THURSDAY www.thestatesman.com 22 JULY 2021 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |` 5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR P7 WEATHER Partly cloudy sky with very light rain/ thundershowers. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 35 and 24 degrees Celsius respectively. CAA, NRC WON’T HURT INDIAN MUSLIMS: BHAGWAT PROPERTY MARKET TO TOUCH $1 TRILLION BY 2030 IAS REFORMS VITAL TO CEMENT PM’S LEGACY P8 'INDIA RESPONDED LIKE CHAMPIONS' P4 P12 Pegasus snooping claims: Parl panel may quiz officials Mamata calls for Supreme Court probe into spying row RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Centre wants ‘surveillance state’, says Banerjee, calls for Opp unity to oust Modi in 2024 Max: 100% STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE Min: 66% TEMPERATURE Max: 34.7°C (0) SUN RISES 05:38 hrs MOON RISES 17:58 hrs KOLKATA, 21 JULY Min: 22.4°C (-5) SUN SETS 19:18 hrs MOON SETS 04:22 hrs THUMBNAILS An officer of the Indian Army offering sweets to a Pakistan Army officer at Aman-Setu in the Uri Sector of Kashmir. SNS Brisbane to host 2032 Olympics: Brisbane was picked Wednesday to host the 2032 Olympics, the inevitable winner of a one-city race steered by the IOC to avoid rival bids. The Games will go back to Australia 32 years after the popular 2000 Sydney Olympics. Melbourne hosted in 1956. Paris will host the 2024 Games. Akash missile test-fired: A new generation of f Akash surface-to-air missile was successfully flight-tested on Wednesday by the DRDO from an integrated test range off the Odisha coast in a boost to India's air defence capabilities. The defence ministry said the missile was testfired at around 12:45 p.m. from a land-based platform and the flight data confirmed the "flawless performance" of its weapons system. CBSE exams for private candidates: The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has said board exams for private candidates will be conducted from August 16 to September 15, as it ruled out declaring results of the private candidates on the basis of an alternative assessment policy like that for regular candidates. T rinamul supremo Mamata Banerjee gave a clarion call to all Opposition leaders to unite and form a Front to dislodge the Modi government at the Centre in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Miss Banerjee, in her virtual address marking the Trinamul Congress’ Martyrs' Day, told Opposition leaders who had gathered at the Constitution Club in New Delhi to listen to her: “Time is very short. All important Opposition leaders are present here, so I will request you to talk to your respective parties and we should unitedly form a Front.” "There is no point in bringing a doctor after the patient is dead. It will not be effective if we start uniting just few months before election. We have to start from now," Miss Banerjee said. She requested Mr Sharad Pawar of the NCP and Mr P Chidambaram of the Congress to arrange a meeting with all Opposition leaders at the end of July in Delhi as she would be vis- Farmers get nod for Jantar Mantar demo STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 21 JULY The Delhi government has granted permission to farmers to hold protests at Jantar Mantar, subject to following Covid protocols, sources said on Wednesday. The Delhi Disaster Management Authority allowed farmers to stage the protest between 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. between 22 July and 9 Aug, subject to participation of a maximum of 200 protesters per day. Earlier today, Special CP (Crime) Satish Golcha and Joint CP Jaspal Singh visited Jantar Mantar where farmers are scheduled to hold a protest against three AMRITSAR, 21 JULY In what is seen as a show of strength, nearly 60 Congress MLAs gathered at the residence of new state party chief Navjot Singh Sidhu here on Wednesday, amid suspense over a possible truce between him and CM Amarinder Singh. The Congress has 80 MLAs in the state Assembly. Sidhu and Amarinder Singh have been at loggerheads for the past some time, with the Amritsar (East) MLA recently attacking the CM over the desecration cases. The chief minister was also averse to his appointment as the state Congress chief. BROTHERS ALL DETAILS ON PAGE 5 On the occasion of Eid al-Adha at the Taj Mahal in Agra on Wednesday. Sthal here. Jakhar later told reporters, “We sought blessings for a prosperous Punjab, in which we all contribute together.” On Chief Minister Amarinder Singh's stance that he will not meet Sidhu till he publicly tenders an apology, some MLAs said there was no need for it. Minister Randhawa, who was behind organising things here, told reporters he was surprised at the “behaviour” of the chief minister. Sidhu's elevation as state unit chief has to be respected and accepted by all, irrespective of whatever differences there might have been in the past, he said. PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Opposition parties onWednesday stepped up their attack on the Centre over its statement that no deaths due to oxygen shortage were reported by states and UTs during the second Covid-19 wave, alleging it was trying to hide its mistakes by "lying", but the BJP accused them of playing politics on the issue and pointed out their own governments in the states did not report such fatalities. Amid the row, Maharashtra, where the Congress, Shiv Sena and the NCP are in power, and BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat maintained that there were no deaths due to oxygen shortage in these states, while Delhi's health minister It is completely false and wrong to say that no one died due to oxygen shortage... The Centre is rubbing salt into the wounds of those who have lost their loved ones… Tomorrow, they will say there have been no deaths due to Covid-19 SATYENDAR JAIN DELHI HEALTH MINISTER and AAP leader Satyendar Jain said there have been many such fatalities in the national capital and other places across the country. “It is completely false and wrong to say that no one died due to oxygen shortage... The Centre is rubbing salt into Maha reconciles data, deaths jump by 3.9K STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 21 JULY India on Wednesday recorded 3,998 deaths due to the new coronavirus in 24 hours and 42,015 new cases in the same period, as Maharashtra carried out its 14th Covid data reconciliation exercise, pushing the country's death toll to 4,18,480, according to Union health ministry data updated on Wednesday. The ministry said Maharashtra has carried out a reconciliation exercise of its Covid data following which the state’s case tally has increased by 2,479 while the death tally has increased by 3,509. On Tuesday, India had recorded the lowest daily fatalities in almost four months, at 374. Active cases in the coun- try have increased to 4,07,170, while the national Covid-19 recovery rate was recorded at 97.36 per cent. With as many as 18,52,140 Covid-19 tests conducted on Tuesday, the daily positivity rate stood at 2.27 per cent, while the weekly positivity rate was 2.09 per cent. Kerala’s numbers remained high, with 17,481 fresh Covid19 cases and 105 deaths on Wednesday, as the test positivity rate remained close to 12 per cent. Maharashtra reported 8,159 new Covid cases and 165 fatalities. Delhi reports fresh 62 Covid cases, 4 deaths: Delhi recorded 62 fresh Covid case and four fatalities, according to a health bulletin issued on Wednesday. Sixty-one patients recovered from the infection in the past (SEE P2) 24 hours, it said. ‘3.4- 4.9 M excess deaths’ NEW DELHI, 21 JULY India's excess deaths during the Covid pandemic could be between 3.4 to 4.9 million, according to a new report which suggests millions more may have died from the virus than the official count. The report, which was released on Tuesday, is co-authored by India's former chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian, Justin Sandefur from the US-based Center for Global Development and Abhishek Anand from Harvard University. Excess deaths between January 2020 and June 2021 AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 21 JULY A parliamentary panel on IT headed by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor is likely to question top government officials, including from Home Ministry, next week on allegations related to phone tapping of many using Pegasus spyware, sources said on Wednesday. An international media consortium has claimed that several Congress leaders including Rahul Gandhi, two Union ministers, Trinamul Congress leader Abhishek Banerjee and some 40 journalists were among those whose phone numbers were listed as potential targets for hacking through the Israeli spyware which is usually supplied to government agencies. The Indian government and Israeli surveillance company NSO Group, which sells Pegasus spyware worldwide, have refuted the reports. The 32-member Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information and Technology headed by Tharoor is scheduled to meet on July 28. The agenda of the meeting is 'Citizens' data security and privacy', according to the notification issued by Lok Sabha Secretariat. The panel, which has maximum members from the ruling BJP, has summoned officials from the Ministry of Electronics, Information and Technology and the Ministry of Home Affairs. Sources in the panel said the Pegasus phone tapping issue will definitely be raised in the meeting and details will be sought from the govern- An international media consortium has claimed that several Congress leaders including Rahul Gandhi, two Union ministers, Trinamul leader Abhishek Banerjee and some 40 journalists were among those whose phone numbers were listed as potential targets for hacking through the Israeli spyware. ment officials. The issue also rocked proceedings in Parliament as Opposition parties launched a scathing attack on the government. Describing the entire snooping incident as a matter of "national security concern", Tharoor had demanded an explanation from the government. Speaking in the Lok Sabha, Union IT and Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had dismissed the reports as "baseless" and said that the allegations levelled just ahead of the Monsoon session of Parliament were aimed at maligning Indian democracy. Editors Guild: Expressing shock over media reports on widespread surveillance on journalists and politicians using Pegasus spyware, the Editors Guild of India on Wednesday demanded an independent Supreme Court-monitored inquiry into the alleged snooping. The EGI condemned the surveillance on journalists, saying it was an attack on the freedom of press. Political row over claim of no deaths due to O2 lack NEW DELHI/MUMBAI, 21 JULY After Sidhu's elevation, the CM had said that he won't meet him until the cricketer-turnedpolitician apologises for his "derogatory" tweets against him. Among the ministers who reached here were Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Charanjit Singh Channi and Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria besides outgoing state unit chief Sunil Jakhar. The MLAs joined by Sidhu boarded luxury buses and went to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple, where a large number of Congress supporters gathered. They also went to the Durgiana temple and Ram Tirath PRESS TRUST OF INDIA people of Bengal for choosing Trinamul Congress over BJP She said that BJP lead. ers used law enforcement agencies, muscle and money power and Pegasus but yet Trinamul Congress got the people's mandate. She said that BJP party members have become NHRC members while Election Commission during Assembly poll became just like BJP’s Party Office. BJP is destroying federalism but wants a surveillance state. They are bulldozing democracy every day, she said. She also attacked the Centre for failing to control second wave of Covid-19. She said more than four lakh people died in India during the second wave as there were no vaccines and no medicines. Photo:Bhaskar Mallick contentious farm laws tomorrow. Delhi Police, however, said it has not given written permission to the farmers so far to gather near the Parliament for the protest. The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of over 40 farmer unions, has planned that around 200 farmers will hold protests outside Parliament every day from 22 July during the Monsoon session to press their demand for scrapping of the contentious farm laws and a legal guarantee on MSP. The farmer leaders have maintained that the protests will be "peaceful". 60 Congress MLAs turn up for Navjot Sidhu’s show of strength PRESS TRUST OF INDIA iting the capital on 27 July. Miss Banerjee declared 16 August as ‘Khela Hobe Diwas’ to set the ball rolling to oust the BJP in the 2024 Parliamentary elections. Miss Banerjee also lashed out at the Prime Minister and Union home minister for snooping on Opposition leaders, judges, bureaucrats and journalists by using Pegasus spy- ware and appealed to the Supreme Court to start suo-motu case against the Centre for infringing on the fundamental rights by snooping on the phone calls of individuals. Miss Banerjee said under BJP, democracy is in peril. "I can't speak to NCP leader Sharad Pawarji, Chidambaram or other opposition leaders or chief ministers because we are being snooped and spied on by the Centre,” she said. She said that her phone, along with those of her nephew Abhishek Banerjee and poll strategist Prashant Kishor, was tapped, and showed viewers her personal phone which she has covered the camera lenses and speakers with tape to conteract the Pegasus spyware. She also thanked the are between 3.4 million to 4.9 million, they estimate. Excess deaths are additional deaths recorded during a pandemic, as compared to a corresponding period in prepandemic years, and could be an indicator of undercounting in India's Covid toll, which on Wednesday was 4,18,480.The researchers based their estimate of excess deaths through the extrapolation of statelevel civil registration of deaths, applying international estimates of infection fatality rates to Indian seroprevalence data, and analysis of data from the Consumer Pyramid PTI Household Survey. the wounds of those who have lost their lovedones… Tomorrow, they will say there have been no deaths due to Covid19," Jain said. He said the Centre did not ask for data related to such deaths but the city government had tried ascertaining the number on its own by setting up the panel which the “Centre got disbanded through the Lieutenant Governor." Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia also charged the Centre with trying to "hide its faults" and alleged that its "mismanagement" and change in oxygen distribution policy after April 13 caused the shortage of oxygen in hospitals across the country, leading to a "disaster". "We all saw what happened Current Covid curbs to stay, no relaxations in Kerala PRESS TRUST OF INDIA THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, 21 JULY 3,12,16,337 4,07,170 42,015 36,977 4,18,480 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. WEDNESDAY 21 JULY 2021 in April-May. Media has reported on it, and I was getting messages from officials at hospitals and people were requesting for help, complaining about lack of oxygen," he said. “But, now the central government has shamelessly lied in Parliament," he alleged. Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra alleged that the fatalities happened because the government increased oxygen exports in the pandemic year and did not arrange tankers to transport it. Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said people whose relatives died due to oxygen shortage during the second wave of the Covid pandemic should "take the Union government to court". However, the Maharashtra government, of which Shiv Sena The Kerala government has said the prevailing categorywise exemptions and restrictions due to the spread of Covid-19 shall continue and that no additional relaxations would be made. The government said it was of this view because of the directive of the Supreme Court to the State to pay heed to the right to life of citizens and the spread of the virus. In its order dated July 20, the State administration said there would be a full lockdown on July 24 and July 25 with the same guidelines issued during the earlier phase of lockdowns on weekends. “The present categorisation of Local Self-government Institution (LSGI) regions based on the seven-day average test positivity rate (TPR) shall continue. Exemptions and restrictions already applicable to the respective category areas will continue. No additional relaxations shall be granted anywhere under any circumstances," the order said. The health department has also been directed to conduct a mass testing campaign on Friday with special focus on those districts where the test positivity rate was above 10 per cent. The Supreme Court had earlier termed as wholly uncalled for the Left government's relaxation of lockdown ahead of the Bakrid festival. is a part, said the state never reported any death due to a shortage of oxygen during the second wave of Covid-19. Countering the Opposition’s allegations, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said that the central government's reply was based on the figures provided by states and UTs as health is a state subject. No state sent any data about patients dying due to oxygen shortage, he said and accused Opposition leaders of doing politics on the matter. The opposition-ruled states had spoken about patients dying due to the oxygen crisis when the second wave was peaking as they wanted to target the Modi government but have taken a different stand in writing and their submission (SEE P2) to courts, he said. 3.4M global virus cases last week, up 12 p.c. GENEVA, 21 JULY The World Health Organisation says there were more than 3.4 million new global cases of the coronavirus last week, a 12% increase from the previous week. The agency says the number of deaths is continuing to decline, with about 57,000 in the last week. “At this rate, it is expected that the cumulative number of cases reported globally could exceed 200 million in the next three weeks,” WHO says. It notes the highest increases in Covid-19 cases were in the Western Pacific and European regions, with the highest infections in Indonesia, Britain, Brazil, India and the USA. AP
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