FRIDAY 24 MARCH 2023 Pages 12 |` 5.00|LC www.thestatesman.com KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR TRUMP LAWYER TOLD TO TURN OVER MAR-A-LAGO CASE DOCUMENTS KCR SNUBS CENTRE ON CROP DAMAGE P4 WEATHER GENERALLY CLOUDY SKY. THUNDERSTORM WITH LIGHT RAIN ACCOMPANIED WITH GUSTY WINDS (SPEED 30-40 KMPH). RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max. 92% Max: 30.5°C (-2) SUN RISES 06:20 hrs MOON RISES 08:32 hrs P11 Min: 14.8°C (-3) SUN SETS 18:34 hrs MOON SETS 21:27 hrs THUMBNAILS Jama Masjid seen illuminated on the eve of Ramadan, in Delhi on Thursday. ANI Opposition parties raise concerns over EVM use in electoral process: The opposition parties held a meeting at NCP chief Sharad Pawar's residence in the national capital in which the parties decided to seek answers from the Election Commission of India regarding the efficacy of Remote Electronic Voting Machine in the elections. Leaders of various political parties participated in the meeting convened by Pawar including Congress MP Digvijaya Singh, Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal, and Samajwadi Party MP Ram Gopal Yadav, SP leader Praful Patel, CPI leader D Raja, BRS leader Keshava Rao, CPIM leader Elamaram Kareem among others. Rahul gets 2 yrs’ jail in Modi surname defamation case STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE AHMEDABAD, 23 MARCH Rahul Gandhi was con- victed under Sections 499 and 500 of the IPC C ongress leader Rahul Gandhi was today sentenced to two years’ simple imprisonment by a court in Surat in a 2019 criminal defamation case filed by a BJP MLA.Mr Gandhi was convicted under Sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code. The Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate H H Varma sentenced him to two years in jail and also imposed a fine of Rs 15,000 after finding him guilty; however, on Mr Gandhi's plea, his sentence has been suspended and bail has been granted to enable him to move an appeal in a higher court within 30 days.The case pertains to Mr Gandhi’s remarks in a rally in Karnataka ahead of the 2019 The case pertains to Gand- hi’s remarks in a rally in Karnataka ahead of the 2019 LS elections He has 30 days to appeal against the jail sentence Lok Sabha elections when he had mocked Prime Minister Narendra Modi by wondering aloud: “why do all thieves have a common surname...?” Surat’s BJP MLA and former Gujarat minister Purnesh Modi had filed the criminal defamation case in a Surat court. The Congress leader did not tender any apology and decided to defend himself in the Surat court during the four years of staggered hearings. Mr STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 23 MARCH In a sharp reaction to a statement made by Rahul Gandhi after his conviction by a Gujarat court in a 2019 defamation case, the BJP on Thursday asked: “Does the Congress leader believe in truth and non-vio- STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 23 MARCH Nadda appoints new BJP chiefs in four states STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 21 MARCH In a reshuffle in the party setup as part of preparations for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, BJP president J P Nadda today appointed new state party chiefs for Rajasthan, Bihar, Odisha and Delhi. Lok Sabha MP C P Joshi and MLC Samrat Choudhary were named as the chiefs of the Rajasthan and Bihar BJP units respectively.Manmohan Samal, a former state minister, has been appointed as the party’s Odisha unit president, the BJP announced. Delhi BJP working president Virendra Sachdeva was confirmed as the new state unit chief.In Rajasthan, Mr Joshi replaces Satish Poonia, who is an MLA from Jaipur’sAmber constituency. Mr Samal replaces Samir Mohanty as the state party chief in Odisha. Gandhi was present the court to hear the verdict personally. Though Members of Parliament are supposed to be disqualified from their membership in the event of conviction for two years or more, Mr Gandhi would continue to be an MP till his appeal is decided by the higher court.Soon after his conviction by the Gujarat court, Mr Gandhi on Thursday, quoting Mahatma Gandhi, said his reli- gion was based on truth and non-violence. “Truth is my God, nonviolence the means to get it- Mahatma Gandhi,” the Congress MP said in a tweet.In her reaction to the development, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said that her brother (Rahul Gandhi) lived speaking the truth and would continue to speak the truth.Congress president and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said that the party will fight the judgment as per law. “He has been granted bail. We knew from the beginning because they kept changing judges. We believe in law, judiciary and we will fight against this as per law," Mr Kharge told a news agency. Rajasthan chief minister and senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot, reacting to the court order, said: “We keep saying our democracy is in danger as there is pressure on the judiciary, ECI, ED and they're all misused. All decisions are made under influence. Such comments are common. Rahul Gandhi is a courageous man and only he can compete with the NDA govt.”Congress Rajya Sabha MP Jairam Ramesh in a tweet said that Mr Gandhi was being punished for speaking the truth and raising his voice against the dictator."There is an attempt to suppress the media, there is an attempt to influence the judiciary and they are taking action against the people of different political parties at this level,” Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel said. BJP questions Rahul’s belief in truth & non-violence lence?"The Surat District Court on Thursday sentenced Congress MP Rahul Gandhi to two years of imprisonment in a criminal defamation case in connection with his alleged 'Modi surname' remark. He was later granted bail by the court.Soon after the verdict, Congress MP LS passes Appropriation Bill 2023 Despite adjournments, the Lok Sabha on Thursday moved closer to completing the financial agenda of the current Budget Session and passed the Appropriation Bill 2023 to draw funds from the Consolidated Fund of India for Government expenditure for 2023-24, after approving demands for grants of Central Ministries without any cuts. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman introduced the Appropriation Bill, 2023 in the House, which sat after 6 p.m, and it was passed by a voicevote within minutes. The Bill was taken up after the demands for grants of the Central Ministries were enumerated by Speaker Om Birla and approved after rejection of all cut proposals taken up simultaneously. The Finance Bill, 2023, was listed in Thursday's Supplementary agenda for the Lower House, but the Speaker said the Bill was not being taken up. It is likely to be P10 P12 Need to strengthen federal structure: Bengal, Odisha CMs Truth is my God: Congress leader quotes Mahatma after his conviction Min. 37% TEMPERATURE ROHIT SHARMA DEFENDS TEAM’S AGGRESSIVE BATTING APPROACH DEVIKA RANI: AN ICONOCLAST IN THE WORLD OF CINEMA Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaks in the Lok Sabha during the second phase of the Budget Session of Parliament. ANI included in tomorrow's agenda. After passage of the Bill, signifying completion of the financial business of the session, Parliament may be adjourned sine die tomorrow. Earlier, both Houses of Parliament witnessed familiar scenes of disturbances. While the Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day at 2 p.m, after an adjournment in the morning, the Lok Sabha assembed for the third time at 6 p.m, after two adjournments earlier due to disturbances. While the Treasury Benches shouted for Rahul Gand- hi's apology for his recent remarks in the United Kingdom, the Opposition demanded a JPC inquiry into the Adani issue. Both Houses observed a moment of silence in honour of Shaheed Diwas, which marks the day revolutionaries Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were hanged by the British during the freedom struggle. Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar said that he had held three meetings of floor leaders as part of consultations to break the logjam between the BJP and the Opposition parties. But both sides had taken a rigid stand. Mr Dhankhar rejected all notices under Rule 267 received from Opposition members. He said the members had plenty of time to raise various issues during the discussion on the President's Address. Leader of the House Piyush Goyal said a senior leader of the Opposition had made comments for which he should apologise to Parliament. Rahul Gandhi quoted Mahatma Gandhi and said that his religion was based on truth and non-violence. “Truth is my God, non-violence the means to get it- Mahatma Gandhi,” tweeted Mr Gandhi. Senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said: “Rahul Gandhi said that I believe in truth and nonviolence. Does he believe in truth and non-violence?... to insult people? To make casteist abuses... to insult the country?" Mr Prasad also accused Congress national president Mallikarjun Kharge of contempt of court. Mr Prasad told the media that Bihar BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi had also filed a case against Mr Gandhi in the Patna court. Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said whatever the former Congress chief speaks, it always affects the party and the entire nation in a negative way. Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee meets Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik, in Bhubaneswar on Thursday. SNS STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE BHUBANESWAR/ KOLKATA, 23 MARCH West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday met chief minister Naveen Patnaik at his residence here and the two agreed that the federal structure of the country should be strengthened. “It was a courtesy call and there was no in-depth discussion on serious political matters. We stressed that the federal structure in India should remain permanent and strong” said Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik while talking to media persons.In response, the West Bengal chief minister said: “We discussed about the safety and security of the nation and democratic rights.” Describing Mr Patnaik as a ‘tall leader’ , Miss Banerjee said: “I strongly support Naveen’s statement on strengthening the federal structure.“We share a good relationship, being neighouring states which face the vagaries of nature,” she added. “ West Bengal and Odisha have always maintained very cordial relations for many decades. After I became an MP for the first time Biju Patnaik ji had invited to come his house. If there is a cyclone in Odisha, West Bengal is also affected,” she said.Miss Banerjee thanked the Odisha Chief Minister for the two acres of land allotted for the construction of Bangla Niwas in Puri and the hospitality shown to her.She said a Rs 100 crore Jagannath Temple is being built by the West Bengal government in Digha. Asked about the proposal to form a non-BJP, non-Congress front, the West Bengal Chief Minister said: “Elections are still a year away”. She refused to be drawn into any further comment on the need for such a front and whether it was being explored. Last week, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav had met Mamata Banerjee at her residence. Miss Banerjee is likely to go to Delhi in the first week of April to open a dialogue with the like-minded opposition parties. She has already said that Trinamul Congress will talk with the regional parties. HD Kumarswamy, former Chief Minister of Karnataka is expected to meet Miss Banerjee at her residence on Friday afternoon. Follow 5-fold strategy to Constitution Bench for Nikah deal with Covid: Centre Halala, polygamy: Apex court STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 23 MARCH A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting to review the Covid-19 situation in the country, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare advised all states to continue focusing on the five-fold strategy of Test-Track-TreatVaccination and Covid Appropriate Behaviour to fight the virus. “We will do another mock drill to see the Covid-19 preparations. Mock drills will be done soon in all the states/UTs," the Health Ministry said, adding more than 220.65 crore total doses of vaccines have been administered in the country so far. “There has been no evidence of an increase in hospitalisation. Precaution doses should be increased. Enhanced lab surveillance and testing of all severe acute respiratory Illness (Sari) cases needs to be done,” a statement said. The Ministry also asked the states to ensure the availability of required drugs and logistics for Influenza and Covid-19 across health facilities. The states were also asked to ensure the availability of sufficient designated beds and health workers.A senior Health Ministry official said the threat of Covid-19 was not over. Most of the cases in the country were being reported from eight states with Maharashtra registering the highest number of 1,650 Covid cases followed by Gujarat, Kerala and Karnataka. The country has witnessed surges in cases from the second week of last month due to which the positivity rate rose to one per cent from 0.09 per cent. A detailed advisory has been issued to these states regarding measures to be taken for the management of Covid. The circulating variants of Covid in the country are the variants of Omicron. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 23 MARCH The Supreme Court on Thursday said it will constitute a fivejudge Constitution Bench to hear petitions against the practices of Nikah-Halala and polygamy. Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud, heading a Bench, upon a mentioning by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay said: “At an appropriate time I will constitute a Constitution bench and have it decided.” Mr Upadhyay had sought an early hearing of his plea against the practices of NikahHalala and polygamy, prevalent among a section of Muslims. Besides Mr Upadhyay, advocate Mohsin Kathiri and Muslim women Naisah Hasan, Sabnam, Farjana and Sameena Begum too have approached the Supreme Court challenging the practice of Nikah-Halala and polygamy.They have sought a declaration that both NikahHalala and polygamy are unconstitutional. Earlier, a five-judge Bench of Justice Indira Banerjee, Justice Hemant Gupta (both since retired), Justice Surya Kant, Justice M.M. Sundresh and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia were hearing the matter. However, since both Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Hemant Gupta have retired, a new Bench has to be formed. The practice of NikahHalala requires a divorced woman to marry someone else, consummate the marriage and then get a divorce in order to again marry her first husband under Muslim personal law. On the other hand, polygamy is the practice of having more than one wife at the same time. The cases were referred to a 5-judge Constitution Bench by a 3-judge bench in March 2018. The petitioners have contended that Nikah-Halala and polygamy render Muslim wives extremely insecure and vulnerable, and infringe their fundamental rights. They have sought that Section 2 of the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act be declared unconstitutional and violative of Articles 14 (right to equality), 15 (discrimination on ground of religion, race, caste etc) and 21 (right to life) of the Constitution, insofar as it seeks to recognise and validate the practice of Nikah Halala and polygamy. Set up appellate panel for appeal of ‘Fugitive Amritpal escaped from Punjab unruly air passengers: HC to DGCA to Haryana, took shelter in Kurukshetra’ SNS & AGENCIES NEW DELHI, 23 MARCH Delhi High Court on Thursday directed the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to constitute an appellate committee to handle the appeal of air passengers facing a travel ban, in a period of two weeks. The court passed the direction on the petition moved by Shankar Mishra who is facing a 4month air travel ban. Justice Prathiba M Singh while disposing of the petition, also directed the petitioner Shankar Mishra to file an appeal in two weeks before the committee. The court said that the first hearing before the committee shall be on April 10. Meanwhile, the committee shall be constituted. The high court also noted that the 60 days period for filing an appeal is over. However, the court allowed him to file an appeal. The counsel for the DGCA submitted that the committee was there earlier. It got dissolved after the chairperson resigned on February 9, 2023. the constitution of an appellate committee to challenge the ban order. He is facing a 4-month ban after an incident of unruly behaviour while travelling from the US to New Delhi. He is accused of having urinated on a fellow passenger. The counsel also said that before that the committee was working. But the petitioner sent an email instead of filing an appeal. The ministry is in the process of appointment of the chairperson. After noting the submission the bench observed, "The petitioner ought to have filed an appeal, instead of sending emails as at the time the committee was working." Mishra had approached the court seeking a direction for The High court on March 15, granted time to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to place on record the documents related to the constitution of the appellate Committee looking into the appeals of unruly air passengers. Shankar Mishra moved the court seeking a direction to the Ministry of Civil Aviation to constitute an appellate committee in accordance with DGCA CAR for Unruly Passengers. STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE CHANDIGARH, 23 MARCH Despite heavy deployment of police across the state, fugitive Khalistan sympathiser Amritpal Singh is believed to have crossed into neighbouring Haryana within 24 hours of the crackdown launched against the secessionist campaigner and his supporters on Saturday. Addressing a Press conference, Punjab Police spokesperson and Inspector General of Police (IGP) headquarters Sukhchain Singh Gill on Thursday said that Amritpal was last seen in Haryana’s Kurukshetra on 19 March where he took shelter in a woman’s house. The IGP said after hiding in a gurdwara at Mangal Ambian village in Jalandhar district, Amritpal Singh, who is on the run since a police Waris Punjab De chief Amritpal Singh seen escaping in an SUV at a toll booth on 18 March. He is still on the run. ANI crackdown on his outfit 'Waris Punjab De' began on Saturday, took a motorcycle and reached Sheikhupur village in Phillaur tehsil of Jalandhar district in Punjab. From there, the 'Waris Punjab De' head along with accomplice Babbal Preet crossed the Sutlej river using an abandoned railway bridge between Phillaur and Laddowal. From there, he took a truck to cross over to Haryana. Then, the duo spent the night in Kurukshetra and left the place early in the morning on 20 March. Gill said Punjab Police and Central agencies are in hot pursuit of Amritpal Singh. “As far as Amritpal's trail is concerned, our team is tracking him. CCTV footage was retrieved from several locations. There is a Sekhowal village which has a gurdwara. They changed their bike there as well and after that, tried to get a boat to cross the river. When they failed to get one, they used an old bridge to cross the river,” the IGP said. Mr Gill said after roaming around, they hired an auto. Thereafter, they were located in Kurukshetra, Haryana. “After staying the night, they moved out of there the next day. We are examining the CCTV footage, and we hope that we will soon arrest Amritpal Singh,” he added.The IGP announced the arrest of Tejinder Singh alias Gorkha Baba of Khanna (Ludhiana) from whose incriminating videos of arms training and firing by Amritpal Singh and associates have been recovered.
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