TUESDAY www.thestatesman.com 09 MARCH 2021 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |` 5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR P6 WEATHER Partly cloudy sky. Mist in the morning. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 32 and 17 degrees Celsius respectively. MARKLE ALLEGES ROYAL RACISM IN EXPLOSIVE INTERVIEW HONG KONG LEADER WELCOMES ELECTORAL CHANGES A CHAPTER CLOSED P9 MANAGEMENT PUZZLES FOR T20 TEAM SELECTION P10 P12 Budget session may be cut SC: Remarks on rape case short for Assembly polls ‘misreported’ RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Parties request LS speaker to curtail Parl session to allow them focus on upcoming elections Max: 85% SNS & PTI Min: 54% TEMPERATURE Max: 32.2°C (+3) SUN RISES 06:36 hrs MOON RISES 04:50 hrs Min: 18.9°C (+5) SUN SETS 18:26 hrs MOON SETS 14:31 hrs THUMBNAILS Women protest on International Women's Day, in solidarity with the ongoing farmers' agitation against Centre's agri-laws, at Bahadurgarh in Haryana on Monday. AGENCIES NIA takes over bomb-laden SUV case: The l National Investigation Agency (NIA) has taken over the case of a vehicle laden with explosives found near industrialist Mukesh Ambani's residence in Mumbai, an official spokesperson said on Monday. The NIA took over the case following orders from the Ministry of Home Affairs, he said. The Scorpio, with 20 gelatin sticks inside, was found near Ambani's high-rise south Mumbai home on 25 February. French aviation billionaire killed in crash: French billionaire aviation industrialist and member of parliament Olivier Dassault, 69, has died in a helicopter crash along with the pilot. He was heir to a powerful family business empire that made Falcon private jets and Rafale fighter planes and owned many other businesses including Le Figaro newspaper. A judicial inquiry for eventual manslaughter charges is under way after Sunday's crash in the town of Touques in Normandy. PARLIAMENT SUSPENSION ON CARDS NEW DELHI/KOLKATA, 8 MARCH T he Budget Session of Parliament is likely to be cut short and may conclude before the first phase of elections on 27 March, while the two Houses will resume their normal timing of 11 a.m. onwards from Tuesday, sources said. Several parties had requested that the session, which was originally scheduled to continue till 8 April, be curtailed due to the Assembly elections in four States and one Union Territory being held between 27 March and 29 April. Rajya Sabha Chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu announced the new timings for the Upper House this morning on the first day of the second part of the Budget Session. Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla made a similar announcement later in the day. A final decision on curtailment of the session would also be taken by Birla who met floor leaders of various parties on the matter earlier in the day. Floor leaders of various political parties on Monday urged Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to curtail the Budget Session to allow them focus on the Assembly polls in four states and one union territory. At a meeting of Lok Sabha’s Business Advisory Committee (BAC), Birla spoke with various floor leaders on a one-on-one basis to take a sense on curtailing the session which began on Monday. At a meeting of Lok Sabha’s Business Advisory Committee (BAC), Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla spoke with various floor leaders on a one-on-one basis to take a sense on curtailing the session which began on Monday. Members of the Trinamul Congress and the DMK did not attend the meeting TMC WRITES TO NAIDU In a letter to the Rajya Sabha chairperson, TMC national spokesperson and RS member Derek O’Brien said due to the polls, MPs of his party would not be able to attend the Parliament session Members of the Trinamul Congress and the DMK did not attend the meeting. Parliamentary sources said the Biju Janata Dal was of the view that Assembly elections keep taking place every few months and the session should not be curtailed on this ground. YSR Congress Party member P V Midhun Reddy said if the current session is curtailed, the next session should be longer. Some members said nearly 145 members have written to the Speaker seeking curtailment of the session. In a letter to the Rajya Sabha chairperson, TMC national spokesperson and RS member Derek O'Brien said due to the polls, MPs of his party would not be able to attend the Parliament session. Some members said nearly 145 members have written to the Speaker seeking curtailment of the session. A final decision on curtailment of the session would also be taken by Birla WHAT OTHERS SAID The Biju Janata Dal was of the view that Assembly elections keep taking place every few months and the session should not be curtailed on this ground. YSR Congress Party member P V Midhun Reddy said if the current session is curtailed, the next session should be longer “I am writing to you as the parliamentary party leader (Rajya Sabha) for the All India Trinamool Congress. Sir, we urge you to consider the adjournment of the ensuing Parliament session, because of the declaration of elections in five states,” he said. “The Election Commission of India, on 26th February 2021, has announced election for five states, including Bengal. Due to the ongoing intensive election preparations in the State, the members of Parliament from the All India Trinamool Congress would find it difficult to attend the second part of the Budget Session beginning from 8th March 2021,” he wrote. TMC MP Sudeep Bandyopadhyay has also written to the Lok Sabha Speaker on the same issue, PRECEDENT 2011: The 222nd session which commenced on 21 February and scheduled to end on 21 April was adjourned sine die on 25 March due to Assembly polls in 5 states requesting that Parliament be adjourned due to the polls. O'Brien, in his letter, mentioned two precedents when Parliament sessions were adjourned due to polls in states. He cited the example of the 222nd session which commenced on February 21, 2011, and was scheduled to conclude on April 21, 2011. However, due to state assembly elections in Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, the House was adjourned sine die on March 25, 2011, he said. The second instance he provided was of the 214th session which commenced on 17 October, 2008, and was adjourned early on 24 October 2008, to meet again on 10 December 2008. The session, as per the original schedule, was to RS adjourns over Opp ruckus on fuel hike SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 8 MARCH NEW DELHI, 8 MARCH The Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day without transacting any legislative business amidst an uproar by Opposition members who were demanding a discussion on the rising fuel prices. The House was first adjourned for about an hour till 11 a.m. and then again till 1 p.m. as Opposition parties created an uproar over its demand to hold a discussion on the steep rise in the prices of petrol, diesel and LPG cylinders. The Chair, however did not concede to their demands. When the Upper House re-assembled at 1 pm, it was again adjourned till 1.15 pm and then till 1.30 pm. This time, Vandana Chavan, who was in the Chair, adjourned the House for the day. The Lok Sabha proceedings were also adjourned till 7 p.m. in the wake of protests by Congress members over rising fuel prices. SNS SEE PAGE 5 continue up to November 21, 2008. However, due to state assembly elections in some states, the House was adjourned till December 10, 2008. A Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde on Monday said its observations during the hearing of a rape case last week were completely misreported and added that it has the highest respect for women. The comments ~on International Women’s Day ~ come in the wake of recent criticism against the Supreme Court that it had purportedly asked a rape accused whether he would marry the victim, who was a minor when the crime was committed. We (had) asked are you going to marry? We didn’t order (him to) ‘marry’,” the bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, said. It also said the reputation of the judiciary is in the hands of its lawyers. The observations by the bench were made while it was hearing another case that of a 14-yearold pregnant rape survivor seeking permission to abort the foetus of almost 26 weeks. In the proceedings conducted through video conferencing, it referred to a provision of the Evidence Act and said the query was posed in the context of the records, but the issue was completely misreported. It was earlier stated that the apex court’s query asking a rape accused whether he would marry the victim was based on ‘judicial records’ containing an undertaking from the man that he would marry the minor girl, a relative, after she turns 18 years of age. Anti-love jiad Bill ratified in MP Assembly Oil prices surge after attack on Saudi oil site Court convicts Ariz Khan in Batla House case Over 18K cases in last 24 hrs; 6 states account for 86.2 pc cases BHOPAL, 8 MARCH PRESS TRUST OF INDIA PTI STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 8 MARCH NEW DELHI, 8 MARCH A court here on Monday convicted Ariz Khan, allegedly associated with the terror outfit Indian Mujahideen, for the murder of Delhi police inspector Mohan Chand Sharma and other offences in connection with the 2008 Batla House encounter.Additional Sessions Judge Sandeep Yadav said the evidence produced by the prosecution duly proved the case beyond reasonable doubt. The judge said that it was duly proved that Ariz Khan and his associates caused murder of police official and fired gunshot on the police official. The court will hear arguments on the quantum of senSEE P5 tence on 15 March. Over 86 per cent of the new Coronavirus cases reported in the past 24 hours come from six states, including Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, the Health Ministry said on Monday. Maharashtra has reported the highest daily new cases at 11,141, followed by Kerala with 2,100andPunjabwith1,043new infections, the ministry said.The Centre is regularly holding high-level review meetings with the states and Union territories showing a surge in new daily cases. “These six states cumulatively account for 86.25 per cent of the new cases reported in the past 24 hours,” BANGKOK, 8 MARCH On International Women’s Day today, the Madhya Pradesh State Assembly passed by voice vote a Bill that provides up to 10 years rigorous imprisonment and Rs One lakh fine on forced religious conversions even through marriage or any other fraudulent means. The ‘Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Bill 2020’ had earlier been promulgated through an ordinance on 9 January. MP Home Minister Narottam Mishra said during the debate that they would not tolerate a Rafique turning into a Ravi for ‘Love Jihad’. He stressed that they were not against love SNS but against jihad. Oil prices pressed higher on Monday after strikes on major oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, shook energy markets already rattled by a decision by oil producers last week to not lift output. Brent crude, the international standard, surpassed $70 per barrel for the first time in over a year, gaining $1.14 to $70.47 a barrel. It surged $2.62 on Friday. Benchmark U.S. crude oil added $1.10 to $67.19 per barrel, up 1.7%, falling back from bigger gains earlier in the day. It jumped $2.26 to $66.09 per barrel on Friday. Prices have been recov- ering in the past few months after plunging last year with the onset of the pandemic. The devastating winter freeze that hit Texas and other parts of the southern United States last month knocked out production of roughly 4 million barrels per day of U.S. oil, pushing prices above $60 a barrel. Last week, with oil prices rising, some observers were expecting the OPEC cartel and its allies to lift more restrictions and let the oil flow more freely. But OPEC agreed to leave most restrictions in place. The strikes on Saudi sites have increased in frequency and precision in recent weeks, raising concerns about Saudi Arabia’s air defenses. 4 child abuse survivors denied justice daily PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 8 MARCH Everyday four child victims of sexual offences are denied justice due to closure of their cases by police because of insufficient evidence, according to a new study. The Police case disposal pattern:An enquiry into the cases filed under POCSO Act, 2012 by Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation (KSCF), is an analysis of pattern of disposal of POCSO cases by police from 2017 to 2019 and is based on the data and information published by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). The study has been released on the occasion of International Women’s Day. “It has been observed that between 2017 and 2019, there ALARMING SIGNS The Police case disposal pattern: An enquiry into the cases filed under POCSO Act, 2012 by Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation (KSCF), released on the occasion of International Women’s Day, is an analysis of pattern of dis- posal of POCSO cases by police from 2017 to 2019 “It has been observed that between 2017 and 2019, there has been an increase in the number of cases that have been closed by the has been an increase in the number of cases that have been closed by the police after investigation without filing the chargesheet,” the study pointed out. As the data shows, sexual crimes are increasing in the country over the years. “While the government recognised the need for a special law and introduced a police after investigation without filing the chargesheet,” the study pointed out. special legislation to deal with crimes against children viz., Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO), it is disappointing to see its poor implementation on the ground,” the study noted. As many as 3,000 POCSO cases registered and investigated fail to reach court for a fair trial every year and four child victims of sexual abuse are denied justice every day due to the closure of their cases by police because of insufficient evidence or lack of a clue, the study said. “It has further been revealed from the NCRB data that in a large number (two-fifths) of POCSO cases which were disposed- off/closed by the police without charge sheeting the reason cited was 'cases true but insufficient evidence, or untraced, or no clue',” it said. In 2019, 43 per cent of cases were closed by police on this ground as per the final reports filed in court, the study said. “This is higher than 2017 and 2018. Amongst other reasons, false reporting was the second most prominent reason for closure of POCSO cases, however closure of cases on this ground has reduced over the years from 40 per cent in 2017 to 33 per cent in 2019,” the study said. Also, another analysis of the POCSO cases for the same period ( 2017 to 2019) by KSCF reveals that there is an urgent need for courts to expedite the justice delivery mechanism as victims of as many as 89 per cent of the cases of child sexual abuse were awaiting justice at the end of 2019. “The backlog of cases pending investigation is also increasing from year to year as the number of cases whose investigation is completed in a year is lesser than the number of cases in which chargesheets are filed. This gap demonstrates that police are not devoting adequate resources to deal with these grave crimes,” it said. the Ministry said. The government said it had already deputed high-level teams to Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab,Karnataka,TamilNadu, Bengal, and Jammu and Kashmir to help them in their fight against the recent Covid spike. Meanwhile, 18 states and Union territories have not reported any Covid-19 deaths in the last 24 hours. Delhi logs 239 cases, 3 deaths: Delhi today recorded 239 fresh coronavirus infections and 3 Covid-related deaths, according to the Delhi government’s latest health bulletin. These cases were detected out of a relatively lesser count of 47,689 tests, with the positivity rate standing at 0.50 per cent, the health bulletin said. NEW DELHI, 8 MARCH Prime Minister Narendra Modi will pay a visit to Bangladesh on 26 March to participate in the 50th anniversary celebrations of the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971. The visit will be his first foreign visit in 15 months amidst the coronavirus pandemic. According to officials familiar with the visit, Modi and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina are likely to flag off a direct passenger train service between Dhaka and New Jalpaiguri in West Bengal. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had visited Dhaka last week to prepare the ground for PM Modi’s CPI(M) politburo member Brinda Karat had written to the chief justice asking him to withdraw his remarks reportedly made during the 1 March hearing on the anticipatory bail plea of the accused. Several women’s rights activists, eminent citizens, intellectuals, writers and artistes had also penned an open letter to the chief justice demanding an apology and retraction of the remarks. Referring to the earlier case, the bench said on Monday, “We do not remember any case of marital rape was before us ...We have the highest respect for women.” “Our reputation is always at the hands of bar,” the top court observed. The view was endorsed by lawyers appearing in the case. Day not far when country will be named after Modi: CM 1,12,29,398 1,88,747 18,599 14,278 1,57,853 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. MONDAY 08 MARCH 2021 PM to visit B’desh on 26 Mar; first foreign visit since Covid SNS & AGENCIES The comments on International Women’s Day come in the wake of recent criticism against the Supreme Court that it had purportedly asked a rape accused whether he would marry the victim, who was a minor when the crime was committed “We (had) asked are you going to marry? We didn’t order (him to) marry” Supreme Court bench headed by CJI said upcoming visit and held talks with his counterpart on the progress of bilateral ties. “This is an important meeting as it is expected to lay the groundwork for the upcoming visit of Indian Prime Minister Modi and his talks with our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,” a Bangladesh Foreign Ministry official said in a statement. Hasina and Modi had held a virtual summit on December 17 when they jointly flagged off the train service between Haldibari and Chilahati. Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen visited India in January during which both sides extensively deliberated on Modi’s visit to Dhaka. KOLKATA, 8 MARCH West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “spreading lies and canards” against the TMC government, and said voters, this time, would witness ‘Didi versus BJP’ fight in all 294 constituencies of the poll-bound state. Taking a dig at Modi over inclusion of his picture in Covid-19 vaccination certificates, she said the “day wasn’t far when India will be named after him”. Asserting that she will return to power for the third consecutive time in Bengal, the feisty TMC boss said, “The fight is between me and the BJP in all 294 seats.” “They (BJP leaders) will come to Bengal only during elections and spread canards and lies. He is lecturing us on women’s safety. What is the situation of women in BJPruled states? What is the situation in Modi’s favourite Gujarat? “The Prime Minister has named a stadium after him. He has put his photographs on Covid-19 vaccination certificates. A day will come when the country will be named after him,” Banerjee, who led a rally here on the occasion of International Women’s Day, SNS stated. DETAILS ON PAGE 5
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