SUNDAY www.thestatesman.com 21 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 FM ASKS PRIVATE SECTOR TO UNLEASH ‘ANIMAL SPIRITS’ INSECURE GOVERNORSHIP P6 WEATHER Partly cloudy sky. Moderate to dence fog in the morning. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 27 and 11 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max: 100% Min: 42% TEMPERATURE Max: 27.3°C (+3) SUN RISES 06:53 hrs MOON RISES 12:36 hrs Min: 10.4°C (-1) SUN SETS 18:16 hrs MOON SETS 02:55 hrs P8 Delhi court reserves activist’s bail plea order for Tuesday NEW DELHI, 20 FEBRUARY T THUMBNAILS here is no evidence to show that the toolkit on farmers’ protest is responsible for the violence on 26 January, activist Disha Ravi’s counsel told a Delhi court which reserved for Tuesday its order on her bail plea. “If highlighting farmers’ protest globally is sedition, I’m better in jail,” Ravi said through her counsel on Saturday. avi’s counsel was submitting arguments after the Delhi Police opposed her bail plea, alleging she was preparing the toolkit with those advocating Khalistan and was part of a global conspiracy to defame India and create unrest in the country in the garb of farmers’ protest. “This was not just a toolkit. The real plan was to defame India and create unrest here,” the police said before Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana. It alleged that Ravi deleted WhatsApp chats, emails and other evidence and was aware of legal actions she could face. Why did Disha Ravi cover her track and delete evidence if she did not commit wrong, the police said, alleging that his shows her guilty mind and sinister design. Ravi “was part of the Indian chapter of the global conspiracy to defame India and create unrest in the garb of farmers’ protest,” it alleged, adding she was in touch and preparing and R Japan’s Naomi Osaka holds the trophy after defeating United States’ Jennifer Brady in the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne. (See Pg 12) AI plane hits pole on landing in Andhra airport: An Air India Express plane hit an electric pole while landing in Andhra Pradesh's Vijayawada, news agency ANI reported. "All 64 passengers on board the flight and the crew are safe," Vijayawada International Airport director G Madhusudan Rao said. Air India Express said it has ordered an investigation into the incident. In visuals, the electric pole with several lights beside the runway is seen completely smashed to the ground. A large dent is also visible on the far end of the plane's right wing that hit the pole. THUNBERG TWEETS BACKING DISHA RAVI Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg has extended her support to Disha Ravi, the 22-year-old environmental activist who has been charged with sedition for allegedly editing an advocacy toolkit on the farmers’ protest, and sharing it with Thunberg. Ms. Thunberg tweeted on Friday, using the hashtag #StandWithDishaRavi. Her first public expression of support comes almost a week after Ms. Ravi’s arrest. Freedom of speech and the right to peaceful protest and assembly are non-negotiable human rights GRETA THUNBERG sharing toolkit with those advocating Khalistan. “It shows there was a sinister design behind this toolkit,” the police told the court. However, Ravi’s lawyer rejected the allegations. “There is no evidence to link me with Sikhs For Justice, a banned organisation. And even if I (Ravi) meet someone, there is no symbol on him that he is a secessionist,” the defence counsel said. “The Delhi police gave permission for the farmers’ march, which they’re claiming that I (Ravi) asked people to join, so how did I become seditious,” the lawyer said in court. There’s nobody arrested in connection with violence at Red Fort who says he was inspired for same because of the toolkit, Ravi’s counsel claimed, adding there is no evidence to show that the toolkit is responsible for violence during farmers’ march. The counsel also questioned the contents of the FIR and asserted that people can have a different point of view on a subject. “There is an allegation in FIR that Yoga and Chai are being targeted. Is it an offence? We are now reducing the bar that somebody can’t have a point of view different,” Ravi’s lawyer said. “The talk about alleged genocide in Kashmir has been going on for years. How talking about it suddenly becomes sedition,” the lawyer said. A trial court had on Friday sent Ravi to judicial custody for three days after her five-day police custody expired. The Delhi high court on Friday heard Ravi’s plea to restrain police from leaking to the media any probe material concerning the FIR lodged against her. Police release photos of 20 more involved in R-Day violence: The Delhi Police on Saturday released the photographs of 20 people who were allegedly involved in the violence that broke out at the Red Fort on Republic Day during the farmers’ tractor parade, officials said. 25K CAPF personnel tagged for polls in 4 states PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 20 FEBRUARY At least 25,000 Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) personnel have been earmarked to be deployed for the forthcoming Assembly polls in four states and the Union Territory of Puducherry, officials said on Saturday. They said the Union Home Ministry has directed that a total of 250 companies of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) will be utilised for conduct of the upcoming elections. A CAPF company has an operational strength of about P10 Toolkit: Police allege Disha deleted proof PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Union Home Ministry has detailed 250 companies of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) for conduct of the upcoming elections 100 personnel. These forces work under the command of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). Assembly polls in West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry are due in April-May this year. Officials said while 125 companies are being moved to West Bengal, 45 are earmarked for Tamil Nadu, 40 for Assam, 30 for Kerala and 10 for Puducherry. “These numbers are based on the preliminary assessment that was undertaken by the Election Commission after its meeting with senior home ministry officials sometime back. “Some addition in numbers many take place once the EC announces the final dates for polls and the number of phases,” a senior officer privy to the development told PTI. About 75 more companies are kept on standby and they will be pulled in for the polls duty once their requirement is felt, he said. The largest chunk of the forces, from the 250 companies umbrella, are drawn from the CRPF (85 companies) followed by the BSF (60 companies) and the ITBP (40 companies) apart from the other two CAPFs, they said. Officials said the forces have been asked to be initiate a phase-wise movement and 'pre-positioning' of their companies so that the overall deployment is carried out smoothly. At least 12 CAPF companies have reached West Bengal till now. The officer said every CAPF has assigned a nodal officer for movement of their respective units and the overall coordination between the EC, MHA and the state chief electoral officers (CEOs) will be done by the CRPF. NEW DELHI, 20 FEBRUARY Prime Minister Narendra Modi today asked states to reduce the compliance burden for entrepreneurs so that the ease of doing business improves, and India is able to take advantage of the opportunities before it in the world market. Addressing the sixth Governing Council Meeting of Niti Aayog, he said reforms by the States could also provide farmers the required economic resources, better infrastructure and modern technology to perform better in foreign markets. The Prime Minister said the Union Budget had evoked a positive response and the mood of the nation was that it wanted to move ahead fast. Reforms by the states could also provide farmers the required economic resources, better infrastructure and modern technology to perform better in foreign markets PRIME MINISTER MODI AT THE SIXTH GOVERNING COUNCIL MEETING OF NITI AAYOG The private sector too had shown inclination to join the development process, and it should be given a place in the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan (Self-reliant India campaign), he said. The Governing Council meet was attended by all chief ministers and Lt. Governors from across the country, except for the chief ministers of West Bengal, Punjab, Gujarat and Telangana. Modi said the Atmanirbhar campaign envisaged an India which not only met its own requirements but produced goods which satisfied world demand and stood the test of international quality standards. Several states responded to the Prime Minister’s call for increasing production of edible oils, and said they would make efforts to reduce India’s dependence on their imports. Modi said India was an agricultural country and yet imported edible oils worth Rs 65,000 to Rs 70,000 crores every year. The Prime Minister said the country had tried to improve pulses production and had succeeded to a large extent. He said the states should do agro-climatic regional planning, and guide the farmers accordingly. He said the agricultural exports had increased during the Covid-19 period but the country’s potential was much larger. There was need to encourage investment in storage and processing. India was exporting raw fish which was re-exported in a processed form. Why could not India do this, he said. There was need for reforms which could help the Indian farmer perform better, he said. P12 India, China talk disengagement at other E. Ladakh friction points STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 20 FEBRUARY India and China today held the 10th round of military talks to de-escalate tension at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), a day after completing the first round of disengagement at the Pangong Tso Lake in Eastern Ladakh. The talks, held at Moldo on the Chinese side, were led by Lt Gen P G K Menon, Commander of 14 Corps based in Leh, on the Indian side. The Indian delegation also included Naveen Srivastav, Joint Secretary (East Asia) in the External Affairs Ministry. The military commanders of the two countries are believed to have discussed disengagement India is learnt to have insisted in the meeting with China that the status quo ante that existed in April-May 2020 must be restored in larger interest of peace and tranquillity in border areas at other friction points like Hot Springs, Gogra and Depsang plains. The Indian side is learnt to have insisted that the status quo ante that existed in April-May last year must be restored in the larger interest of peace and tranquillity in border areas. The representatives of the two sides also reviewed the first phase of disengagement at northern and southern banks of the Pangong Tso Lake as part of an agreement reached between them. The Indian Army and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) teams are said to be physically verifying and re-verifying disengagement at Pangong Tso Lake. The agreement on disengagement was announced by China on 10 February and subsequently confirmed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on the floor of Parliament. The agreement states that Chinese troops will move back to Finger 8 and Indian troops will pull back to the Dhan Singh Thapa post between Finger 2 and 3 of the north bank of the Pangong Lake. Further, there would be a temporary moratorium on military activities, including patrolling to the traditional areas. Ahead of the 10th round of talks, the Chinese military released on social media a video of the 15 June Galwan Valley clash between Indian and Chinese troops while blaming the Indian side for the incident. However, it did acknowledge for the first time that the PLA had lost four of its troops in the Galwan Valley incident though Russia and Western media say nearly 45 Chinese soldiers died in the clash. India had lost 20 of its brave soldiers in the incident. India has so far not reacted to the Chinese video or its claim of losing four soldiers in the clash. Upsurge in new Covid cases in five states, Centre cautions PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 20 FEBRUARY Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh have recorded an “upsurge” in daily new cases of Covid-19, the Union Health Ministry said on Saturday, stressing on the need to adhere to Covid-relevant safety measures. Daily Covid-19 cases in the country also climbed to about 14,000 after nearly 22 days taking India’s tally to 1,09,77,387. The upswing comes after a low in virus numbers that started around November-December. The Ministry said in the last seven days, Chhattisgarh has also seen a rise in daily active new cases. In the last 24 hours, 259 daily new cases have been reported, it said. Kerala continues to report a high number of daily new cases and in the past week, Maharashtra has exhibited a spike in the number of daily new cases, accounting for the highest number of daily new cases in the country on Saturday, the Ministry said in the statement. Similar to Maharashtra, the Ministry said Punjab has also shown a sudden spike in the number of daily new cases reported in the last seven days with 383 fresh cases recorded in the last 24 hours. The ministry stressed the importance of adherence to Covid appropriate behaviour for breaking the chain of transmission and containment of spread of the disease. The ministry said 18 states/UTs have not reported any Covid deaths in the last 24 hours. Also, a total of 1.08 crore Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered till now with 1.86 lakh jabs given on Saturday, the Union Health Ministry said. 1,09,77,387 1,43,127 13,993 10,307 1,56,212 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. SATURDAY 20 FEBRUARY 2021 Chouhan govt to rename MP’s Hoshangabad as Narmadapuram SNEAK PEEK BHOPAL, 20 FEBRUARY NASA on Friday released spectacular new images from its Mars mission, which saw the successful landing of the rover Perseverance. This high-resolution still, extracted from a video taken by the descent stage of the spacecraft that had transported the rover from Earth, shows Perseverence being lowered to the Martian surface. NASA/JPL PM asks states to pitch in on reform efforts STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE WHY ENGLAND PACEMEN ARE TICKLED PINK BIDEN’S NOMINEE TO HEAD BUDGET OFFICE FACES CHALLENGES Modi said the Centre had brought in reforms and reduced the compliance burden by abolishing 1500 laws. The states too could do this. They should form committees to study the issue. When technology had advanced, why should there be harassment of citizens, he asked and said the Centre had asked Cabinet Secretary to study the issue. The Prime Minister said the basis of the country’s progress was Cooperative Federalism and the country succeeded when the State and the Central government worked together during the Corona pandemic. In his concluding remarks the Prime Minister said like the Coronavirus, the country could achieve success against tuberculosis also. Modi called for balanced regional development. Security beefed up after terror attacks in Srinagar STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE JAMMU, 20 FEBRUARY In view of a series of terror attacks in Srinagar, it has been decided to heighten security at vulnerable and tourist places. Inspector General of Police Kashmir Zone Vijay Kumar on Saturday chaired a detailed security review meeting in view of recent terror attacks in Srinagar city. The focus of the meeting, attended by senior police and CRPF and SSB officers, was recent attacks by terrorists in the Srinagar City and the security measures to counter such terrorist attacks. The participating officers presented an overview of the steps initiated by them in their respective areas to counter such attacks and other challenges faced at the ground level. IGP Kashmir was also briefed about the detailed security measures put in place to counter such attacks and for the maintenance of peace and security particularly for tourists as it is expected that a large number of tourists will visit valley in the coming summer season. The IGP Kashmir urged upon the participating officers that it is of crucial importance to enhance security surveillance of all vital establishments and locations besides ensuring safetyto vulnerable persons to thwart the designs of terrorists in Srinagar city. Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced that Hoshangabad city in the state would be renamed as Narmadapuram and a proposal to that effect would be sent to the Centre. He made the announcement during the Narmada Jayanti programme held in Hoshangabad on Friday evening. “What should be the new name?” Chouhan asked while addressing a gathering on the banks of Narmada, and the people replied, “Narmadapuram!” The chief minister then said, “We are now sending a proposal to the Centre to change the name of Hoshangabad as Narmadapuram.” The state government will not allow “cement-concrete structures” to be built along the Narmada river, he said, adding that sewage treatment plants are also being constructed in the cities located on its banks. Meanwhile, BJP workers, led by protem Assembly Speaker Rameshwar Sharma, expressed happiness over the announcement. “This is a historic moment. Narmada is the lifeline of Madhya Pradesh. Hoshangabad was so far named after an attacker Hoshang Shah, but will be known after the lifeline Narmada,” he said. However, state Congress spokesman Bhupendra Gupta termed the announcement as the ruling BJP’s ploy to divert the attention of people from issues like inflation and rising prices of fuel. “BJP only changed the names related to the Mughals, but not of those linked to the British rulers,” he PTI said.
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