion by reducing the number of infected individuals in the population,” notes the report from the latest study. The Oxford Vaccine Trial results, currently under review to be published by The Lancet, also found that up to a threemonth interval between the two required doses of the jab proved an effective gap as protection against the virus. A single standard dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine ~ which is also being produced in collaboration with the Serum Institute of India ~ showed 76 per cent efficacy from day 22 to day 90 after the jab, which means protect- ion is not reduced in the three months between the first and second dose. “This news about the Oxford vaccine is absolutely superb. Two-third reduction in transmission, stronger protection from 12 week gap between doses and no hospitalisations. This vaccine works and works well,” said UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock. The study found that a single standard dose of the vaccine is 76 per cent effective at protecting from primary symptomatic Covid-19 for the first 90 days post vaccination, once the immune system has built this protection 22 days after the vaccination, with the protection showing little evidence of waning in this period. and expressed surprise the way police was raising barriers on Delhi’s borders. Proceedings in the Lok Sabha were washed out for a second day today after the House was repeatedly adjourned due to protests by Opposition members who were demanding a separate discussion on the farm laws issue. The House reassembled four times but was unable to conduct business as members of the Congress, DMK, AAP and the SAD trooped into the Well and shouted slogans against the farm laws, ignoring appeals by Speaker Om Birla to maintain order. WB: Stadiums, swimming pools to reopen KOLKATA, 3 FEBRUARY The state government today gave permission to reopen all stadiums, swimming pools and sports complexes outside containment zones and allowing them to operate at full capacity abiding by Covid protocols. A notification in this regard was issued by state chief secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay yesterday. On the other hand, universities and colleges will not reopen immediately and instead will continue to take classes and exams in online mode. Laboratories would be operational for research scholars pursuing PhD courses. SNS DETAILS ON PAGE 9 India to spend $130 bn to modernise military: Rajnath Bihar to bar people taking part in PRESS TRUST OF INDIA BENGALURU, 3 FEBRUARY India is vigilant in the face of attempts to change status quo at its border and prepared to defeat any misadventures to defend its territorial integrity, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Wednesday, amid the continued military standoff with China. “We have long witnessed unfortunate attempts to employ force to change the status quo at our unresolved borders”, he said at the inaugural ceremony of Aero India2021, the country's premier Defence and aerospace show, at Yelahanka Air Force Station here. “India is vigilant and prepared to counter and defeat any misadventures to defend our people and territorial integrity at all costs,” the Minister asserted. China and India are locked in a military standoff in eastern Ladakh since May 5 last. The two countries have held several rounds of military and diplomatic talks to resolve the face-off, but no significant headway has been made so far. Dubbed as Asia's largest military aviation exhibition, the three-day Aero India event commenced amid the COVID19 pandemic with buzz around “Aatma-Nirbhar Bharat” (selfreliant India) and “Make in India” push. With a combination of both physical and virtual exhi- bition, the 13th edition of the biennial international event is said to be the world's first hybrid aerospace show. Singh also said India plans to spend USD 130 billion on Defence modernisation in the next 7-8 years with the focus on domestic manufacturing of bigger and complex platforms. The government has since 2014 brought in many reforms in the defence sector to create a conducive ecosystem for exports, Foreign Direct Investment and offset discharge, he noted. To achieve the twin goals of self-reliance and exports, the government has set a target to achieve a turnover of Rs 1,75,000 crore in the field of Defence manufacturing, including export of Rs 35,000 crore in Aerospace and Defence goods and services, by 2024, Singh said. “We plan to spend USD 130 billion on Defence modernisation in the next seven to eight years”, he added. Like many of its friendly countries, India also faces threats and challenges emanating from multiple fronts, the Defence Minister said, adding that the country was a “victim of state-sponsored and state-inflicted terrorism which is now a global threat”. The government has taken several steps to strengthen the country's security apparatus recently. Domestic manufacturing of bigger and complex defence platforms has now become the focus of our policy under the 'Aatma-Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan', he said. protests from govt jobs, contracts STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE PATNA, 3 FEBRUARY After banning persons from making “critical comments” against the government on social media, the Nitish Kumar government in Bihar has now declared that persons engaging in violent protests or blocking roads would be barred from government jobs, a move which has triggered strong protests from the Opposition. As per the order issued by the DGP Bihar, people found , guilty of violating law and order by participating in unwanted protests and then charge-sheeted by the police were liable to face action. “If any person is found involved in criminal acts during the protests and road blockades, and then is then chargesheeted by the police, they will not be eligible for government jobs or any government contract,” the circular said. The move is being described by the opposition as an attempt to stifle democratic rights of the people. “Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is challenging Hitler and Mussolini by curbing an individual’s democratic right to protest via the new order,” Bihar opposition leader and RJD legislator TejashwiYadav said. He alleged the chief minister on the one hand was not providing employment to the youths, on the other, it was preventing them from staging protests. This is the second time in quick succession that the state government has come out with controversial decisions. Last month, the police's Economic Offenses Wing announced it would take necessary action against those who share offensive and defamatory social media posts about the state government, any ministers or the chief minister. “It has come to light that certain persons and organisations have been making defamatory and offensive comments on social media against the government, respected ministers, parliamentarians, legislators, and government officials,” IG NH Khan wrote in the letter. CM Nitish Kumar had earlier held social media responsible for propagating fake news.
The Statesman is one of India's oldest English newspapers. It was founded in Kolkata in 1875 and is directly descended from The Friend of India (founded 1818). The Englishman (founded 1821) was merged with The Statesman in 1934. The Delhi edition of The Statesman began publication in 1931. The Statesman Weekly is a compendium of news and views from the Kolkata and Delhi editions. Printed on airmail paper, it is popular with readers outside India. The Statesman (average weekday circulation approximately 180,000) is a leading English newspaper in West Bengal. The Sunday Statesman has a circulation of 230,000.