WEDNESDAY www.thestatesman.com 11 MAY 2022 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 12 |` 5.00|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR ‘TAMIL NADU WAS THE OLDEST IRON AGE SITE IN INDIA’ UK QUEEN PULLS OUT OF PARLIAMENT OPENING SPEECH P10 WEATHER MAINLY CLEAR SKY. THE MAXIMUM AND MINIMUM TEMPERATURES WOULD BE AROUND 40 AND 28 DEGREES CELSIUS RESPECTIVELY. ‘THERE SHOULD BE ZERO TOLERANCE FOR ROAD ACCIDENTS’ P4 P8 SC proposes keeping sedition law in abeyance till review Top court seeks Centre’s response till Wednesday RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY SNS & AGENCIES Max: 64% NEW DELHI, 10 MAY Min:38% TEMPERATURE Max: 39.5°C (0) SUN RISES 05:33 hrs MOON RISES 14:08 hrs Min: 28.0°C (+3) SUN SETS 19:02 hrs MOON SETS 03:04 hrs THUMBNAILS Kids take guard against the Sun while returning SNS from school, in the Capital, on Tuesday. Army chief receives PVSM from Prez: Gen Manoj Pande, Chief of the Army Staff, received the Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM) from President Ram Nath Kovind at the defence investiture ceremony held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Kovind, who is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, conferred 13 Shaurya Chakras, including six posthumous, to the defence personnel at the glittering ceremony, attended by VP Naidu, PM Modi, Defence MinisIANS ter Rajnath Singh, among others. CBI raids on NGOs: Ten people, including five government officials, have been arrested for taking bribes on behalf of non-profits for allegedly facilitating violations of rules in receiving foreign donations, sources in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said Monday after a big nationwide crackdown across 40 locations. The Home Ministry officials, say CBI sources, gave illegal Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) clearances to Non-Governmental Organisation or NGOs in exchange of bribes. 3 months to discuss on minority status to Hindus: SC T he Supreme Court on Tuesday gave 24 hours to the Centre to consider, whether the operation of the sedition provision, Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code, could be kept in abeyance till the process of its review is over. A bench, headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta: "We will give you time till tomorrow morning to take instructions from the government." The bench, also comprising Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, emphasized that its main concern is pending cases, and how the government will take care of future cases. "Section 124A, as well as future cases can be kept in abeyance till reconsideration takes place," said the bench, asking Mehta to come back to it on Wednesday after taking instructions from the government. The bench observed: "The question is at the ground level, the police and authorities (are using the law). Can a direction be issued, we are re-examining, do not use Section 124A?" The Chief Justice told Mehta the court is giving time till Wednesday to take instructions on what will happen in pending cases, and how will the government take care of future cases. "The main contention, meanwhile, is to protect the interest of people," noted the bench. In an affidavit, the Ministry of Home Affairs has told the Supreme Court that in spirit of Azadi Ka Amrit NEW DELHI, 10 MAY Mahotsav and the Prime Minister's unequivocal views in favour of protection of civil liberties and to shed colonial baggage, the government has decided to reexamine and re-consider the sedition law. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing one of the petitioners, contended that the exercise of the top court cannot be stopped merely because the legislature will take time to reconsider. He added that it was for the judiciary to examine the constitutionality of the law. At this, the bench queried Mehta: "How long will you take for reconsideration." As the petitioners' lawyer objected to Centre's affidavit, the bench clarified that it is keeping the matter pending and not disposing of. Citing the Home Ministry's affidavit, the Chief Justice said it says the Prime Minister is cognisant and has often spoken about civil liberties and human rights and diversity of thoughts, and also outdated laws being scrapped. "They say, they are examining... we should not appear unreasonable," noted the bench. However, it queried ‘NEED TO EXECUTE OUR PLANS CONSISTENTLY’ Mehta how will the government protect the people, and pointed out at people against whom cases are pending. As Mehta said FIRs under the sedition law were lodged by the state governments, not the Centre, the bench said: "Why don't you issue a directive (to states) to keep the matter in abeyance?" Mehta replied: "We cannot say what will happen in future.... There has been no history where a penal law has been prevented from being used." He cited judgments where the apex court advised the government not to be trigger happy about sedition FIRs. However, Justice Kohli persisted: "Why can't the Centre issue a communication to states?" The bench also queried: "Can someone stay in jail for months? Your affidavit says civil liberties... How will you protect those liberties?" Senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayan, representing one of the petitioners, said it was becoming a "pattern" with the government to seek more time to delay important cases. The bench, citing Supreme Court today granted the Centre three months time to hold consultations with various state governments on the issue of granting minority status of Hindus in states where they are outnumbered by other communities. "You hold consultations with various state governments on the issue and apprise us in it," a bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said. The Top Court said that the Govt was "not able to decide what it wants to do." It also said that all this thought should have been SNS given before. Attorney General K.K. Venugopal's submissions on the misuse of sedition law over the recitation of 'Hanuman Chalisa', added that modification of law takes time, and in the meanwhile, the Centre can issue a directive to states to keep the sedition law in abeyance. The MHA, in its affidavit, said the Prime Minister has been cognizant of various views expressed on the subject and has also periodically, in various forums, expressed his clear and unequivocal views in favour of protection of civil liberties, respect for human rights, and giving to the constitutionally cherished freedoms to the people of the country. P12 Mohali attack: Intel agencies on high alert, Punjab CM seeks report from DGP STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 10 MAY The Central intelligence agencies like The Intelligence Bureau, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), The National Investigation Agency (NIA), Military Intelligence (MI), National Technical Research Organisation and the Intelligence Wing of the Border Security Force (BSF) have swung into action after the attack on Punjab Police's intelligence headquarters in Mohali on Monday night and the agencies are gathering more information in this case. Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Tuesday sought a report from the Director-General of Police (DGP) and intelligence officers over last night's explosion in Mohali, stating that strict punishment will be given to the culprits. He held a meeting with DGP and other officers into the matter at his residence and sought a report on the course of action taken so far."Those who are trying to ruin Punjab's atmosphere won't be spared. I sought a report from DGP and other intelligence officers. Strict punishment will be given. Things will be more clear by evening. Probe on," said the Punjab Chief Minister after the meeting. Sources in the Intel network said the Central Intel wings consider it as an act of terror and the responsible group has tried to convey a message by attacking the police building, this could be a handiwork of the Pakistan supported Khalistani elements hiding in the neighbouring country.They also said that the Punjab intelligence wing reportedly received two threatening letters from a commander of the Pakistan-based Jaishe-Mohammad indicating a major attack on railway stations, bridges, places of worship and other major installations, and political leaders in the state. A senior official in the intelligence grid said that the grenades were lobbed on the security forces earlier also, but using Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) to target police forces is more worrisome for the security forces. The Intel sources also said that the arrested four Khalistani terrorists from Haryana's Karnal on May 5 had admitted that the weapons and explosives were transported from Pakistan through drones. The RPG might have been carried out to Punjab from the neighbouring country, they added. They also said that the Maoists are using improvised Under Barrel Grenade The Intelligence wings are also scanning the links with the recent posters and graffiti by the Khalistani element on the Himachal's Vidhan Sabha boundary wall. Bagga gets reprieve from Punjab & Haryana HC SNS & AGENCIES CHANDIGARH, 10 MAY In a major reprieve to BJP leader Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday ordered continuation of his interim protection. But Justice Anoop Chitkara questioned Punjab on filing of a habeas corpus plea in the case. The case will come up for final hearing on July 5 after the summer break. Additional Solicitor General Satya Pal Jain refuted the allegations of illegal detention and said not even a single officer was detained.An affidavit in this regard has already been filed by the Delhi Police.The High Court last week stayed the arrest of Bagga and directed the Punjab government to not take any coercive action against him until the next hearing which was scheduled for May 10. The BJP leader moved the High Court while chal- lenging a non-bailable arrest warrant issued against him by a Mohali Court on May 7. The Punjab government, in its habeas plea, had moved two applications: one for making the Centre a party to the case and the second for direction to Delhi and Haryana Police to preserve the CCTV cameras. The state had filed the habeas corpus petition against the Haryana government, alleging that 12 Punjab Police officers involved in the arrest of Bagga have been detained by Haryana police in Kurukshetra. Over 3 cr Covid vax doses administered to 12-14 age group SL’s fleeing ex-PM, family take refuge at naval base SNS & AGENCIES SNS & AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 10 MAY Over three crore children in the age group of 12-14 years have been administered the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Tuesday. The vaccination for children between the 12-14 age group started on March 16 with Biological E's intramuscular vaccine Corbevax, which is administered to the beneficiaries in an interval of 28 days. "Children are making a significant contribution to the vaccination campaign! Over 3 crore youngsters between 12-14 age group have received 1st dose of COVID19 vaccine. Congratulations to all my young friends who got vaccinated," Mandaviya said in a tweet.According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, India's COVID-19 vaccination coverage has crossed 190.48 Crore (1,90,48,54,263) on Monday. So far 3,06,69,820 children between the 12-14 age group have been administered the first dose of the vaccine while 1,02,00,272 have received the second dose.In the age group of 15-18 years, 5,87,70,428 first doses of the vaccine have been administered, and 4,33,08,651 second doses. The countrywide vaccination drive began on January 16 last year with healthcare workers getting inoculated in the first phase.Vaccination of frontline workers started from February 2, 2021. The next phase of COVID-19 vaccination commenced on March 1 last year for people over 60 years of age and those aged 45 and above with specific comorbid conditions. India sees a dip in Covid cases:Showing a slight dip after days, India reported 2288 fresh Covid cases in the last 24 hours, stated the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Monday. With this, India’s active caseload now stands at 19,637 with active cases now constituting 0.05% of the country's total positive cases. As per the data shared by the ministry, India’s recovery rate stands at 98.74% with 3044 patients having recovered in the last 24 hours taking the cumulative tally of recovered patients to 4,25,63,949. While the weekly positivity rate in the country currently stands at 0.79 percent, the daily positivity rate stands at 0.47 percent. Santoor maestro Shivkumar Sharma passes away at 84 AGENCIES MUMBAI, 10 MAY The santoor maestro and music composer, Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, passed away after a cardiac arrest at the age of 84 in Mumbai on Tuesday, May 10. He had been suffering from kidney-related ailments for the last six months and was on dialysis. The Jammu-born musician, who elevated the santoor, once a little-known musical instrument from Jammu and Kashmir, to its present exalted global status, will also be remembered for the music he composed with the flute legend, Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia, for films such as 'Silsila', 'Lamhe', 'Chandni' and 'Darr'. He is survived by wife 1938-2022 Manorama and two sons, one of whom, Rahul Sharma, is also an accomplished santoor player. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee have mourned the death of santoor maestro Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, who passed away aged 84 after a cardiac arrest here on May 10. "Our cultural world is poorer with the demise of Pandit Shivkumar Sharma Ji. He popularised the santoor at a global level. His music will continue to enthral the coming generations. I fondly remember my interactions with him. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti," the Prime Minister tweeted. West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee said the maestro's death had impoverished our cultural world. "Sad to know about the demise of Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, eminent Santoor player and internationally celebrated Indian music composer. His departure impoverishes our cultural world. My deepest condolences," (SEE PAGE 3) Mamata said. FACT FILE TOTAL CASES 4,31,07,689 ACTIVE CASES 19,637 NEW CASES 2,288 3,044 5,24,103 NEW RECOVERIES TOTAL DEATHS UNION HEALTH MINISTRY FIGURES AS OF 8.00 A.M. TUESDAY 10 MAY 2022 Delhi registered 1,118 fresh Covid cases and one death India supports democracy, economic recovery in SL NEW DELHI, 10 MAY In the wake of the widespread violence in Sri Lanka that left five people dead, former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family on Tuesday took refuge at a naval base in Trincomalee after leaving Colombo under heavy security. Rajapaksa, his wife Shiranthi, and their youngest son Rohitha and his family, left the Prime Minister's official residence, Temple Trees, early Tuesday morning on board an Air Force helicopter and have now taken refuge at the heavily guarded naval base, an informed military source said. Reports have also revealed that Rajapaksa's second son, Yositha, who was also the NEW DELHI, 10 MAY former Prime Minister's Secretary, and his family had left the country on Monday. Following Rajapaksa's resignation on Monday and the ensuing violence started by the pro-government protesters, the anti-government denonstrators surrounded Temple Trees and tried to forcibly enter the premises.Military were rushed to his protection and the police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse the violent mob.In retaliation, the protesters torched vehicles parked outside the residence house and the military resorted to shooting in the air. At least five people, including an MP, were killed and over 200 others injured as a result of the violence. In the wake of the protests, the cabinet resigned but Mahinda Amid a wave of violence in Sri Lanka in the wake of an unprecedented economic crisis, India today said it was fully supportive of the democracy, stability and economic recovery of the island nation as its close neighbour. ''India will always be guided by the best interests of the people of Sri Lanka expressed through democratic processes,” MEA spokesperson said.SNS Faulty BMC step leads to fish dying at Bagh Munshi lake GAURAV CHANDRA BHOPAL, 10 MAY Not paying attention to the needs of our delicate ecosystem, officials of the Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) blindly followed the directives of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to stop the inflow of sewage-mixed water into a small lake in Bhopal, but that action backfired and resulted in the death of lakhs of fish in the waterbody in just two days. The Bagh Munshi Husain Khan lake in the old city area of Bhopal is a breeding haven for fish. It is also one of the several waterbodies inside the city, where the BMC gives permission on a large scale for fishing and the contractors, who get the fishing permit also breed fish in a large numbers in the lake. Two days ago, lakhs of dead fish were found floating on the surface. The stench of dead fish became unbearable for the residents and the fishing contractor also informed the BMC authorities. Sources alleged that the fish died because the BMC officials stopped the flow of water, which is mixed with sewage from neighbouring colonies, from entering into the Bagh Munshi Husain Khan lake. The BMC action was in implementation of the instructions from the NGT to prevent sewage inflow to waterbodies. However, experts suggest that the BMC’s action was not only unscientific but also irresponsible, as the entire water flow was stopped instead of treating the sewage-mixed water and allowing only the clean water to flow into the lake. The BMC action allegedly resulted in the level of dissolved oxygen (DO) falling to a fatally low for the fishes. Environmental experts said that the DO level must be around at least 4.5 milligram per litre for the fish to survive in such a lake.However, the tests conducted on the water of the lake after the death of the fish suggest that the DO level had gone down to almost zero. “Fish have died in the Bagh Munshi Husain Khan lake. We have ordered an inquiry into the incident,” BMC lake conservation and sewage management cell executive engineer (EE) Santosh Gupta told The Statesman today. “We had received directives from the NGT and the Pollution Control Board to prevent the inflow of sewagemixed water into the waterbodies and lakes. In compliance with those instructions, we had stopped the flow of such water into the Bagh Munshi Husain Khan lake,” Gupta said. The main source of water flow into the lake is through the overflow from the highest lake, the Motia Talab, which comes down into the second lake, the Siddique Hasan Talab, and finally from there it flows down into the Bagh Munshi Husain Khan lake. As the BMC stopped the inflow of sewage-mixed water into the two higher lakes, their overflow automatically stopped. That resulted in almost no water reaching the Bagh Munshi Husain Khan lake. Consequently, the water of the lake dried up completely in the past few months of excessive heat. That possibly caused the drop in DO level and resulted in the death of lakhs of fish.As per the claims of the state government and the BMC, crores of rupees have been spent to set up Sewage Treatment Plants (STP) in Bhopal with the aim of keeping the water in lakes and waterbodies clean and free from sewage. However, the recent death of lakhs of fish in the Bagh Munshi Husain Khan lake has come as a stark contradiction to all such claims.
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