SUNDAY www.thestatesman.com 28 FEBRUARY 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 MBS SANCTIONED JAMAL KHASHOGGI MURDER: US US HOUSE PASSES $1.9 TRILLION COVID RELIEF PACKAGE BILL P10 WEATHER Mainly clear sky. Maximum and minimum temperature most likely to be around 36 °C and 22 °C respectively. TEMPERATURE P11 P7 P12 ‘G23’ Congress Private hospitals can charge up to `250 per dose for Covid vaccine dissenters rally behind Azad SNS & PTI INOCULATION DRIVE NEW DELHI, 27 FEBRUARY RAINFALL: NIL RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max. 90 % ROOT LEAVES IT TO THE BIG BOYS IN DUBAI WARRIORS FOR A FOREIGN CAUSE Min. 24 % Max: 36.5°C (5) Min: 20.2°C (N) SUN RISES SUN SETS 06:03 hrs 16:51 hrs MOON RISES MOON SETS 21:14 hrs 10:04 hrs Next moon quarter on 06 March THUMBNAILS Niranjani Akhada sadhus take part in Dhwajarohan (flag hoisting) ceremony for Kumbha 2021, in Haridwar on Saturday AGENCY Top state police officer transferred: A day after Assembly elections were announced in West Bengal, the Election Commission on Saturday transferred additional director-general (law and order) Jawed Shamim and appointed Jag Mohan, director-general, fire services, in his place. Mohan has also been appointed as the State Police Nodal Officer. Shamim, who has been shifted to the post of DG, fire services, is the first IPS officer to be transferred after the announcement of polls. The move came on a day when a BJP delegation complained against P3 some police officers to Bengal CEO. Veteran pacer Shikha Pandey axed: Veteran medium pacer Shikha Pandey was on Saturday dropped from India's ODI and T20 squads that will take on South African women in a twin series starting 7 March. The most debatable decision by the Neetu David-led selection committee, however, was the exclusion of teenage batting sensation Shafali Verma in the ODI squad which has plodders like skipper Mithali Raj and Punam Raut, whose strike-rates have come under the scanner time and again. Party weakened, disconnected from people: Leaders SP SHARMA JAMMU, 27 FEBRUARY ausing embarrassment to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party leader Rahul Gandhi a day after Assembly elections were announced for four states and a Union Territory, party dissenters led by Ghulam Nabi Azad, dubbed the G23, said here on Saturday that the Congress has weakened during the past decade and they want it to be strengthened by re-connecting with the youth. A function that was organised by the ‘Gandhi Global Family’ in Jammu to felicitate Mr Azad after his retirement from the Rajya Sabha virtually became a mini-conclave of the ‘G23’ that had recently sought election for the post of president of the party that they said was gradually losing touch with the common people. Top Congress leaders Kapil Sibal and Anand Sharma rued that nothing has been done to connect the new generation with the Congress. “We’ve seen good days of Congress and we don’t want to see it weakening as we become older,” said Sharma. In a virtual reprimand to Rahul Gandhi on his north vs south remark that has triggered a controversy, Azad said that the strength of the Congress is that it equally respects all religions, people and castes. Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Manish Tewari, Akhilesh C Prasad Singh and Vivek Tankha (all MPs) were also present in the meeting. The dissidents have decided to launch a nationwide campaign of ‘Save the Idea of India’ under the Gandhi Global Family. The new campaign will be led by Azad who will organise rallies and public meetings. Azad became a rallying point of these leaders who made it clear they were unhappy with the party leadership letting him retire from the Rajya Sabha where he was the leader of the Opposition. Azad was quick to clarify that he has retired from the Rajya Sabha and not from active politics. He asserted that he would continue his efforts to strengthen the party throughout the country including Jammu and Kashmir by whatever way possible. Anand Sharma, deputy leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said their voice is for the betterment of the party. Hitting out at critics, Mr Sharma said “I have not given the right to anyone to tell me if we are the people of the Congress or not. We will build and strengthen the party. We believe in the strength and unity of the Congress. “All of us have covered a very long distance to reach where we are today. Nobody among us has come through the window; all of us have walked through the door. We have come through the students and youth movements. Sibal minced no words in saying: “The truth is that we see Congress getting weak. That is why we have gathered here. We had gathered together earlier too and we have to strengthen the party together”. Batting for Azad, he described him as “one such leader who knows the ground reality of Congress in every district of each state. We were saddened when we realised that he is being freed from Parliament. I can’t understand why Congress is not using his experience”. Mr Sharma added that Mr Azad’s retirement from the Upper House meant that now there is no representative of J&K in Rajya Sabha. Private hospitals can charge up to Rs 250 per dose of Covid-19 vaccine, official sources said on Saturday as India prepares to vaccinate people aged above 60 years and those over 45 with comorbidities from 1 March. The vaccine will be given free of cost at government hospitals, while people will need to pay for it at private facilities. “Rs 250 will be the ceiling~ Rs 150 cost of vaccine plus Rs 100 service charge. This arrangement will remain effective till further orders,” a source said. According to sources, states and union territories have been kept in loop. The Union Health Ministry on Friday had said beneficiaries would be able to self-register in advance by downloading the Co-WIN 2.0 portal and through other IT applications such as Aarogya Setu, which will show the government and private hospitals serving as Covid-19 vaccination centres (CVCs) with date and time of the available schedules. The beneficiary would be able to choose the CVC of his/her choice and book an appointment for vaccination, the Ministry said. There will be facility of on-site registration so that eligible beneficiaries can walk into identified vaccination centres, get themselves registered and get inoculated. “Eligible beneficiaries would be able to register themselves on the CoWIN platform from 1 March itself,” R S Sharma, Chairman of Empowered Group on Covid-19 Vaccine Administration had said. The nationwide Covid-19 Health workers collect swab samples to detect Covid-19, Virus, in the Capital on Saturday. SNS 16,488 new Covid cases, 113 deaths NEW DELHI, 27 FEB India registered a single-day spike of over 16,000 Covid-19 cases for the third day in a row on Saturday, pushing the infection tally to 1,10,79,979, while the recoveries surged to 1,07,63,451, according to Union Health Ministry data. A total of 16,488 coronavirus cases were reported in a day, while the death toll rose to 1,56,938 with 113 new fatalities, showed the data updated at 8 am on Saturday. The active case count has further increased to 1,59,590, which comprises1.44 per cent of vaccination drive was launched on 16 January. During a meeting held on Friday, representatives of states and UTs were explained the basic features of version 2.0 of the digital platform Co-WIN. the total infections. Bengal on Saturday recorded 210 fresh Covid-19 cases along with 3 deaths linked to the virus, taking the state's total case count to 5,74,926 and death toll to 10,266. There are 3,333 active cases. Kolkata recorded 69 cases and 2 deaths The Centre on Saturday advised states and UTs reporting an increase in coronavirus cases to enforce Covidappropriate behaviour by dealing firmly with violations and ensure effective surveillance in case of potential super spreading events so as not to squander last SNS year’s gains. India hits back at UNHRC chief for remarks on farmers’ stir, Kashmir PRESS TRUST OF INDIA STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE The government has fixed fifty lakh registered users as the threshold for defining ‘significant social media intermediary’, which will have to adhere to additional obligations and compliance under the new IT rules that seek to crack down on misuse of social media platforms. The new rules, announced earlier this week, require ‘significant social media intermediaries’ to follow additional due diligence, including the appointment of a chief compliance officer, nodal contact person and resident grievance officer. All three officials will have to Under new IT rules that seek to crack down on misuse of social media platforms, ‘significant social media intermediaries’ have to follow additional due diligence, including the appointment of a chief compliance officer, nodal contact person and resident grievance officer reside in India. They will have to publish a monthly compliance report and details of the contents removed proactively. At present, the country has 53 crore WhatsApp users, 44.8 crore YouTube users, 41 crore Facebook subscribers, 21 crore Instagram clients, while 1.75 crore account holders are on microblogging platform Twitter. “...the Central Government hereby specifies fifty lakh registered users in India as the threshold for a social media intermediary to be considered a significant social media intermediary,” the notification said. Earlier on Thursday, the government announced the tightening of the rules governing social media and streaming companies, requiring them to take down contentious content quicker, appoint grievance redressal officers and assist investigations. The move aims to make social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and Instagram - which have seen a phenomenal surge in usage over the years in India - more accountable for the content on their platforms. These companies will have to remove contentious content flagged by the government or court orders within 36 hours and take down posts depicting nudity or morphed photos within 24 hours of receiving a complaint, as per the latest intermediary rules. Also, on being asked by the court or government they will be required to disclose the first originator of information that undermines sovereignty of India, security of the state. NEW DELHI, 27 FEBRUARY India came down heavily on United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Michele Bachelet for her comments on the ongoing farmers’ protests against the three farm laws and the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. “The unprovoked violence on our Republic Day in the name of farmers’ rights, apparently, left her unmoved,” said India’s Permanent Representative Indra Mani Pandey at the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva. In her oral update, Bachelet had observed that farmers’ protests “highlight the impor- tance of ensuring laws and policies are based on meaningful consultations with those concerned”. She hoped that the dialogue efforts by the farmers and government “will lead to an equitable solution to this crisis that respects the rights of all”. “Objectivity and impartiality have to be the hallmarks of any human rights assessment. We are sorry to see that the high commissioner’s oral update is lacking in both,” the Indian diplomat said. He said the UNHRC chief appeared as oblivious of the enormous efforts made by India to address the challenges as indeed many of the factors driving these challenges. Bachelet had also spo- ken on the situation in Kashmir, noting that restrictions on communications and clampdowns on civil society activists “remain of concern”. She observed that despite the restoration of 4G access for the first time since August 2019 in Kashmir, the “communications blockade has seriously hampered civic participation, as well as business, livelihoods, education, and access to health-care and medical information”. In response to this, the Indian diplomat said her indifference to terrorism was not new and went on elaborating the steps taken by the government to restore normalcy since J K was stripped of its special status. Onus of further progress rests with India: Imran on LoC deal PRESS TRUST OF INDIA ISLAMABAD, 27 FEBRUARY Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday welcomed the ceasefire agreement with India but said the onus of creating an “enabling environment” for further progress in bilateral relations rests with New Delhi. In his first comments since the militaries of India and Pakistan jointly announced on Thursday that they have agreed to strictly observe all agreements on the ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) and other sectors, Khan said Pakistan remains ready to move forward to resolve “all outstanding issues” with India through dialogue. “I welcome restoration of the ceasefire along the LOC. The onus of creating an enabling environment for further progress rests with India. India must take necessary steps to meet the longstanding demand & right of the Kashmiri people to self determination according to UNSC resolutions,” Khan tweeted. “We have always stood for peace & remain ready to move forward to resolve all outstanding issues through dialogue,” Khan said in a series of tweets. India has told Pakistan that “talks and terror” cannot go together and has asked Islamabad to take demonstrable steps against terror groups responsible for launching various attacks on India. On Thursday, India said it desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan and is committed to resolving all issues bilaterally in a peace- I welcome restoration of the ceasefire along the LOC. The onus of creating an enabling environment for further progress rests with India. India must take necessary steps to meet the long-standing demand & right of the Kashmiri people to self determination according to UNSC resolutions ful manner. “On relations with Pakistan, as we have said earlier, India desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan. We have always maintained that we are committed to addressing issues, if any, in a peaceful and bilateral manner,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said. India and Pakistan issued a joint statement on Thursday to strictly observe all agreements on ceasefire along the LoC and other sectors after the hotline discussions by their Director Generals of Military Operations. The decision by the two countries came into effect from the midnight of February 24/25. India and Pakistan signed a ceasefire agreement in 2003, but it has hardly been followed in letter and spirit over the past several years. Prime minster Khan’s tweets on Saturday came on the second anniversary of Pakistan’s retaliatory airstrikes after the Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jets crossed the LoC and targeted a Jaishe-Mohammed (JeM) terror training camp at Balakot on 26 February, 2019. The IAF warplanes hit the JeM camp to avenge the killing of 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel in the Pulwama terror attack. Pakistan Air Force (PAF) retaliated the next day but the IAF foiled the attack. Khan said Pakistan demonstrated to the world its “responsible behaviour” by returning the captured Indian pilot. On the Kashmir issue, Khan said, India must take necessary steps to meet the long-standing demand and right of the Kashmiri people to self-determination according to UN Security Council resolutions. New Delhi has told Islamabad that it has no locus standi to comment on the internal affairs of India, asserting that the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have been and will remain an integral part of the country. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said on Saturday that it was committed to peaceful coexistence. “As this day is commemorated, we once again make clear to the world community that Pakistan remains committed to peaceful coexistence and res- 1,10,79,979 1,59,590 16,488 12,771 1,56,938 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. SATURDAY 27 FEBRUARY 2021 States and UTs were asked to ensure that the private health facilities have adequate space for the vaccination process, as detailed in the comprehensive SOPs issued by the Ministry, basic cold 50 lakh users is threshold to define ’significant social media intermediaries’ NEW DELHI, 27 FEBRUARY India prepares to vaccinate people aged above 60 years and those over 45 with comorbidities from 1 March. The Covid-19 vaccine will be given free of cost at government hospitals, while people will need to pay for it at private facilities At private hospitals, Rs 250 will be the ceiling per dose of vaccine ~ Rs 150 cost of vaccine plus Rs 100 service charge. olution of the long outstanding Jammu & Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people,” it said. Addressing the event, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan said Pakistan’s desire for peace should not be misunderstood as a weakness, and Islamabad is capable of defending itself. In an editorial, the Dawn newspaper pointed out that no one should be under the illusion that the bitterness in bilateral ties will magically disappear on the basis of one statement. “Peace-building is a long and arduous process, and when the relationship is as complex as that of Pakistan and India, things will take time to fall into place,” it said. chain equipments, their own team of vaccinators and staff, and adequate facility for management of any adverse event following immunisation (AEFI) cases for using them as CVCs. AG refuses to allow contempt case against ex-CJI Gogoi The ex-CJI had reportedly said at an event that the judiciary is ‘ramshackled’ and it is quite unlikely for a person to get a timely verdict NEW DELHI, 27 FEBRUARY Attorney General K K Venugopal has refused to grant sanction to initiate contempt proceedings against former Chief Justice of India (CJI) and Rajya Sabha lawmaker Ranjan Gogoi for his alleged statements against the apex judiciary. Activist Saket Gokhale had sought consent, a condition precedent for initiating criminal contempt proceedings, of the topmost law officer to initiate the case against the former CJI who had reportedly said at an event that the judiciary is “ramshackled” and it is quite unlikely for a person to get a timely verdict. “I had the occasion to watch the entirety of the interview. It is obvious that all that has been said was good for the institution and will not any manner scandalise the court or lower its authority in the eyes of law,”Venugopal said in his letter to the activist, denying consent for initiating the proceedings. Venugopal said though ex-CJI’s statements were strong, but they reflected his views on the ills of the judiciary. The plea, seeking consent to initiate contempt proceedings had referred to the statements of Justice Gogoi who had said, “You want a $5 trillion economy but you have a ramshackled judiciary...if you were to go to court, you would only be washing your dirty linen in court. You won’t get a verdict. I have no hesPTI itation in saying it.”
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