SATURDAY www.thestatesman.com 24 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 TIES WITH TALIBAN AND INDIA’S CHOICES SIDHU TAKES OVER AS PUNJAB CONG CHIEF P3 WEATHER Partly cloudy sky with possibility of thundery development. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 37 and 27 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max: 94% Maha rain fury: 42 killed in landslides MUMBAI,23 JULY Min: 26.3°C (-1) SUN SETS 19:17 hrs MOON SETS 06:35 hrs A THUMBNAILS Indian Youth Congress activists stage a protest against BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi near her residence, in the Capital on Friday. SUBRARA DUTTA US Secy of State to visit India: US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken will visit India on 27-28 July to discuss a range of issues with Indian leaders, particularly the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, it was officially announced on Friday.This is Blinken's first visit to India after assuming charge as Secretary of State. The Ministry of External Affairs said the visit was an opportunity to continue the highlevel bilateral dialogue and bolster the India-US P4 global strategic partnership. Bharat Biotech terminates MoU with Brazilian partners: Bharat Biotech on Friday said it terminated the Memorandum of Understanding entered with Precisa Medicamentos and Envixia Pharmaceuticals LL.C for its Covid vaccine Covaxin for the Brazilian market. The termination of the MoU came after the deal with the Brazilian government for supply of 20 million doses of the vaccine landed in controversy and attracted investigation by authorities in PTI that country. t least 42 people have died in rainrelated incidents in Maharashtra, 36 of them in a landslide in coastal Raigad district, while 10 persons were feared trapped after a landslide in Ratnagiri district as heavy rains continued to wreak havoc in Maharashtra, where residents are being evacuated from hilly regions in Konkan, officials said on Friday. As many as 129 people have died in rain-related incidents including landslides in Maharashtra in the last 48 hours, a senior official from the state disaster management department said on Friday evening. Eleven people on board a bus had a narrow escape as they were rescued just before the vehicle got washed away into a river in Kolhapur district of Maharashtra early on Friday, police said. No immediate relief appears in sight as the India Meteorological Department issued a red alert for six districts which have been already pounded by downpour, forecasting "extremely heavy" rainfall and recommending preventive actions. The alert was issued for the next 24 hours for the districts of Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg in coastal Konkan and also for Pune, Satara and Kolhapur in Western Maharashtra. The landslide in Raigad district took place near Talai village in Mahad tehsil on Thursday evening. RAIN MAYHEM A view of the partially submerged Krishnamai temple in Karad on Friday. The water levels have receded but in hilly areas, roads and bridges have been washed away. As many as 84,452 people, including over 40,000 in Kolhapur district, were shifted to safer places in Pune division as rains battered the region. "Thirty-six bodies have been recovered from the landslide spot so far," a senior police official said. The search and rescue operation is on by NDRF teams, personnel of the local disaster management cell, police and district administration, he said. Raigad district collector Nidhi Choudhary said the landslide incident was reported late Thursday evening. “But since the roads leading to the spot were blocked due to the floods and the sludge, the rescue teams found it difficult to reach the site," she said. “The operation resumed today morning and the bodies were recovered by afternoon,” she added. According to officials, there are around 30 houses in the village, which were completely damaged due to the incident. In the 24 hours ended at 8.30 am PRESS TRUST OF INDIA BEIJING,23 JULY BENGALURU, 23 JULY The Karnataka High Court on Friday quashed the notice issued to Twitter India Managing Director Manish Maheshwari by Uttar Pradesh police, seeking his personal appearance as part of its probe into a communally sensitive video uploaded by a user on Twitter platform, saying it was issued by malafide. The single bench of Justice G Narendar said that the notice under Section 41(A) CrPC should be treated as Section under 160 of CrPC, allowing Ghaziabad police to question Maheshwari through virtual mode, at his office or his residential address in Bengaluru. Maintaining that the provisions of the statute under Section 41(A) CrPC should not be permitted to become "tools of harassment", Justice Narendar said Ghaziabad police did not place any material which would demonstrate even the prima facie involvement of the petitioner, though the hearing has been going on for the past several days. "In the background of the fact that section 41(a) notice was issued by malafide, the writ petition (filed by Maheshwari seeking quashing) is maintainable. Accordingly, the notice under section Annexure A notice shall be read as section 160 of the CrPC," the court said.The Ghaziabadpolice had issued a notice under Sec 41-A of the CrPC on 21 June asking him to report at the Loni Border police station at 10:30 AM on 24 June. Maheshwari then moved the Karnataka High Court as he lives in BenPTI galuru in Karnataka. on Friday, 165 mm average rainfall was recorded in Raigad district. Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray expressed grief over the loss of lives in the landslide and spoke to the Raigad collector about the flood situation on Mahad, an official release said in Mumbai. Rescue teams have begun evacuating stranded people using helicopters, the release said. Thackeray directed the district administration to expedite rescue operations and clearing of roads. The water levels have receded but in hilly areas, roads and bridges have been washed away. Around 2,000 food packets have been distributed to people in Mangaon in Raigad district, the release said. Thackeray has asked the authorities to ensure well-being of Covid patients undergoing treatment in various hospitals, the release Xi on maiden trip to Tibetan town bordering Arunachal Chinese President Xi Jinping has made a rare visit to Nyingchi, a strategically located border town close to Arunachal Pradesh, during his first visit to Tibet, the official media reported on Friday. Xi arrived at the Nyingchi Mainling Airport on Wednesday and was greeted by local people and officials of various ethnic groups, Xinhua news agency reported. He is perhaps the first Chinese leader to visit the town at the India-China border. Xi's politically significant visit was kept under wraps by China's official media till Friday.During his visit to Nyingchi, Xi, visited the Nyang River Bridge to inspect the ecological preservation in the basin of the Brahmaputra river, which is called Yarlung Zangbo in the Tibetan language. China this year has approved plans to build a huge dam over the Brahmaputra river during the current 14th Five-Year Plan, which raised concerns in the riparian states of India and Bangladesh. Nyingchi is a prefecturelevel city in Tibet that is adjacent to the Arunachal Pradesh border.Visittook place amidst the current India-China military tensions in eastern Ladakh. Xi, who also heads the ruling Communist Party of China and the Central Mili- tary Commission ~ is perhaps the first top leader in recent years to visit Tibet's border town. In video footage shared on Chinese social media, he was seen greeting residents in Nyingchi, known as the Switzerland of Tibet.“(As for) the future, the people of all ethnic groups in Tibet will march towards a happy life, I am as confident as you are,” the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post newspaper quoted Xi as saying. After visiting a city planning hall, Xi went to Nyingchi railway station and took the train to Lhasa. He inspected the construction along the railway during the ride, the Xinhua report said. Also on Thursday, Xi went on an inspection tour of Lhasa, the provincial capital of Tibet Autonomous Region. PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 23 JULY said. Landslides took place at Ambeghar and Mirgaon villages during Thursday night, burying a total of eight houses, said Ajay Kumar Bansal, Superintendent of Police, Satara rural. The incidents followed a major landslide in the coastal Raigad district on Thursday evening. Some people have been rescued, the SP said. Due to incessant rains, the roads leading to the two villages are either blocked or inundated, making it difficult to bring heavy machines for rescue work, the SP said. At least 10 persons were feared trapped in a landslide in Ratnagiri district, a senior official said. The official said establishing contact has become difficult due to the poor mobile network and it is posing hurdles in reaching out to the affected people and responding to their SOS calls. Maharashtra minister Uday Samant, who reached Chiplun late Thursday night said, “Water has receded from several parts of Chiplun city now. But it is true that the water level was very high and it had crossed the 2005 deluge mark.” Traffic on the Mumbai-Bengaluru national highway got disrupted on Friday after a stretch of road in Belgaum district of Karnataka got inundated, prompting the police in Kolhapur to stop the vehicles going to the neighbouring state, officials said. An official from the Kolhapur district disaster management cell said the water level of the Panchganga river continues to rise. Kundra row: Cops record Shilpa Shetty’s statement Trinamul Congress MP Santanu Sen was on Friday suspended from the Rajya Sabha for the remaining period of the Monsoon session for snatching and tearing the statement of IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on the Pegasus row,even as Parliament failed to function for the fourth day in a row amidst continued protests from the Opposition parties. The TMC leader's suspension came after a motion moved by the government was passed in the House with voice vote. Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu expressed anguish over frequent disruptions as he made a passionate appeal to members to allow smooth functioning of the House so that more meaningful discussions could take place. The Upper House has not transacted any business this week, except a discussion on the Covid situation and its handling. Soon after the obituary references and laying of papers, minister of state for parliamentary affairs V Muraleedharan moved the motion for Sen’s suspension. After the motion was passed, the Chairman asked Sen to leave the House. However, Sen did not leave, forcing repeated adjournments. According to the rules, no business is transacted in Rajya Sabha if a suspended member continues to be present in the House. The House was finally adjourned for the day without transacting any other business amidst continuing protests by Opposi- TOKYO, 23 JULY The Olympics like no other opened here on Friday sans the customary razzmatazz, the toned-down ceremony showcasing Japan's grandeur, rich culture and heritage while reflecting the sombre mood of a world ravaged by an unrelenting pandemic. Japanese emperor Naruhito was there to inaugurate the Games, a month after voicing concerns over the possible spread of coronavirus during the Olympics, becoming the third member from his family to do the honours. It was ironical that the locals milling around the majestic National Stadium were not allowed entry due to India flag bearers Boxer Mary Kom and Hockey player Manpreet Singh with other athletes at the Oympic Stadium during the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics 2020 on Friday. the ban on crowds, even as visitors, including athletes and dignitaries, from across the world participated in the opening ceremony. Fewer athletes across contingents took part in the ceremony, some to stay focussed on their events on Saturday. International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach, acknowledged that it will be different from the ones in the past. Even as the opening ceremony took place, protestors gathered outside the stadium and made their voices heard, forcing the police to act. Although there were no spectators, there were fireworks and music, from famous Japanese video games, to which each of the competing nations walked in, led by Greece, with host nation Japan entering the stadium last. A total of 19 Indian athletes, including flag-bearers iconic boxer M C Mary Kom and men's hockey team captain Manpreet Singh, besides six officials, participated in the ceremony. “Thanks to @narendramodi and @BJP4India Govt again for suspending me from #Parliament in the most unparliamentary way. But be sure that voice of protest @MamataOfficial ji and @AITCofficial can't be stopped. #BharatiyaJasoosParty Minister @HardeepSPuri might be rewarded for hooliganism.” SANTANU SEN TRINAMUL CONGRESS MP tion parties over the Pegasus row. Referring to the IT minister's statement on the Pegasus spyware issue, Naidu said he had made it clear in the business advisory committee meeting that members may seek clarifications which would have enabled them address their concerns in the matter. “But unfortunately, the proceedings of the House hit a new low with the papers being snatched from the minister and torn into pieces and thrown in the air. Such actions are a clear assault on our parliamentary democracy,” he said in the House. Earlier, TMC members protested when the minister moved the motion with Sukhendu Sekhar Ray raising objection to the manner in which it was brought without listing it in the day's business. Proceedings in the Lok Sabha too were disrupted for nearly the whole day as Opposition members con- Pegasus row: Rahul Gandhi accuses PM of ‘treason’ NEW DELHI, 23 JULY Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah used the Pegasus spyware against India, its institutions and its democracy, and “the only word for this is treason”, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi alleged on Friday. He also said that every phone he uses is tapped. He demanded a Supreme Court monitored probe into the matter and also the home minister's resignation. “ The prime minister and the home minister have used this weapon against the Indian state and our institutions. They have used it politically, they have used it in Karnataka..,” Gandhi said. Pak voices ‘serious s c o n c e r n ’: Pakistan : voiced ‘serious concern’ over media reports about India allegedly eavesdropping on foreigners, including Prime Minister Imran Khan, using Israeli spyware Pegasus and urged the UN to thoroughly investigate the matter. PTI tinued to raise slogans against the government on various issues, including the Pegasus snooping row and demanding a rollback of the farm laws. ‘No fixed timeline for completion of anti-Covid vaccination drive’ STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 23 JULY MUMBAI, 23 JULY After arresting her husband and businessman Raj Kundra in a case of alleged production and distribution of pornographic films through apps, Mumbai Police on Friday recorded the statement of Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty, an official said. Shetty's statement was recorded at her house in Juhu, he said. The crime branch of Mumbai Police also conducted a search of the house and seized a laptop, the official added. As Shetty was a director of Viaan Industries, Kundra's firm, the police decided to question her, he said, adding that she had later resigned from the post. Earlier in the day, a court extended Kundra's police PTI custody till July 27. P12 Trinamul MP suspended, Parl functioning hit again The Centre on Friday said that no fixed timeline can be indicated at present for the completion of the vaccination drive even as India logged 35,342 cases of Covid and 483 deaths.The country now has 4,05,513 active cases and has witnessed a total of 4,19,470 deaths so far, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare data showed. The government, in a statement in Parliament, said it is expected that beneficiaries aged 18 years and above will be vaccinated by December 2021. According to health ministry data, a total of 42,34,17,030 vaccine doses have been administered in India, including 54,76,423 in the last 24 hours. Covid-hit Tokyo Olympics open sans customary razzle dazzle PRESS TRUST OF INDIA SINDHU SPEARHEADS INDIA'S QUEST FOR BADMINTON GOLD P11 PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Min: 64% HC quashes UP cops’ notice to Twitter India MD over video P7 No immediate relief appears in sight; IMD issues a red alert for 6 districts TEMPERATURE Max: 34.8°C (0) SUN RISES 05:39 hrs MOON RISES 19:52 hrs TO REACH A PEACE DEAL, TALIBAN SAY, GHANI MUST GO The show began with a video of geometric shapes drawn on a blackboard in chalk. A hand-drawn animation set them into motion, and the shapes gradually turned into the National Stadium. With the Games being held in the wake of an unprecedented health crisis that tested the world, the strength of the athletes is portrayed in a video that counts down the final moments until the start of the ceremony. With a moment of silence, the ceremony then remembered all the people who lost their lives during the pandemic, members of the Israeli delegation killed during the 1972 massacre, the 2011 earthquake, Tsunami and the nuclear disaster. MORE REPORTS ON PAGE 12 In the Lok Sabha, minister of state for health and family welfare Bharati Pravin Pawar, in a written response to questions from Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and Trinamul Congress’ Mala Roy, said that in view of the dynamic and evolving nature of the pandemic, “no fixed timeline at present can be indicated for the completion of vaccination drive”. Pawar said, “Between August to December 2021, a total 135 crore doses of vaccine are expected to be available.” Delhi logs 58 new Covid cases: The national capital on Friday reported 58 fresh Covid cases and one fatality, according to the latest health bulletin issued by the Delhi government. The fresh cases of Covid-19 take the caseload to 14, 35,778 while the cumulative count of the Covid-19-caused deaths (SEE P2) rose to 25,041. 3,12,93,062 4,05,513 35,342 38,740 4,19,470 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. FRIDAY, 23 JULY 2021 J&K: Cop shoots down Pak drone carrying IED material STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE JAMMU, 23 JULY The Jammu and Kashmir Police foiled a major terror strike in Jammu by shooting down a Pakistani drone (Hexacopter) carrying a 5-kilogram ready to explode Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in the Akhnoor Sector along the IB near Jammu on Friday. The Additional Director General of Police (Jammu Range) Mukesh Singh said the Jammu Police has achieved great success by shooting down the Pakistani drone in the wee hours around 1 am as the hexacopter was part of conspiracy to carry out explosions around the Indepen- The six-winged Hexacopter was 6 feet in diameter and the IED was wrapped properly with the drone that was assembled with parts made in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan dence Day. The six-winged Hexacopter was 6 feet in diameter and the IED was wrapped properly with the drone that was assembled with parts made in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. It was supposed to be picked up the JeM contact, but before that, we shot it down, said the ADGP. “The drone was containing a payload of 5 kg weight IED and it was packed.”
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