TUESDAY www.thestatesman.com 07 DECEMBER 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 Mainly clear sky. Shallow fog in the morning. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 24 and 12 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: 000.8 Mm RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max: 95% P5 Min: 15.0°C (+6) SUN SETS 17:25 hrs MOON SETS 20:39 hrs STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE THUMBNAILS Mehbooba Mufti, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, during a protest, at Jantar Mantar, SUBRATA DUTTA in the Capital on Monday. Lateral entry: The Centre has approved appointment of 38 candidates, including 10 for the post of Joint Secretary, through the lateral entry process. On the basis of the online application forms submitted by the candidates, the Union Public Service Commission shortlisted 231 candidates for the interviews. ‘Maitri Diwas': As India and Bangladesh celebrated the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said that both countries will cooperate increasingly in the digital space. The Foreign Secretary also said that the healthcare sector has always been an important area of bilateral engagement between India and Bangladesh. T he meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin for the 21st IndiaRussia Annual Summit began at the Hyderabad House here on Monday. This is the first inperson between them since they met on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in 2019 in Brasilia. There have been six telephonic conversations between the two leaders since then apart from the virtual meetings that they’ve attended for multilateral summits. Modi and Putin made a strong pitch for a “secured and stable Afghanistan” that will have “an inclusive government with all sections of society”. In his remarks Modi said : “We are adopting a long-term vision to strengthen our partnership in economic affairs”. By 2025, Modi said, “We have set a target of trade worth $30 billion and investment worth $50 billion.” “There were excellent discussions between the two leaders. As many as 28 agreements/MoUs were concluded during this visit,” India’s foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said. Putin on Monday said India, Russia ink four defence pacts Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets Russian President Vladimir Putin before a meeting at Hyderabad House, in New Delhi on Monday. SUBRATA DUTTA his country is “concerned” about Afghan situation and it also considers that fight against drug is as vital as the global war to crush terrorism. “We are concerned about everything that has to do with terrorism. Fight against terrorism is also fight against drug trafficking and organized crime," Putin said in presence of Modi before the summit talks. Thus, his country remains concerned about the “developments of situation in Afghanistan”. Putin said Russia regards India “as a great power and a friendly nation”. “The relations between our nations are growing and I am looking into the future,” he said. The same spirt was shared by PM Modi while making opening remarks before the summit meet. “Both countries have not only helped each other without any hesitation but have also taken care of each others’ sensitivities. This is really a unique and trustworthy model of intrusted friendship,” Modi said. He said that various fundamental changes had occurred at the global level in the last few decades and multiple new geopolitical equations have emerged but despite these variables, the friendship between the two countries has been constant. “Today, the first 2+2 dialogue was convened among our foreign and defence ministers. The dialogue has begun a new mechanism to increase our practical cooperation. We have also been regularly in touch on Afghanistan and other regional issues,” Modi said. “The regional partnership that began from Eastern Economic Forum and Vladivostok summit today is turning into real assistance between Indian states and Russian Far East,” he added. The joint statement said, both sides “intend to focus particularly on increasing the effectiveness of countering terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking, cross-border organized crime, and information security threats”. NEW DELHI, 6 DECEMBER Union home minister Amit Shah today told Parliament that the Centre was keeping a close watch on the “evolving situation” in Mon district of Nagaland, where innocent civilians taken for insurgents were killed by the Army in an ambush last Saturday evening. In a statement to both Houses, he said the Army ambush was a case of mistaken identity. The Army’s HQ 3 Corps had deeply regretted the incident and its aftermath which resulted in the unfortunate killing of the civilians, he said. The Army had mentioned that “the cause of the unfortunate loss of lives is being investigated at the highest level and appropriate action will be taken as per law,” Shah said. A Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been formed and asked to submit the report within a month, he said. On receiving news of the incident, Shah said he immediately got in touch with the governor and the chief minister of Nagaland as MHA got in touch with the chief secretary and the DGP and monitored the situation throughout the day yesterday. MHA also deputed additional secretary, in-charge of north-east to Kohima wherein he held a meeting with chief secretary and other senior officers of Nagaland and senior officers of the paramilitary forces today morning, he added. All agencies have been asked to ensure no recurrence of such unfortunate MUMBAI/BHUBANESWAR, 6 DECEMBER NEW DELHI, 6 DECEMBER Giving an impetus to their time-tested defence partnership, India and Russia today signed an agreement for joint production of over six lakh AK-203 assault rifles at a manufacturing facility in Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi. The two countries also finalised another accord on military cooperation for 10 years. The rifles will be manufactured for the Indian armed forces at a cost of around Rs 5,000 crore. The agreements were signed at the 20th meeting of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military and Military-Technical Cooperation (IRIGCM&MTC). The meeting, co-chaired by defence minister Rajnath Singh and his Russian counterpart Gen Sergey Shoigu, coincided with the annual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimri Putin. The two sides also discussed ways to further boost strategic cooperation including ramping up joint production of military equipment. The two countries signed a pact on amending the agreement on cooperation in the field of manufacturing of the Kalashnikov series of small arms that was originally sealed in February 2019. Another agreement was signed on the protocol of the 20th IRIGC-M&MTC, sources said. The most important of the four agreements was the pact on manufacturing of 6,01,427 AK-203 assault rifles (7.63x39mm) through an Indo-Russia Rifles Private Limited (IRPL). The 10-year pact on military cooperation is a renewal of an existing framework. In his opening remarks at the meeting, Singh termed Russia as India’s long-standing special and privileged strategic partner, and said that the relations were “timetested” and based on common interests in multilateralism, global peace and prosperity, mutual understanding and trust. The ‘2 +2’ Dialogue between defence ministers and Foreign Ministers of India and Russia was held here on Monday. In his opening remarks before a bilateral engagement with Russian Foreign Minister Serge Lavrov, India’s external affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar said: “Our partnership is indeed very special, it is very unique. And we are very conscious that in a world of rapid geo-political changes it has in fact been remarkably steady and strong. I would also like to take the opportunity to underline that we are very satisfied with our bilateral relations and state of our cooperation”. In his opening remarks for the ‘2+2’ dialogue, Jaishankar said, “Our discussions today will address the emergence of multipolarity and rebalancing. We too look at the consequences of over centralized globalization. The pandemic has raised questions about current model of global affairs”. incident in future, he said. “During the ambush, a vehicle approached the location and it was signaled to stop. However, the vehicle tried to flee, following which the vehicle, suspected of carrying insurgents, was fired upon resulting in killing of six of the eight persons travelling in the vehicle,” the statement said. “However, it turned out to be a case of mistaken identity. The two persons who sustained injuries were evacuated to medical facilities by the Army personnel,” he said. Receiving the news, local villagers surrounded the Army team, burnt two vehicles and assaulted them resulting in death of one security force personnel and injuries to several others, the Minister said. He said to disperse the crowd, security forces opened fire which resulted in killing of seven more civilians and injuries to some others. The local administration and police have since tried to defuse the situation, which remains tense but under control. Subsequently, yesterday evening, a mob of approximately 250 tried to ransack the Company Operating Base (CoB) of Assam Rifles at Mon town. The mob burnt buildings of the CoB following which 2 more Omicron cases in Maha, India’s tally 23 SNOW-CLAD SNS/AGENCIES ASHOK TUTEJA & NIRENDRA DEV P12 Naga mayhem: Shah says SIT formed, ‘mistaken identity’ Modi hails strong India-Russia ties R STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 6 DECEMBER Min: 52% KOHLI BACKS RAHANE P9 Putin says Russia regards India ‘as a great power & friendly nation’ TEMPERATURE Max: 24.8°C (+1) SUN RISES 07:02 hrs MOON RISES 11:03 hrs SUU KYI GETS FOUR YEARS’ JAIL CAPTAIN CAN CAUSE NO DAMAGE TO CONG IN POLLS, SAYS CHANNI CHINA FACES PUSHBACK ON BRI INITIATIVES Snow and hoar-frost cover trees at Gulmarg in Kashmir. IANS Two more cases of Omicron variant have been reported in Mumbai on Monday, taking the total tally of the new variant in Maharashtra to 10 and the total number of infections in the country to 23. A 37-year-old man who arrived in Mumbai from South Africa and his 36-yearold female friend who landed in the city from the United States have both tested positive for Omicron. As per the Maharashtra government, both the patients displayed no symptoms and were vaccinated with Pfizer vaccine. Until now, five high-risk and 315 low-risk contacts of the patients have been traced. Further tracing is currently underway, the state government said. In Odisha, 246 samples of returnees from at-risk countries were sent to the Institute of Life Sciences (ILS), Bhubaneswar for genome sequencing, an official said on Monday. “We have received 246 samples of the foreign returnees from different districts for genome sequencing to ascertain the presence of Omicron variant. All these persons were found Covid positive. The results will be known in the next two or three days,” said director, ILS, Ajay Parida. Earlier, 141 samples from foreign returnees for genome sequencing had shown zero cases of Omicron variant. India registers 8,306 fresh cases, 211 deaths SNS & AGENCIES KARNATAKA/NEW DELHI /KOLKATA, 6 DECEMBER India registered 8,306 new cases and 211 deaths in the last 24 hours, the Union health ministry said on Monday. The cumulative toll now stands at 4,73,537. Total recoveries reached 3,40,69,608 after 8,834 patients recovered in the last 24 hours. Active caseload stands at 98,416. With the administration of 24,55,911 doses in the last 24 hours, inoculation coverage reached 127.93 crore as of Monday morning. Karnataka surge: With 32 new cases in Chikkamagaluru’s Jawahar Navodaya School reported on Monday, the total tally in the school went up to 101, said the district health officer. Dr Umesh, Chikkamagaluru district health officer, said, “The Covid-19 positive 3,46,41,561 98,416 8,306 8,834 4,73,537 UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. MONDAY 06 NOVEMBER 2021 cases touched 101. Of the 101 cases, 90 are students and 11 staff. The samples will be sent for genome sequencing.” In a bid to curb the transmission of the infection, Kar- nataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai has announced that any area with three or more cases will be classified as a cluster. Karnataka’s 16 districts have seen a rise in the number of new cases in the first week of December. As many as 500 students have tested positive in the recent past, causing a major worry for the authorities. Sources in the health department said that if the same trend continued then restrictions may be put during the NewYear and Christmas celebrations. According to the health and family welfare department, Kodagu, Haveri, Chikkaballapura, Mandya, Mysuru, Davanagere and Uttara Kannada districts recorded higher numbers of Covid cases. But, the Covid cases are rising in all districts where the situation was under total control, and the increase is four-fold. There is a 25 per cent spike in the cases in the last 15 days according to the statistics available with the health department. Shivamogga and Koppal districts have seen a fourfold spike. The Covid cases rose to 1,167 from 995 in Bengaluru Urban in the same period. Sources in the health department said that Bommai has stated that he has stated that an appropriate decision will be taken in the coming days after analysing the situation in the state. The Russian Direct Investment Fund has said that it strives to expand the partnership between Russia and India in the fight against Covid by providing the oneshot Sputnik Light vaccine and Sputnik M vaccine (for adolescents). Bengal: West Bengal today registered 465 fresh cases and 9 deaths. Kolkata recorded 154 cases and 4 death. Covid ex-gratia: The Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the Maharashtra and West Bengal governments for an abysmally low number of applications for compensation of Rs 50,000 ex-gratia to next of kin of Covid victims. A bench of Justices M.R. Shah and B V Nagarathna told the Maharashtra government counsel that over one lakh deaths occurred in the state, and there is such a low number of applications from families for compensation. “This is ridiculous... we may have to pass strictures against you,” the bench warned during the hearing. The bench also queried the Bengal government counsel on the disbursement of compensation to Covid victim families, saying that over 19,000 deaths due to Covid occurred and the state government has given compensation to 110. The bench asked both states to file their compliance affidavit by 15 December. PM holds meeting with top ministers in Parliament Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday held a meeting with the top ministers in the Parliament over the Nagaland firing incident and the government’s strategy in both Houses, the sources said. Congress MPs Manickam Tagore and Manish Tewari have given adjournment motion notices in Lok Sabha over the matter, while Rajya Sabha MP Manoj Jha gave suspension of business notice “to discuss the matters related to the killing of innocent civilians in Nagaland”. ANI Meghalaya CM demands AFSPA removal Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma, on Monday demanded the removal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from the northeast. “AFSPA should be repealed,” tweeted SangANI ma. troops had to open fire to disperse the mob, Shah said. As a result, one civilian was killed while another was injured. He said necessary measures are being taken as per requirement to ensure peace and tranquility in the region. The state authorities, as a precautionary measure, have promulgated prohibitory orders in the affected areas.” “The Government of India sincerely regrets this unfortunate incident in Nagaland and expresses its deepest condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives,” Shah said. SC restrains Maha police from filing chargesheet against Param Bir STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 6 DECEMBER The Supreme Court on Monday restrained the Maharashtra Police from filing chargesheet in all the FIRs registered against former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh, but allowed the investigation to proceed. The top court observed that prima facie it is of the view that the probe against Singh should be done by another agency and not by the state police. A bench headed by Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M M Sundresh sought CBI’s view in connection with taking up the investigation in the FIRs registered by the Maharashtra Police against Singh over allegations of misconduct and corruption. Senior advocate Puneet Bali, representing Singh, contended that the Maharashtra government and the DGP have filed responses, but the CBI is yet to file a response. The bench asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that could the CBI take up this matter as it is already looking into the other aspects? In a written response, the Maharashtra government has told that there is no need for a CBI probe into the cases as these are service matters and Singh is also not a whistleblower. The top court directed the state police to continue its probe, but restrained it from filing a chargesheet in the matter. The bench said: “Since the petitioner has joined the investigation, let the probe continue but no challan be issued.” It also directed the CBI to file its affidavit within a week and the will be heard next on 11 January. SC had earlier granted protection from arrest to Singh which will continue.
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