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us: thehindu.com facebook.com/thehindu twitter.com/the_hindu thursday, april 11, 2019 SC denies bail to RJD leader Lalu

thursday, april 11, 2019

twitter.com/the_hindu thursday, april 11, 2019 SC denies bail to RJD leader Lalu Prasad in fodder scam
twitter.com/the_hindu thursday, april 11, 2019 SC denies bail to RJD leader Lalu Prasad in fodder scam
SC denies bail to RJD leader Lalu Prasad in fodder scam case Page 7

SC denies bail to RJD leader Lalu Prasad in fodder scam case

Page 7

NIA arrests JKLF chief Yasin Malik in a terror funding case Page 7

NIA arrests JKLF chief Yasin Malik in a terror funding case

Page 7

JKLF chief Yasin Malik in a terror funding case Page 7 Rahul Gandhi files nomination papers
Rahul Gandhi files nomination papers from Amethi Page 11

Rahul Gandhi files nomination papers from Amethi

Page 11

Delhi

City Edition

24 pages ₹10.00

Page 11 D e l h i City Edition 24 pages ₹10.00 Pollard scripts a sensational

Pollard scripts a sensational win for MI against KXIP

Page 15

Printed at

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Chennai

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Coimbatore

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Bengaluru

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Hyderabad

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Madurai

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Noida

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Visakhapatnam

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Thiruvananthapuram

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Kochi

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Vijayawada

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Mangaluru

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Tiruchirapalli

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Kolkata

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Hubballi

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Mohali

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Malappuram

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Mumbai

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Tirupati

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lucknow

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cuttack

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patna

. Malappuram . Mumbai . Tirupati . lucknow . cuttack . patna NEARBY EC puts on
NEARBY EC puts on hold release of biopic on PM Modi It prohibits release of
NEARBY
EC puts on hold release
of biopic on PM Modi
It prohibits release of all such publicity material
Special Correspondent
conduct (MCC) — were being
NEW DELHI
Krishnadas Rajagopal
The release of a biopic on
displayed in the electronic
media or were intended to
be displayed with the pur­
NEW DELHI
Prime Minister Narendra Mo­
di has been deferred till furth­
pose of furthering electoral
er orders from the Election
Commission, which on Wed­
nesday issued a directive pro­
hibiting display of any biopic
material that subserves “the
purposes of any political enti­
ty or individual connected to
gains. It received such com­
plaints against NTR Laxmi,
PM Narendra Modi and
Udyama Simham.
It was alleged these films
diminished or advanced the
electoral prospects of a can­
it”.
The order bars broadcast
of any such material in the
electronic media, including
films. The EC said in case of
Actor Vivek Oberoi as
Prime Minister Narendra
Modi in the biopic. * PTI
didate or a party in the garb
of creative freedom; and
that such content were sur­
rogate publicity by the can­
such a violation in any movie,
certified by the appropriate
authority [Censor Board], or
er Chief Justice of a High
Court.
didate or the political party.
Therefore, the EC direct­
ed that any biopic material,
which is intended to, or
which has potential to dis­
In unanimous support for
freedom of the press in a de­
mocracy, the Supreme Court
on Wednesday dismissed the
government’s plea to declare
the Rafale jets’ purchase
documents a secret, while
upholding the right of free
speech of The Hindu to pu­
blish the defence papers in a
series of articles since Febru­
ary 2019.
Chief Justice of India Ran­
jan Gogoi, who shared the
lead judgment with Justice
Sanjay Kishan Kaul, said The
Hindu’s right to publish the
Rafale documents was in
consonance with the consti­
tutional guarantee of free­
dom of speech.
With this, the court dis­
missed preliminary objec­
tions raised by the govern­
ment against petitions
seeking a review of the De­
cember 14, 2018 judgment of
Violation of model code
a complaint made in this re­
gard, a committee set up by
the Commission would exa­
mine it and suggest appro­
priate action. The committee
will be headed by a retired Su­
preme Court judge or a form­
The poll panel observed that
certain political contents on
either a candidate, a politi­
cal party or the achievement
of the party in power —
which were not in conformi­
ty with the model code of
the Supreme Court, which
upheld the deal for purchase
ments unauthorisedly re­
moved from the Ministry of
Defence and leaked to the
media. The dates of hearing
the petitions will be fixed la­
turb the level playing field
of 36 Rafale jets.
during the elections, should
not be displayed during the
Hearing later
The government claimed
that the review pleas were
based on secret Rafale docu­
ter, the CJI said, after reading
out the operative portion of
his judgment.
MCC period.
CONTINUED ON PAGE 10
CONTINUED ON PAGE 10
N. RAM’S STATEMENT PAGE 10
Jet aircraft
seized over
pending dues
CPI(M) assails Imran’s
preference for Modi
‘Pak. interference a serious concern’
special Correspondent
Mumbai
SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
NEW DELHI
Pakistan Prime Minister Im­
ran Khan’s comments pre­
ferring a BJP government to
led by the Congress might
be too scared to discuss a
settlement to the Kashmir
issue.
“Perhaps if the BJP — a
#70929
An unnamed cargo agent
from Europe seized a Boe­
ing 777 aircraft of Jet Air­
ways when it landed in Am­
sterdam from Mumbai,
demanding payment of
dues from the debt­laden
airline. The quantum of
dues could not be imme­
diately ascertained.
Jet Airways officials con­
firmed the incident but
said the return flight to
Mumbai (9W 231 Amster­
dam­Mumbai) on Wednes­
day was delayed due to op­
erational reasons.
a Congress administration
have led to sharp reactions
here, with the CPI(M) saying
on Wednesday it had se­
rious concerns over foreign
governments influencing
the election process.
In remarks made to fo­
reign correspondents in Pa­
kistan and reported by Reu­
ters, Mr. Khan, who led the
charge against Prime Minis­
ter Narendra Modi after the
February 26 Balakot air
strike, said a government
right­wing party — wins,
some kind of settlement in
Kashmir could be reached,”
Mr. Khan said.
Given the strident attacks
made on Pakistan and its
“Congress supporters” by
Mr. Modi in the ongoing
election campaign, Mr.
Khan’s remarks led to sharp
responses from Opposition
leaders, including from
those in Kashmir.
LUKEWARM RESPONSE TO
JET SALE OFFER PAGE 13
CONTINUED ON PAGE 10
RESPONSE TO JET SALE OFFER PAGE 13 CONTINUED ON PAGE 10 No alliance with Congress, says
RESPONSE TO JET SALE OFFER PAGE 13 CONTINUED ON PAGE 10 No alliance with Congress, says

No alliance with Congress, says AAP MP

NEW DELHI

Aam Aadmi Party leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh on Wednesday ruled out any chances of an alliance with the Congress in the upcoming Lok Sabha election. The Congress, however, did not come on record to say that the talks had ended.

DELHI METRO PAGE 1

DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

Poll officials complain about lack of amenities

NEW DELHI

As the first phase of polls for the 17th Lok Sabha begins on Thursday, booth officials in Noida’s Dadri complained about lack of basic amenities after they were told to take shelter in a local school for the night.

DELHI METRO PAGE 1

DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

DELHI METRO 6 PAGES

DELHI METRO 6 PAGES REPORT ON PAGE 12 SC rejects Centre’s plea to keep Rafale

REPORT ON PAGE 12

SC rejects Centre’s plea to keep Rafale documents secret

Court to hear review pleas against its judgment upholding defence deal

RTI covers it all, says judge

The RTI Act confers on citizens the “priceless right” to demand information even in matters affecting national security and relations with

a foreign state, Justice K.M.

Joseph said.

PAGE 10

Scam is out in the open: Cong.

The government can no longer hide behind the Official Secrets Act, the Congress said. “The layers

of corruption in the Rafale scam are now out in the o pen ,” its chief spokesperson Randeep

Surjewala said.

PAGE 10

Voting for first phase of LS election today

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI

Voting for the first round of the seven­phase Lok Sabha polls will get under way on Thursday. At stake are 91 Lok Sabha seats with si­ multaneous Assembly polls to be held in Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim and for the 60­member Arunachal Pradesh Assembly, as well as 28 out of the 147 seats in the Odisha Assembly (with the rest spread out in the next three phases). A total of 1,279 candi­ dates are contesting in this phase across 20 States.

POLLING IN VAST SWATHES OF THE COUNTRY PAGE 10

20 States. POLLING IN VAST SWATHES OF THE COUNTRY PAGE 10 May expresses ‘regret’ for Jallianwala

May expresses ‘regret’ for Jallianwala Bagh firing

April 13 will mark its 100th anniversary

Vidya Ram

London

British Prime Minister The­ resa May on Wednesday ex­ pressed “regret” in Parlia­ ment for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, ahead of the 100th anniversary of the killings on April 13. Opening the Prime Minis­ ter’s Questions on Wednes­ day with a reference to the massacre, Ms. May quoted Queen Elizabeth’s remarks, calling the incident a “dis­ tressing example” of Bri­ tain’s past history with In­ dia. “We deeply regret what happened and the suffering caused,” Ms. May said. This came came after MPs from across the politi­ cal parties called for a for­ mal apology during a debate

cal parties called for a for­ mal apology during a debate Theresa May on Tuesday afternoon.

Theresa May

on Tuesday afternoon. Foreign Office Minister Mark Field had told MPs on Tuesday that he recognised that there was a “strong and compelling case” for Britain to go beyond the “deep re­ gret” already expressed.

LABOUR PARTY CALLS FOR FULL APOLOGY PAGE 12

Freed scribe vows to carry on fight for free speech

RAHUL KARMAKAR

GUWAHATI

Kishorechandra Wangkhem, the 39­year­old television an­ chor who was freed on Wed­ nesday after four months in prison on charges of sedition under NSA, said he would continue to fight for freedom of speech. He also said that he would do his bit towards getting another “draconian piece of law” — the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act of 1958 — scrapped. “NSA and AFSPA are dra­ conian laws not suitable for a democratic country like

dra­ conian laws not suitable for a democratic country like Kishorechandra Wangkhem. * SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT ours.

Kishorechandra Wangkhem.

* SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

ours. I am not the right per­ son to go against these laws, but I will contribute toward scrapping them,” he said. Mr. Wangkhem was jailed for calling Chief Minister N. Biren Singh a “puppet” of PM Narendra Modi.

CM

N. Biren Singh a “puppet” of PM Narendra Modi. C M https://t.me/SSC4Exams Y K Defamation charges
N. Biren Singh a “puppet” of PM Narendra Modi. C M https://t.me/SSC4Exams Y K Defamation charges

https://t.me/SSC4Exams

YK

of PM Narendra Modi. C M https://t.me/SSC4Exams Y K Defamation charges framed against Ramani Special
Defamation charges framed against Ramani Special correspondent New delhi A Delhi court on Wednesday framed
Defamation charges framed against Ramani
Special correspondent
New delhi
A Delhi court on Wednesday
framed defamation charges
against senior journalist Pri­
ya Ramani in a case filed by
former Union Minister M.J.
Akbar.
Mr. Akbar had accused
Ms. Ramani of defaming him
by alleging that he sexually
assaulted several women
journalists when they were
working with him.
Additional Chief Metro­
politan Magistrate Samar
Vishal framed the charges
against Ms. Ramani when
she pleaded not guilty.
DETAILS DELHI METRO PAGE 1

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DELHI THE HINDU

THURSDAY, APRIL 11, 2019

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Bihar set for a tough contest

Onus on NDA to retain all four seats as Grand Alliance puts its best foot forward

#70929

seats as Grand Alliance puts its best foot forward #70929 Amarnath Tewary Patna The first phase

Amarnath Tewary

Patna

The first phase of Lok Sabha polls in Bihar on Thursday is set to be a tough battle bet­ ween the BJP­led NDA and the RJD­led Mahagathband- han (Grand Alliance). In the 2014 elections, the NDA had won all four seats — Gaya, Jamui (both reserved seats), Nawada and Auranga­ bad — going to the polls, but this time it appears to be tough for them to retain them.

Manjhi vs Manjhi The NDA candidates appa­ rently are relying on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s charisma while the Grand Al­ liance is banking on caste calculations and local issues. In Gaya, former Chief Mi­ nister and president of Hin­ dustani Awam Morcha (Secu­ lar) Jitan Ram Manjhi is pitted against NDA candidate Vijay Kumar Manjhi of the Ja­ nata Dal (United). Both come from lower Scheduled Caste Musahar (rat­catchers) com­ munity but Mr. Jitan Ram’s political stock appears to be high among the voters and Mr. Vijay Kumar, said locals, is a “lightweight candidate” against him. Mr. Vijay Kumar is con­ testing a parliamentary elec­ tion for the first time. His mother Bhagwati Devi had once represented the Gaya seat. The BJP dropped its sit­ ting MP Hari Manjhi as the seat went to alliance partner JD(U) under the seat­sharing pact.

The bahubali factor On the neighbouring Nawa­ da seat, the contest is bet­ ween NDA candidate Chan­ dan Kumar Singh (Lok

is bet­ ween NDA candidate Chan­ dan Kumar Singh (Lok Polling parties leave for their respective

Polling parties leave for their respective polling booths with EVMs on the eve of the first phase of Lok Sabha polls at Jamui in Bihar on Wednesday. * RANJEET KUMAR

Janshakti Party) and Maha- gathbandhan nominee Veebha Devi (RJD). In 2014, firebrand BJP leader Giriraj Singh had won the seat but this time the BJP swapped this seat with LJP and shifted Mr. Giriraj Singh to Begusarai. The LJP candi­ date is the brother of don­ turned­politician Surajbhan Singh, while the RJD has gi­ ven the ticket to the wife of suspended party leader Raj Ballabh Yadav. Mr. Raj Bal­ labh is a known bahubali leader (strongman) in the area with huge assets. He is currently in jail in connec­ tion with an alleged rape case of a minor girl. For the voters, Mr. Chandan Singh is an outsider and Ms. Veebha Devi a local. “Her husband may be in jail but his wife has no crimi­ nal record against her. Chan­ dan Singh’s brother Surajb­ han Singh too has a tainted

past. At least Veebha Devi is a local and will be approach­ able,” said a group of villag­ ers at Kharidi Bigha village in the constituency.

Caste calculations In Jamui, NDA candidate Chi­ rag Paswan (LJP) is contest­ ing against Grand Alliance candidate Bhudeo Chaudhu­ ry (Rashtriya Lok Samata Party). In 2014, Mr. Chirag, son of Union Minister and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan, had defeated RJD candidate Sudhanshu Bhaskar from Ja­ mui. Locals said the LJP lead­ er had won the seat riding on the “Modi wave” and this time, too, he appears to be pushing hard on the “Modi magic and some develop­ ment work done by him in the constituency”. However, if the caste cal­ culations work for the Maha- gathbandhan candidate this time, Mr. Chaudhury could

upset Mr. Chirag’s dream of retaining the seat for a se­ cond time, said locals. On the Aurangabad seat, the NDA has retained its sit­ ting MP Sushil Kumar Singh (BJP) against surprise Maha- gathabandhan candidate Upendra Prasad (HAM­S). Mr. Sushil Kumar won the seat in the last two Lok Sab­ ha elections and is pushing hard this time to score a hat­ trick. However, by fielding Mr. Upendra Prasad from the OBC Kushwaha caste, the­ Mahagathbandhan has played the caste card to woo the backward and extremely backward voters in the con­ stituency. “It will not be an easy win for the BJP candi­ date this time. The caste cal­ culus in favour of the Maha- gathbandhan candidate can throw a surprise result this time,” said Bharat Sao of Ra­ niganj village in the consti­ tuency.

Gujjar stir leader Bainsla joins BJP, may contest

‘Country needs Modi’s leadership’

BJP, may contest ‘Country needs Modi’s leadership’ Kirori Singh Bainsla with his son Vijay Bainsla after

Kirori Singh Bainsla with his son Vijay Bainsla after joining the BJP in New Delhi on Wednesday.

* R.V. MOORTHY

Press Trust of india

New Delhi

Gujjar quota agitation lead­ er Kirori Singh Bainsla on Wednesday joined the BJP, giving a boost to the party’s efforts to win over influen­ tial leaders in Rajasthan where it had lost Assembly polls. Mr. Bainsla and his son Vijay Bainsla met BJP presi­ dent Amit Shah and an­ nounced their decision to join the party at a press con­ ference in the presence of Union Minister Prakash Ja­ vadekar, who is handling his party’s election affairs in the

western State. “I have seen rarest of rare qualities in Prime Minister Narendra Modi and that’s why I am joining the BJP. The country needs his leadership,” Mr. Kirori Bainsla said, adding that he is inspired by Mr. Modi’s working style. Recently, Jat leader Hanu­ man Beniwal had also joined the BJP and merged his regional party with it. The BJP has fielded him from Nagaur. The BJP is considering fielding Mr. Bainsla or his son from a Lok Sabha seat, sources said.

Violence in Kishtwar as RSS man is cremated

Curfew on, Army stages flag march

Press trust of india

Kishtwar (J&K)

Violence broke out in Jam­ mu and Kashmir’s Kishtwar town on Wednesday as an­ gry mourners clashed with police during the funeral procession of the senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) functionary killed in Tuesday’s terror at­ tack along with his PSO, prompting the Army to stage flag march in the area. No one was injured in the clashes, officials said. Cur­ few remained imposed for the second day in the com­ munally­sensitive district following the killing of Chanderkant Sharma and constable Rajinder Kumar, even as police intensified search to nab the assailant. According to eyewitness­ es, a large number of people came out of their houses to take part in the funeral pro­ cession of Sharma. In Dak Banglow area, an irate crowd held protests and raised slogans against Pakis­ tan and militants. The group soon turned violent and pelted stones on

police personnel deployed there. Police resorted to cane­charge and tear gas shelling to disperse the prot­ esters and brought the situa­ tion under control. The slain RSS leader was cremated at Chowgan ground in a ceremony at­ tended by Sangh leaders in­ cluding its J&K chief Suchet Singh, BJP State president Ravinder Raina and former Deputy Chief Minister Nir­ mal Singh.

SP office attacked After the cremation, the crowd turned violent again and stormed the office of the Superintendent of Pol­ ice. The protesters ran­ sacked some furniture and pelted stones. The Army conducted flag march in the city after the incidents. “There were incidents of violent protests (at two plac­ es). Some protesters en­ tered the SP office and ran­ sacked some furniture item. But the situation has been brought under control and curfew imposed,” SSP Kisht­ war Shakti Pathak said.

and curfew imposed,” SSP Kisht­ war Shakti Pathak said. IAS officer pens rap song to motivate

IAS officer pens rap song to motivate voters

It’s being played on FM, social media, IPL matches, and in theatres soon

Vikas Vasudeva

CHANDIGARH

Babus and bhangra rap are an incongruity. Beating this stereotype, a woman IAS of­ ficer in Punjab’s Mohali dis­ trict has come out with a rap song, asking voters to exer­ cise their right to vote to realise their aspirations and not to be lured by money and liquor. Her inspiration? The recent Bollywood movie Gully Boy. Sakshi Sawhney, Mohali’s Additional Deputy Commis­ sioner, who has written the song in Hindi with a local Punjabi touch, focuses on creating awareness among voters to value their vote and exercise their right to bring the change they desire.

The lyrical video starts with “Aa raha yeh chunav hai, Hamara bhi to koi adhi- kaar hai, vote nahin karega to kya wajood bhadas ki?

Paisa daaru vote ke liye kya

wajood hai aas ki?

slated, it means “Election time is here, We have some rights too, if you don’t vote then what’s the point of your anger? If you trade your vote for money­liquor then what’s the point of having hope.”

”. Tran­

Sung by a babu The song has been sung by Hiten Kapila, the block deve­ lopment and panchayat of­ ficer at Majri village. It also asks the youth to get them­ selves registered as voters by

filling the Form 6, urging them to caste vote instead of regretting later. Ms. Sawhney said the pur­ pose of the song is to per­ suade the youth to get them­ selves registered as voters besides urging people to vote on moral grounds. The lyrics also convey a message to the voter that with voter verifiable paper audit trail in the Electronic Voting Machines, his/her vote is safe.

‘Lyrical video’ “It’s a lyrical video, which is already available on the so­ cial media. Besides the song is being played by the local FM to create awareness,” said Ms. Sawhney, adding

that the administration is now planning to play the song in Mohali cinema halls soon. “We are in talks with cinema hall owners in Moha­ li, where the song would be played before the start of the movie. The rap song is alrea­ dy being played during the matches of the Indian Pre­ mier League being held in Mohali,” she said. Further, the local admi­ nistration has been working on electorate awareness building with basic know­ ledge of the electoral process through mobile vans. “We have a mobile van going around villages with election related information. The rap song would also be now a part of it,” said Ms. Sawhney.

rap song would also be now a part of it,” said Ms. Sawhney. https://t.me/Banking4Exams https://t.me/UPSC4Exams A

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rap song would also be now a part of it,” said Ms. Sawhney. https://t.me/Banking4Exams https://t.me/UPSC4Exams A
rap song would also be now a part of it,” said Ms. Sawhney. https://t.me/Banking4Exams https://t.me/UPSC4Exams A
rap song would also be now a part of it,” said Ms. Sawhney. https://t.me/Banking4Exams https://t.me/UPSC4Exams A

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A ND-NDE

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THE HINDU DELHI

THURSDAY, APRIL 11, 2019

EAST

3

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DELHI Timings CPI leader Borgohain passes away Thursday, April 11 RISE 06:01 SET 18:44 RISE
DELHI
Timings
CPI leader Borgohain passes away
Thursday, April 11
RISE 06:01 SET 18:44
RISE 10:18 SET 00:00
Friday, April 12
Citizenship Bill clouds phase 1
polls in 14 Northeast LS seats
SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
GUWAHATI
RISE 06:00 SET 18:45
RISE 11:15 SET 00:30
Saturday, April 13
RISE 05:59 SET 18:45
While BJP pushes it, several NDA allies are opposing the Bill tooth and nail
RISE 12:15 SET 01:27
his teaching job.
“He belonged to a genera­
tion that expanded commu­
nism in Assam and his lea­
dership had an impact on all
constituents of the Left
F ront ,” said Suprakash Taluk­
dar of the CPI (Marxist).
RAHUL KARMAKAR
GUWAHATI
The BJP’s promise to bring
back the Citizenship
(Amendment) Bill has cloud­
ed the first phase of polling
in 14 of the 25 Lok Sabha
seats in the eight north­east­
ern States on Thursday.
Five of the 14 parliamen­
tary seats in Assam, two
each in Arunachal Pradesh
and Meghalaya and one each
in Manipur, Mizoram, Naga­
land, Sikkim, and Tripura
are going to the polls from 7
a.m. on Thursday. Voting
will be held till 5 p.m. in all
the seats except for Outer
Manipur, Nagaland and the
two Meghalaya seats where
the timing is up to 4 p.m.
The five seats in Assam,
dotted with tea estates, cov­
er areas of eastern Assam
where protests against the
citizenship Bill was most in­
Polling staff take a boat to
reach Majuli in Assam. * AP
the indigenous people by
bringing in Hindu
Bangladeshis”.
“The people of Assam
know why a few are against
the Bill. We our duty­bound
to ensure that Hindus do not
become a minority in their
own land,” said Assam Fi­
nance Minister Himanta Bis­
wa Sarma, the main poll
strategist for the BJP.
Party and the Nationalist De­
mocratic Progressive Party
have reiterated their opposi­
tion to the Bill. “We have
made it clear that the Bill is
not acceptable to the people
of the Northeast,” said NPP
president and Meghalaya
Chief Minister Conrad K.
Sangma. Mr. Sangma’s sister,
Agatha K. Sangma, is the
NPP’s candidate for the Tura
Lok Sabha seat in Megha­
laya.
The parliamentary consti­
tuencies where elections
would be held in the first
phase are Dibrugarh, Kalia­
bor, Lakhimpur, Jorhat, and
Tezpur in Assam, Arunachal
West and Arunachal East in
Arunachal Pradesh, Tura
and Shillong in Meghalaya,
Outer Manipur in Manipur,
Tripura West in Tripura,
Mizoram, Nagaland, and Sik­
kim.
Former Rajya Sabha member
Drupad Borgohain, the last
of Assam’s Communist stal­
warts who helped expand
the Left footprint in the State
and set an example in spend­
ing MP funds, passed away
on Wednesday morning. He
was 78.
Doctors at a private hospi­
tal in Dibrugarh said Mr. Bor­
gohain died at 6 a.m. after
battling severe health
complications.
Born in Sivasagar district,
Mr. Borgohain headed the
State Council of the CPI. He
became a party whole­timer
in 1982 after resigning from
Clean image
Simplicity was Mr. Borgo­
hain’s asset, as was his clean
image, Mr. Talukdar said.
According to senior CPI
leader Munin Mahanta, Mr.
Borgohain set an example in
spending funds under the
Member of Parliament Local
Area Development Scheme
during his tenure in the Up­
per House from April 1998 to
April 2004.
“He also was among the
most vocal of MPs from As­
sam and would often raise is­
sues such as Armed Forces
(Special Powers) Act and im­
pact of extremism in the
State,” Mr. Mahanta added.
Mr. Borgohain had con­
tested as the CPI candidate
for the Nazira Assembly seat
in the controversial election
during the peak of the Assam
agitation in 1983. He finished
second to Congress’s Hites­
war Saikia.
He bounced back in the
2006 Assembly election, de­
feating Mr. Saikia’s wife, He­
moprova Saikia, to win the
Nazira seat.
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tense when a bid was made
to get it passed in the Rajya
Sabha earlier this year. The
party’s election manifesto,
in which it promised to rein­
troduce the Bill, has stirred
anger again.
Influential organisations
such as the All Assam Stu­
dents’ Union and the Krish­
ak Mukti Sangram Samiti
have appealed to the people
to defeat the BJP’s design to
“endanger the existence of
Special safeguards
Union Minister of State for
Home Kiren Rijiju, the BJP’s
bet for retaining the Aruan­
chal West Lok Sabha seat,
reassured the “people of the
Northeast” that the party
would come out with a “spe­
cial provision” to safeguard
the interests of the indige­
nous communities before
the Bill is introduced.
The BJP’s regional allies
such as the National People’s
‘King of Kaziranga’ to contest from Kaliabor
Former BJD
corporator
arrested
Rahul Karmakar
BOKAKHAT (ASSAM)
lieve in doing things quietly. I
protest too when I feel things
are not going right,” he says.
Correspondent
CUTTACK
Former BJD corporator of
the Cuttack Municipal
Corporation (CMC) Ranji­
ta Biswal was arrested by
the police on Wednesday
for allegedly possessing il­
legal arms and
ammunition.
Ms. Biswal was earlier
arrested by the police in
March 2018 for her alleged
links with gangster si­
blings Sushant and Sushil
Dhalasamanta.
She was, however,
granted conditional bail
by Orissa High Court in Ju­
ly last year.
A registered orphanage that
his NGO, Bokakhat Nirman
Gut, runs houses 10 children
who lost their parents to the
toxic sulai (country spirit)
tragedy in February.
He formed more than
2,000 self­help groups dur­
ing his two terms as MLA of
central Assam’s Bokakhat As­
sembly constituency besides
spending his pay as a legisla­
tor on pilgrimages of his vo­
ters much before the Sarba­
nanda Sonowal government
came up with the Punyad­
ham Yatra scheme.
Locals swear by the gene­
rosity of Jiten Gogoi, a former
extremist, contesting the Ka­
liabor Lok Sabha constituen­
cy as an Independent. But
they agree that his darker
Jiten Gogoi
side has often made hea­
dlines, like when he and
another MLA allegedly as­
saulted a forest range officer
while fishing inside the Kazi­
ranga National Park in 2009,
leading to his arrest.
Mr. Gogoi, 57, would like
to erase that part of his life
that earned him the title of
“King of Kaziranga”.
“I help people because I
have the resources that god
and their love gave me. I be­
Rebellious streak
The rebellious streak had
made Mr. Gogoi leave the
outlawed United Liberation
Front of Asom in the 1980s
after quarrelling with its lead­
ers, including fugitive mili­
tary chief Paresh Baruah.
The outfit had put a price on
his head for deserting.
Mr. Gogoi represented the
Bokakhat Assembly consti­
tuency twice between 2001
and 2011. “I want to expand
my horizon beyond Bokak­
hat and represent not just the
people in Kaliabor but also
the rhinos, tigers, elephants
and all the animals in the Ka­
ziranga landscape in Parlia­
ment,” he says.
#70929

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4 WEST

DELHI THE HINDU

THURSDAY, APRIL 11, 2019

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Stage set for first phase of polls

Voting in seven constituencies in the Vidarbha region to begin at 7 a.m.

Press Trust of India

Mumbai

All arrangements have been made for the first phase of polling on Thursday in Mah­ arashtra covering seven Lok Sabha seats, which will see a direct fight between the BJP­ Shiv Sena and Congress­ NCP­led alliances. Polling will begin at 7 a.m. amid tight security and end at 6 p.m., said officials. Nitin Gadkari (Nagpur) and his Cabinet colleague Hansraj Ahir (Chandrapur) — both from the BJP — are among prominent candi­ dates in the fray in the first phase that covers seven out of the 10 Lok Sabha seats in the Vidarbha region in east­ ern Maharashtra. The constituencies going to the polls are Nagpur, Ram­ tek (SC), Wardha, Bhandara­

Sons join BJP, fathers to follow suit

Press Trust of India

Mumbai

After their sons joined the BJP in the run­up to Lok Sabha elections in Maha­ rashtra, senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe­Patil and NCP’s Vi­ jaysinh Mohite Patil are set to follow suit, sources close to them said on Wednesday. Both leaders are expect­ ed to join the BJP during the rallies of Prime Minis­ ter Narendra Modi in the State in the coming days. Mr. Vikhe­Patil would join the BJP on April 12 in Ahmednagar and Mr. Mo­ hite Patil at Akluj in Sola­ pur district on April 17, the sources said.

Akluj in Sola­ pur district on April 17, the sources said. Ready, Set, Poll: Election officials

Ready, Set, Poll: Election officials in Nagpur carry Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) ahead of the first phase of polls * PTI

Gondiya, Yavatmal­Washim, Gadchiroli­Chimur (ST) and Chandrapur. A total of 116 candidates are in the fray in these seven seats, which were once a Congress bastion. Polling teams reached

their respective booths on Wednesday evening. Mock polling will be con­ ducted at 6.15 a.m. in the presence of representatives of the candidates in the fray before actual voting begins, the officials said.

Mr. Gadkari, along with his family members, is ex­ pected to cast his vote at a polling booth in the Mahal area at around 9.30 a.m Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat is expected to exer­ cise his franchise at the poll­ ing booth at Bhauji Daftari School, at around 7 a.m. Maharashtra Chief Minis­ ter Devendra Fadnavis is also expected to cast his vote in the early hours of polling in the Vanamati area of the city. The remaining three Par­ liamentary seats in the re­ gion — Akola, Buldhana and Amravati — will vote in the second phase on April 18. Maharashtra, which has 48 Lok Sabha seats, will vote in four phases. The BJP­Sena combine had won all the 10 seats in Vidarbha in 2014.

Goa BJP wants Parrikar’s son to campaign in North Goa

Prakash Kamat

Panaji

Late Goa Chief Minister Ma­ nohar Parrikar’s older son Utpal met BJP’s Goa organi­ sational secretary Satish Dhond on Tuesday, with the latter conveying the party's desire that he should join the Lok Sabha election cam­ paign for North Goa. Sources close to Mr. Utpal Parrikar told The Hindu on Wednesday that the meeting was held at the instance of Mr. Dhond who reportedly called Mr. Utpal and told him to start moving around Panaji for the election cam­ paign of North Goa candi­ date Sripad Naik. The development as­ sumes significance as the As­

sembly by­election for the Panaji constituency has just been announced and this could be a possible hint for Mr. Utpal Parrikar preparing himself for it, sources said. The Panaji constituency has been represented by the late Manohar Parrikar from 1994 with a brief break in 2014, when he became the Defence Minister. When contacted by The Hindu, Mr. Dhond con­ firmed he had asked Mr. Ut­ pal Parrikar, among others, to pitch in for the campaign in North Goa, but added that the decision on the Panaji candidate will be taken only after the April 23 Lok Sabha and Assembly by­elections. “We have a full process,

we have to first ascertain views of party’s various wings, important party lead­ ers and workers, other im­ portant well­wishers in the constituency and then the State election committee will take up the names,” said Mr. Dhond who worked for Goa BJP very closely with the late Parrikar. A senior source in the Goa BJP Election Committee, on condition of anonymity, confirmed that names of Mr. Utpal Parrikar and Mr. Kun­ colienkar, are on the list of probable candidates. Utpal Parrikar had recent­ ly told presspersons that he had not applied his mind to the issue, but would take the call at the right time.

#70929

INTERVIEW | CHANDRAKANT PATIL

‘Arithmetic is in favour of BJP’

The man in charge of the all­important western Maharashtra seats is confident that the BJP’s strategy in the sugar belt will yield favourable results

Shoumojit Banerjee

Sangli

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Maharashtra Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil, deputed to oversee the party’s strategy in western Maharashtra, is confident of “achieving total supremacy” in the sugar belt. He tells The Hindu that the belt, once dominated by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress, will see the BJP win the presti­ gious Madha and Maval seats.

How do you see the BJP­Shiv Sena’s position in western Maharashtra?

The BJP­Sena will achieve complete supremacy in the sugar heartland this time around. I was always in fa­ vour of an alliance with the Sena. We are working in un­ ison and are in an especially strong position in the crucial Lok Sabha seats of Sangli, Madha, Maval and Baramati.

The BJP’s Sangli unit is riven with factionalism, while the entry of influential Dhangar leader Gopichand Padalkar into the fray is expected to eat into your BJP’s votes. How do you see these challenges?

The Chief Minister himself has intervened in resolving the issues within the BJP’s Sangli unit. I have personally overseen that all differences are buried through a num­ ber of meetings. Much has been made about Gopichand Padalkar, who campaigned for us in the 2014 elections. He was never really with the BJP, nor was he that potent a political force. His support even when he campaigned for us amounted to less than 40,000 votes.

As in­charge of the high­ prestige Baramati Lok Sabha seat, you have expressed your determination to end the

stranglehold of the Pawar clan there. What is your game plan?

Baramati will be a close con­ test. I think the seat will hinge on a crucial 10,000 votes. If we win, it will be by that narrow a margin and vice­versa. While the NCP cannot dent our stronghold in Khadakwasla [which has a BJP MLA], we are confident this time of making up ground lost in 2014. Our stra­ tegy has seen an increase in the BJP constituents in Kha­ dakwasla from 65,000 to one lakh by ensuring that the youthful IT crowd in that belt steps out to vote. Furth­ er, our candidate [Kanchan Kul] is from Daund where she has a formidable base, we expect to secure a lead of 20,000 votes there. In Pu­ randar, Sena Minister Vijay Shivtar, who is a staunch op­ ponent of the Pawar clan, will be campaigning vigo­ rously for us to overthrow the Pawars.

It is well­known that senior Congress leader from Indapur and former minister Harshawardhan Patil is disaffected with the Pawar family. Will that help the BJP in Baramati?

Congress leader Harsha­ wardhan Patil’s support, or lack of it, for the NCP and Su­ priya Sule in the Indapur and Bhor Assembly seg­

and Su­ priya Sule in the Indapur and Bhor Assembly seg­ * UDAY DEOLEKAR < >

* UDAY DEOLEKAR

<> Now that Barne and Jagtap have reconciled, the NCP will have to change its candidate in Maval

Chandrakant Patil

BJP Leader

ments [crucial areas of Bara­ mati], will be a decisive fac­ tor. There was never any love lost between the NCP and Mr. Patil. He has had a lot of trouble from the Pawar family. There is no reason that he should help them in Baramati now, even though he will not ally with the BJP at this stage.

How do you look at the contest in Madha after Sharad Pawar announced his withdrawal from that seat?

In Madha, we have carefully handpicked eight influential leaders from the opposition parties with whose backing alone, the BJP will cross four lakh votes. These include former Congress leader Ka­ lyan Kale, who has joined us; Dhangar leader Uttam Jan­ kar; ex­Congress MLA of San­ gola, Shahaji Patil; and sit­ ting Congress MLA from Mann­Khatav, Jaykumar Gore. Further, the rivalry between the Mohite­Patils and the Pawars will naturally help increaseVijaysinh Mo­ hite­Patil’s clout in Malshiras.

Coming to the Maval Lok Sabha seat, will the long­ standing rivalry between BJP leader and MLA, Laxman Jagtap, and sitting Shiv Sena MP, Shrirang Barne, dent the ‘Mahayuti’s’ chances there?

Both leaders have buried their hatchet and have pu­ blicly promised to cooperate with each other in the inter­ ests of the BJP­Sena alliance. Laxman Jagtap wanted Shri­ rang Barne replaced, but when the Sena refused, we convinced Jagtap that he must patch­up and work with his rival in the national interest. Take it in writing from me, now that Barne and Jag­ tap have reconciled, the NCP will have to change its candi­ date [Parth Pawar] in Maval as Ajit Pawar would not like to see his son defeated. Ajit Pawar was placing his hopes on Jagtap working against Barne, but that has been dashed now. The arithmetic is clearly in our favour as five of the six MLAs in the Maval Lok Sab­ ha seat are either of the BJP or the Sena.

Maval Lok Sab­ ha seat are either of the BJP or the Sena. https://t.me/SSC4Exams https://t.me/Banking4Exams
Maval Lok Sab­ ha seat are either of the BJP or the Sena. https://t.me/SSC4Exams https://t.me/Banking4Exams
Maval Lok Sab­ ha seat are either of the BJP or the Sena. https://t.me/SSC4Exams https://t.me/Banking4Exams
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THE HINDU DELHI

THURSDAY, APRIL 11, 2019

SOUTH

5

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IN BRIEF

IN BRIEF ‘BSP eyeing role in balance of power at Centre’ MYSURU

‘BSP eyeing role in balance of power at Centre’

MYSURU

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati said the party was looking for a role in the “balance of power” at the Centre after the Lok Sabha election. At a rally here on Wednesday, she said there was a strong support for the BSP­Samajwadi Party­ Rashtriya Lok Dal alliance in Uttar Pradesh, which sends 80 members to the Lok Sabha. She said that the ruling BJP would be “swept away” in the election while her party would be playing a role in the “balance of power” at the Centre.

Man held for propagating IS ideology in Kerala

KOZHIKODE

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested a suspect, Shaibu Nihar, in connection with a case of propagating the ideology of banned terror outfit IS. The 39­year­old resident of Koduvally in Kozhikode was arrested from the Calicut International Airport on his return from Qatar on Tuesday. He had been arraigned as the first accused in a case originally registered at the Wandoor police station in Malappuram in November 2017. He was remanded in judicial custody till April 22.

SC to be approached to retain empanelled drivers

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) will appeal to the Supreme Court against a directive of the Kerala High Court to dispense with the services of 1,565 empanelled drivers by April 30. The government nod to move the Supreme Court was taken on Wednesday at a meeting attended by Transport Minister A.K. Saseendran and other officials.

Naidu stages protest at CEO office

A.P. Chief Minister terms EC’s actions partisan, unilateral and undemocratic

Staff Reporter

VIJAYAWADA

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minis­ ter and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president N. Chandra­ babu Naidu on Wednesday staged a sit­in in front of Chief Electoral Officer Gopal Krishna Dwivedi’s office in Amaravati protesting against the “partisan, unilateral and undemocratic” actions of the Election Commission (EC). After submitting to the CEO a letter he had written to the EC listing the “parti­ san actions”, Mr. Naidu and his partymen squatted on the stairway of the CEO’s of­ fice at the Secretariat to re­ gister their protest against the transfer of civil servants. “The Election Commis­ sion should not become a laughing stock with its un­ ilateral decisions. For the first time in history, we met the CEO. The Telugu Desam

the first time in history, we met the CEO. The Telugu Desam N. Chandrababu Naidu staging

N. Chandrababu Naidu staging a protest in front of the Chief Electoral Officer’s premises on Wednesday.

* SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

will not keep quiet if democ­ racy is put to ridicule,” he said. “The struggle will con­ tinue till the EC stops taking such blatantly unfair ac­ tions. The issue will be taken to a logical conclusion.” Mr. Naidu said the EC’s “arbitrary” action in trans­ ferring IPS and IAS officers was a cause of concern to all those who believed in de­

mocracy and the autonomy of the poll panel. “A motivat­ ed complaint goes from the YSRCP and within hours a police officer is transferred without giving a chance to the latter to explain his stand and the ground situation,” he said. Mr. Naidu, in his letter to the EC, alleged that it was targeting the TDP at the beh­

2 idols stolen from T.N. temple now in Australia, South Africa

Police taking steps to bring them back to Kallidaikurichi

Special Correspondent

TIRUNELVELI

The Nataraja idol belonging to the Kulasekaramudaiyar – Aramvalarththa Nayagi Am­ man Temple at Kallidaikuri­ chi, near Tirunelveli in Ta­ mil Nadu, has been smuggled to a museum in Australia, said A.G. Ponn Manickavel, retired Inspec­ tor­General and Special Of­ ficer, Idol Wing CID. “Steps are being taken to bring back the idol from the Australian museum,” he said. Four panchaloha idols of Lord Nataraja, Sivakami Ambal, Manickavasagar and Thiripalinathar were stolen in 1982 from the Kallidaikur­

ichi temple, being adminis­ tered by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department. The police investigation did not yield any credible in­ formation about the cul­ prits. When the Idol Wing CID team received information that the Nataraja idol was at a museum in Australia, Mr. Ponn Manickavel and his team visited the Kallidaikuri­ chi temple on Tuesday and questioned Assistant Com­ missioner Shankar and oth­ er HR&CE Department offi­ cials. He asked the officials to strengthen security in the temple.

Talking to reporters after inspecting the temple, Mr. Ponn Manickavel said the culprits had sold the Natara­ ja idol to a museum in Aus­ tralia, while the Sivakami Ambal idol has been smug­ gled to South Africa.

Probe on right track The investigation was pro­ gressing well, and both the idols would be brought back to the temple. Efforts were on to locate the remaining two stolen idols, he said. Earlier, the officials had shifted 17 idols from the tem­ ple to Sri Subramanyar Tem­ ple in the same area, consi­ dering their safety.

A drama: YSRCP

Special Correspondent

VIJAYAWADA

Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu’s complaint to the CEO and the dharna was a “drama” to cover up the several election code violations committed by him, YSRCP general secretary M.V.S. Nagireddy said on Wednesday.

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est of the YSRCP and the BJP. “It is a matter of deep con­ cern that the apex institution entrusted with the responsi­ bilities of conducting free and fair elections has be­ come subservient to the dic­ tates of the BJP government, which is protecting the YSRCP.” The EC was toeing the line of the BJP­led Union government, he alleged.

#70929

Another case filed against Cardinal

Staff Reporter

Kochi

The city police on Wednes­ day registered a second case against Cardinal Ge­ orge Alencherry, Major Archbishop of the Syro­Ma­ labar Church and head of the Ernakulam­Angamaly Archdiocese, in connec­ tion with the controversial land deals that allegedly re­ sulted in financial loss for the archdiocese. “The case has been re­ gistered in compliance with a directive from the c ourt ,” City Police Com­ missioner S. Surendran said. The Ernakulam Chief Judicial Magistrate Court had issued the order based on a private complaint.

‘Communal’ remarks by KCR come under EC’s scanner

Panel seeks explanation from Telangana CM within 2 days

M. Rajeev

HYDERABAD

The Election Commission has taken serious note of TRS president and Telanga­ na Chief Minister K. Chan­ drasekhar Rao’s comments against a religious communi­ ty during his election cam­ paign meeting in Karimna­ gar district last month and sought an explanation from the latter within two days. In its notice to the Chief Minister, the EC said it was prima facie of the opinion that Mr. Rao’s remarks had the potential of disturbing harmony and aggravating the existing differences bet­ ween social and religious communities. Also, appeal­ ing to communal feelings were violative of the model code of conduct. The EC was responding to

a complaint that the Chief Minister tried to secure votes by passing derogatory

Chief Minister tried to secure votes by passing derogatory K. Chandrasekhar Rao and defamatory statements during

K. Chandrasekhar Rao

and defamatory statements during the public meeting he addressed in Karimnagar on March 17.

Video submitted Vishwa Hindu Parishad State president M. Rama Raju, who lodged the complaint on March 20 and submitted a video recording of the pu­ blic meeting, alleged that

Mr. Rao was using religion to secure votes and instigating the public at large against

the nation as a whole. He wanted the EC to initiate ap­ propriate action against Mr. Rao and also cancel the re­ cognition granted to the Te­ langana Rashtra Samithi for violation of the poll code. The EC, in its show­cause notice, said the MCC man­ dates that no party or candi­ date should indulge in any activity which could aggra­ vate existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tension between diffe­ rent castes and communi­ ties, religious or linguistic. The MCC prohibited appeal to communal feelings for se­ curing votes. The EC said it had ob­ tained the English version of the speech as also a factual report from the Chief Electo­ ral Officer of Telangana. It had examined the English version of the speech before arriving at the decision to serve the notice.

Mani’s body brought to Kottayam

STAFF REPORTER

KOTTAYAM

Kerala Congress (M) chair­ man K.M. Mani made his fi­ nal journey to Kottayam,

where his body was kept for the people to pay homage on Wednesday night. The hearse, accompa­ nied by a huge convoy, in­ cluding family members, travelled from the hospital

in Kochi to Kottayam town,

even as hundreds thronged

the route to catch a glimpse

of the departed leader.

As the convoy reached Appanchira, near Vaikom, in the evening, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan reached the spot and paid his last res­ pects to the KC(M) patriarch. The procession reached Kaduthuruthy by 6.15 p.m.

HC closes bar bribery case

Special Correspondent

KOCHI

The Kerala High Court has ended the proceedings against Kerala Congress (M) chairman K.M. Mani in the bar bribery case following his death.

The petitions filed by V.S. Achuthanandan and Biju Ramesh and an appeal filed by Mr. Mani against an order of the vigilance court ordering further probe in the case were pending before the High Court.

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where Speaker Sreeram­ krishnan, veteran CPI(M)

leader and former Chief Mi­ nister V.S. Achuthanandan, Ministers Kadannappally Ra­ machandran, E. Chandra­ sekharan, A.K. Saseendran, and Muslim League leader K.P.A. Majeed paid homage to the leader. The affection and popu­

larity Mr. Mani enjoyed among the people of Kot­ tayam district was on dis­ play as hundreds, including his party workers, lined up on both sides of the route. Mr. Mani will be accorded full State honours during the funeral ceremony to be held in Pala on Thursday afternoon.

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6 NATION

DELHI THE HINDU

THURSDAY, APRIL 11, 2019

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IN BRIEF

IN BRIEF Swine flu death toll rises to 57 in Indore INDORE With the

Swine flu death toll rises to 57 in Indore

INDORE

With the death of a woman due to swine flu on Wednesday, the number of people who have fallen prey to the H1N1 virus has reached 57 in Indore in Madhya Pradesh in the last 100 days, a Health department officer said. The 65-year-old woman died at a private hospital. PTI

Missing man found dead in U.P.’s Shamli

MUZAFFARNAGAR (U.P.)

The body of a 23-year-old man, who had been missing for a day, was found at a village in Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli district, police said on Wednesday. Arun Kumar was found dead in a field in Unn village on Tuesday, Jhinjhana SHO O.P. Choudhary said. PTI

1 killed, 15 injured in accident in U.P.

PRATAPGARH (U.P.)

One person was killed and 15 others were injured on Wednesday when a light commercial vehicle overturned in Uttar Pradesh’s Pratapgarh district, the police said. The LCV was carrying devotees to Sheetlan Dham temple when the accident occurred, ASP Shivji Shukla said. The LCV driver apparently dozed off, the police said. PTI

616.5 kg silver seized in Rajasthan; 6 held

JAIPUR

Six people were detained on Wednesday after 616.5 kg silver was found in their possession during inspections at check posts in Rajasthan’s Rajasamand and Sirohi districts, the police said. Five people travelling in a car on the Nathdwara-Jaipur State Highway were intercepted with 600 kg silver ornaments, and in Sirohi, a man was detained with 16.5 kg silver during an inspection of a private bus, the police said. PTI

In Lakhimpur, what’s Left is Right

Several leaders with a communist past have joined the BJP here over the last three years

RAHUL KARMAKAR

DHEMAJI

CPI(M) candidate Amiya Ku­ mar Handique, 65, received only 2.05% of the votes in the 2016 by­election to the Lak­ himpur Lok Sabha consti­ tuency. Pradan Baruah of the BJP won the bypoll after Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had vacated the seat. The CPI(M) has fielded Mr. Handique again, hoping the Leftist past of the constituen­ cy — its eastern half in partic­ ular — would catch up with the Rightist present. This half comprising Dhemaji dis­ trict is almost always the worst hit by annual floods in Assam.

Former ULFA bastion The rest of the constituency is divided among Lakhimpur district, “island” district Ma­ juli, and a part of Tinsukia district that houses Jerai Chokolibhoria, the village of the outlawed United Libera­ tion Front of Asom’s military chief Paresh Baruah as well as the outfit’s general secre­ tary Anup Chetia.

as well as the outfit’s general secre­ tary Anup Chetia. Jarman Doley of Dighiri Chapori in

Jarman Doley of Dighiri Chapori in front of his new house.

RAHUL KARMAKAR

*

Much of the areas under Lakhimpur constituency sustained the Maoism­in­ spired ULFA for a long time. The constituency was also responsible for its slide, be­ ginning with the killing of ru­ ral development activist San­ joy Ghose in Majuli in July 1997. The outfit still enjoyed local support until it set off a bomb in Dhemaji town and killed 13 people, including 10 schoolchildren, during the Independence Day function in 2004. The initial resistance to the ULFA, though, was from the United Reservation

Movement Council of Assam in the late 1980s. Backed by the CPI(ML), it was led by Ra­ noj Pegu, a doctor who later formed the Ganashakti party before becoming a BJP legis­ lator two years ago. Several other leaders with a communist past joined the BJP over the last three years. “Communication pro­ blems and farm losses due to floods were the main reasons why communism flourished in these parts,” said Manoj Pegu, a tea planter whose shopping complex in Dhe­ maji town is named after his son Lenin.

SC Collegium recommends 5 new Chief Justices of HCs

Press Trust of India

New Delhi

The Supreme Court Collegi­ um has recommended names of five judges for ap­ pointment as the Chief Jus­ tices in Rajasthan, Kerala, Meghalaya, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh High Courts. The five names are Delhi HC Judge Justice S. Ravindra Bhat, Kerala HC Judge Justice P.R. Ramachandra Menon, Punjab and Haryana HC Judge Justice A.K. Mittal, Al­ lahabad HC Judge Justice Vikram Nath and Bombay

Mittal, Al­ lahabad HC Judge Justice Vikram Nath and Bombay HC Judge Justice A.S. Oka. The

HC Judge Justice A.S. Oka. The Collegium recom­ mended the appointment of Justice Bhat after noting that the office of the Chief Justice of the Rajasthan High Court has fallen vacant after the re­ cent transfer of Justice Pra­ deep Nandrajog to the Bom­

bay High Court. “While making the above recommendation, the Colle­ gium is conscious of the fact that consequent upon the proposed appointment, there will be three Chief Jus­ tices from Delhi High Court, which has the special dis­ tinction of being the High Court for the National Capi­ tal,” the Collegium said. The decision was taken by the Collegium, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justices S.A. Bobde, N.V. Ramana, on Monday.

#70929

The BJP has been show­ casing two bridges — the 9.76 km Dhola­Sadiya, India’s lon­ gest, and the 4.94 km Bogi­ beel, India’s longest rail­road bridge — completed during “Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tenure” as an exam­ ple of connecting remote, backward parts of the consti­ tuency to the country’s deve­ lopment grid. The two bridg­ es are located within the constituency.

Claims, counter-claims “Much of these projects were completed during the Congress tenure,” Anil Bor­ gohain, Lakhimpur’s Con­ gress candidate said, accus­ ing the BJP and its right­wing affiliates of intimidating and attacking him and party workers during the cam­ paign that ended on Tuesday. The BJP’s sitting MP is confident of retaining his seat because of the party’s focus on improved commu­ nication. “We have also been addressing the issue of floods,” said Mr. Pradan Baruah.

But at Dighiri Chapori, barely 10 km east of Dhemaji town, the likes of 49­year­old farmer Jarman Doley know it would take a lot more than promises to undo the dam­ age done by the Jiadhol, a tributary of the Brahmapu­ tra. Sand deposited by the river over the years has bu­ ried paddy fields and houses in six villages in the area. The sand­induced barrenness led to Dighiri Chapori and sever­ al other patches in the district. “About 100 of some 240 families have built new chang­ghars (houses on stilts) that are 20­25 ft above the original level. This hap­ pened in the last three years. The BJP has promised the rest of us more houses as well as roads,” he said. The other candidates — 11 apart from the BJP’s — too have assured a solution to their perennial problem. They include Hem Kanta Mi­ ri of Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist) and Arup Kalita of CPI, underlining the Left Front’s bid to regain lost ground.

May tie up with like-minded parties: Dushyant Chautala

Press Trust of India

Chandigarh

Jannayak Janta Party leader Dushyant Chautala on Wed­ nesday said that his party was in the process of forging an alliance with “like­mind­ ed outfits” to contest the Lok Sabha poll and an announ­ cement in this regard will be made within four days. The Hisar MP said a three­ member panel of the JJP, that includes K.C Bangar, S.S. Kadian and State unit chief Nishan Singh, has pre­ pared a report which will be discussed with party patron Ajay Chautala, who will take

a final call on the tie­up

issue. He indicated that the Aam Aadmi Party could be on board among the like­mind­ ed parties, while some smaller outfits, which may not put up candidates to

fight the election, could also

be among those who extend

support to the JJP. Mr. Dushyant Chautala said only one member from

his family will be contesting the general election. “Within four days, we will come out with details and make an announcement ,”

he said.

Weather Watch Rainfall, temperature & air quality in select metros yesterday Temperature Data: IMD, Pollution
Weather Watch
Rainfall, temperature & air quality in select metros yesterday
Temperature Data: IMD, Pollution Data: CPCB, Map: INSAT/IMD (Taken at 18.00 Hrs)
Forecast for Thursday: Heat Wave conditions likely at isolated
pockets over west Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Thunderstorm
accompanied with hail/gusty winds/lightning likely at isolated
places over Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand,
interior Karnataka, Kerala and coastal Andhra Pradesh
city
rain
max
min
city
rain
max
min
Agartala
29.6
17.8
Kozhikode
35.6
26.6
Ahmedabad
40.6
24.3
Kurnool
41.7
28.0
Aizawl
23
31.1
15.5
Lucknow
36.8
22.8
Allahabad
39.3
24.0
Madurai
39.6
26.2
Bengaluru
36.0
22.8
Mangaluru
36.0
25.6
Bhopal
40.0
24.2
Mumbai
33.1
23.6
Bhubaneswar
37.0
23.9
Mysuru
35.6
20.8
Chandigarh
37.0
21.6
New Delhi
38.7
20.0
Chennai
34.8
28.3
Patna
34.0
21.0
Coimbatore
39.0
25.2
Port Blair
33.2
25.6
Dehradun
33.0
17.3
Puducherry
34.8
27.0
Gangtok
4.7
19.2
10.3
Pune
39.8
18.0
Goa
33.4
24.4
Raipur
41.6
25.2
Guwahati
5.4
30.8
18.6
Ranchi
36.6
20.5
Hubballi
36.0
21.0
Shillong
21.8
20.9
11.0
Hyderabad
38.9
24.3
Shimla
24.7
13.4
Imphal
3.8
26.9
12.5
Srinagar
2.4
23.5
10.0
Jaipur
40.0
25.2
Trivandrum
36.6
26.4
Kochi
7.7
34.0
25.8
Tiruchi
39.7
28.0
Kohima
8.6
20.6
10.5
Vijayawada
38.7
26.2
Kolkata
23.4
32.1
20.1
Visakhapatnam
33.6
27.6
(Rainfall data in mm; temperature in Celsius)
Pollutants in the air you are breathing
Yesterday
CITIES
SO2
NO2 CO PM2.5 PM10 CODE
Ahmedabad
8
.62
34
113
*
In observation made at
4.00 p.m., Muzaffarnagar,
Bengaluru
2
.39
73
145
*
Uttar Pradesh recorded an
Chennai
6
.27
38
117
*
Delhi
41
131
94
262
.322
*
Hyderabad
2
.68
24
106
.118
*
Kolkata
5
.75
16
66
76
*
Lucknow
20
.38
48
282
*
Mumbai
29
.23
87
25
52
*
Pune
31
.15
32
68
85
*
overall air quality index
(AQI) score of 297
indicating an unhealthy
level of pollution. In
contrast,
Rajamahendravaram, Andhra
Pradesh recorded a healthy
AQI score of 55
Visakhapatnam
8
.30
30
58
97
*
Air Quality Code: * Poor * Moderate * Good (Readings indicate average AQI)
SO2: Sulphur Dioxide. Short-term exposure can harm the respiratory system,
making breathing difficult. It can affect visibility by reacting with other air
particles to form haze and stain culturally important objects such as statues
and monuments.
NO2: Nitrogen Dioxide. Aggravates respiratory illness, causes haze to form by
reacting with other air particles, causes acid rain, pollutes coastal waters.
CO: Carbon monoxide. High concentration in air reduces oxygen supply to
critical organs like the heart and brain. At very high levels, it can cause
dizziness, confusion, unconsciousness and even death.
PM2.5 & PM10: Particulate matter pollution can cause irritation of the eyes,
nose and throat, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath, reduced
lung function, irregular heartbeat, asthma attacks, heart attacks and
premature death in people with heart or lung disease

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THE HINDU DELHI

THURSDAY, APRIL 11, 2019

NATION

7

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IN BRIEF DMK alliance is opportunistic, says CM PERAMBALUR

IN BRIEF

IN BRIEF DMK alliance is opportunistic, says CM PERAMBALUR Dubbing

DMK alliance is opportunistic, says CM

PERAMBALUR

Dubbing the DMK led alliance as “opportunistic”, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Wednesday said that ideologically contradictory parties had come together for political gains. Canvassing votes for AIADMK candidates N.R. Sivapathi (Perambalur) and P. Chandrasekar (Chindambaram), he said the Congress and Communist parties who were bitter rivals in Kerala, were seeking votes together in Tamil Nadu.

10 women labourers killed as soil caves in

HYDERABAD

Ten women labourers were buried alive when loose soil and boulders fell on them while they were taking rest after working on a field at Teeleru village of Marikal mandal in Narayanpet district in Telangana on Wednesday. Sources said 30 women were working as part of the land development programme on the village outskirts. Later, when they gathered to take rest, soil and boulders suddenly fell on them.

Dalai Lama’s health condition stable

NEW DELHI

Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama admitted at Max Hospital, Saket in Delhi on Tuesday is “doing much better but still needs hospital care,” said a statement issued by his close aide. “We hope he will be discharged in few days,” he added. Sources close to the 83­year­old leader said that he was flown into the capital after he complained of “cough”.

Four arrested for assault on Assam 'beef' seller

GUWAHATI

Four people have been arrested for assaulting Shaukat Ali, an alleged beef seller, in northeastern Assam's Biswanath Chariali on Sunday. The arrests were made based on a viral video, in which the man was force­ fed what is said to be pork. “I have told the SP not to relent until all the troublemakers are caught. We will not tolerate people taking law into their hands,” said DGP Kuladhar Saikia.

INTERVIEW | P. CHIDAMBARAM

‘Mayawati may agree to a post-poll alliance with Congress’

Will score a surprising victory over the BJP in U.P., says the Congress leader

B. Kolappan

Former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, who played a pivotal role in drafting the Congress manifesto, as- serted that while BSP leader Mayawati had been unwilling to forge a prepoll alliance with the party, she would likely be willing to forge a post-poll alliance once the results come in. Mr. Chidambaram, who was holding the Home portfolio when the Mumbai terror attacks happened, also said the BJP government had created a ‘war-like’ situation between India and Pakistan. Edited excerpts:

tens India’s integrity and so­ vereignty. Does Mr. Modi know that there is an act called Defence of India Act? Does he know there is an act known as Unlawful Activities Prevention Act? As far as AF­ SPA is concerned, we have stated categorically that im­ munity under the Act will not be available in three sit­ uations: Enforced disappea­ rance or encounters, sexual violence, and torture. I want to ask Mr. Modi and Mr. Jait­ ley: do they support en­ forced disappearance, sex­ ual violence and torture? If, unfortunately, a member of the Armed Forces commits these offences should he be provided immunity? Be­ sides, human rights are as important as security.

While the Congress promises ₹6,000 per month for people living below poverty line, the BJP manifesto promises pension for farmers, small traders, workers in the unorganised sector.

The difference is that our proposal is specific while the BJP’s is vague. Take for ex­ ample, pension for farmers who have crossed 60 years.

A person who has crossed 60

years of age, whether he is a

farmer or not, is covered un­ der the Old Age Pension (OAP) scheme. What does the BJP promise? Is the BJP

Pension (OAP) scheme. What does the BJP promise? Is the BJP < > How do you

<> How do you say the country is more secure today?

P. Chidambaram

Former Finance Minister

saying that in addition to the OAP, which a person above 60 years is getting, farmers’ pension will be given? There is no clarity in the BJP’s ma­ nifesto. As for the pension for the unorganised sector, which they announced about two months ago, it is not a new promise. What they failed to say is that the person concerned has to make a contribution until he reaches 60 years of age. The first payout will come after 20 years from to­

day. So, they are promising that a person will get the pension in 2039. In 2039 there will be neither Mr. Mo­ di nor Mr. Jaitley! The pen­

sion you are giving him today is nothing.

Poll surveys point to the BJP doing well in the north, central and western India.

Patel to Mr. Prasad’s sons to senior advocate Ram Jeth­ malani, who visited him in his ward for the past one year. The CBI said Mr. Prasad had been conducting his “political activities” from his ward. “If he was so unwell that he could not spend even a day in jail, how has he now become, all of a sudden, hale and hearty to seek bail in or­ der to ‘guide’ his political party through the coming Lok Sabha elections,” the CBI asked. The agency reminded the court that Mr. Prasad has been found guilty in four of the six fodder scam cases in which he has been named accused. Two of the remain­ ing cases are under trial.

The Congress has not been able to knit together an alliance in Uttar Pradesh.

I don’t believe in surveys. India’s Lok Sabha elections are a collection of 30 elec­ tions. In about 10 States, the Congress is the challenger to the BJP and we will do well in those States. In 10 other States, the regional parties are a challenger to the BJP and the regional parties will do well in those States. Another 10 are small States. Therefore, do not declare the results of elections based on surveys. In U.P., you will be sur­ prised that the BSP­SP al­ liance is strong and the Con­ gress is also contesting in the seats where it is strong and we will score a surprising vic­ tory over the BJP. We made it clear that we wanted a pre­ poll alliance. Unfortunately, Ms. Mayawati was not willing to consider that. The day be­ fore yesterday Jyotiraditya Scindia expressed confi­ dence that there would be a post­poll alliance. It is possi­ ble that after the results, Ms. Mayawati will see the writing on the wall and agree to a post­poll alliance.

It looks as if the Congress is interested only in maximising its own tally so that others will come after it after the polls unlike the BJP that made adjustments and

NIA arrests

JKLF chief

Yasin Malik

special correspondent

Srinagar

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednes­ day arrested separatist leader and JKLF chief Yasin Malik after a special court granted his 13­day custody to the probe agency. It also questioned Hurri­ yat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq for the third consecutive day in New Delhi. According to an NIA spo­ kesman, Mr. Malik, chief of the banned Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, was arrested on Wednes­ day in the alleged J&K “ter­ ror funding” case.

ised access to the personal information such as Aad­ haar, PAN, transaction etc. of the public.” The petition has asked the court for a direction to con­ duct a comprehensive com­ pliance audit of the Google India Digital Services Private Limited for its alleged “un­ authorised operation in In­ dia as Payment and Settle­ ment Systems under the provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act,

2007.”

compromises with its allies on seat­sharing.

Again, this is a myth. The BJP does not exist in Tamil Nadu. It is the AIADMK which has been generous to give the BJP five seats when it deserves nothing, or, one. So, the BJP actually extracted five seats from the AIADMK. We have been extremely flex­ ible. In Tamil Nadu, we have settled for 9 seats though last time we contested in 15. We realised that the DMK must contest at least in 20 seats. They are actually contesting in 20 plus seats. In Maha­ rashtra, we have shared equally 48 seats with the NCP and we have given seats to al­ lies from our quota. In Kar­ nataka, we gave the seats the JD(S) asked for and they sur­ rendered one seat to us. So, we were quite liberal in the original offer. In Kerala there is a time­tested formula. We were able to arrive at happy settlements in Bihar and Jharkhand. How can you say that the Congress is not flexi­ ble?

Do you think that Mr. Rahul Gandhi has antagonised the Communists in Kerala with his decision to contest from the Wayanad constituency?

Please understand that there are 20 seats in Kerala and in all the 20 seats, the LDF led by the CPI(M) is

Krishnadas Rajagopal

NEW DELHI

The government’s electoral bonds scheme for political funding has legalised ano­ nymity, the Election Com­ mission of India told the Su­ preme Court on Wednesday, reiterating its strong stand against electo­ ral bonds. The poll panel said such bonds protect the identity of political donors and par­ ties receiving the contribu­ tions. Donors who contri­ bute less than ₹20,000 to political parties through purchase of electoral bonds need not provide their iden­ tity details like PAN. “This anonymity must go,” the ECI told a Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ran­ jan Gogoi. Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi said the “right to vote means making an in­ formed choice.” “Knowing your candidate is only half the exercise. Pe­ ople should know the politi­ cal parties who fund them. More important to know the principal than the agent,” Mr. Dwivedi submitted. Initially, the ECI attempt­ ed a balancing act of sorts by saying that, “We are not against electoral bonds as such… We are only opposed

fighting the UDF led by the Congress. If Mr. Rahul Gand­ hi did not contest in Waya­ nad, another Congress can­ didate would have contested there. The name of the Con­ gress candidate is Rahul Gandhi. I do not understand the argument of the Left par­ ties at all.

From the Congress stand on the Sabarimala controversy in Kerala to Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s temple visits as part of her campaign in U.P., the party seems to be playing a soft Hindutva line. Is the Congress worried about being seen as a pro­minority party and anticipate a possible backlash from the majority community?

This is a biased question.

Five years ago the media ac­ cused the Congress of being

a Muslim party and an anti­

Hindu party. Today if some

of our leaders, during their tour, are invited by local peo­ ple or party workers to visit a temple, that becomes ques­ tionable. When Mr. Modi vi­ sits a temple, when Mr. Amit Shah visits a temple, that is considered normal. When Mr. Rahul Gandhi or Ms. Pri­ yanka Gandhi visit a temple,

it is considered abnormal. I

do not approve of the double standards of the media. (Read the full interview here: http://bit.ly/Chidamba- ramIntw)

The BJP’s main point is that it is better at handling issues of national and internal security. The issue seems to find resonance in a post­ Pulwama scenario.

It is a complete myth. Bet­ ween 2004 and 2014, the country was completely safe under Dr. Manmohan Singh’s government. There was no war between Pakistan and India and there was no ‘war­ like’ situation. The borders were secure, infiltration came down and civilian and security forces’ casualties came down drastically. The numbers will tell the story. Under Mr. Modi’s govern­ ment, the number of infiltra­ tions has risen, the number of infiltrators has risen and the numbers of casualties of both civilian and security forces have risen. There is an almost war­ like situation between India and Pakistan. People living in

border villages were evacuat­ ed and I am told that 30,000 families have been evacuat­ ed. How do you say the coun­ try is more secure today? There is more chest thump­ ing and there are more boasts. But I do not think the country is more secure today.

The Congress manifesto has been criticised for promising to amend the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) and for scrapping the sedition provisions in IPC.

It is because neither Mr. Narendra Modi nor Mr. Arun Jaitley have read the manifes­ to. If either of them has read the manifesto, I charge them with lying. On sedition, we have said the colonial provi­ sion must go because there are adequate laws made by the Indian Parliament to deal with any situation that threa­

SC refuses to grant bail to Lalu

CBI says ‘he has managed to avoid jail time’

Legal Correspondent

NEW DELHI

The Supreme Court on Wed­ nesday refused to grant bail to Rashtriya Janata Dal lead­ er Lalu Prasad in a fodder scam case. “We don’t think we will re­ lease you on bail,” Chief Jus­ tice Ranjan Gogoi told Mr. Prasad’s counsel and senior advocate Kapil Sibal. The CJI said Mr. Prasad had been convicted in four different corruption cases. The Bench asked why Mr. Prasad should not approach the High Court concerned.

why Mr. Prasad should not approach the High Court concerned. The order comes a day af­

The order comes a day af­ ter the CBI said that “Mr. Pra­ sad did not deserve bail as he had managed to avoid jail time and was already living out of a special paying ward

equipped with all facilities.” The 39­page counter to Mr. Prasad’s plea for bail re­ produces a list of high­pro­ file persons, ranging from Congress politician Ahmed

#70929

Anonymity of poll bonds must go: EC

‘They protect the identity of donors’

bonds must go: EC ‘They protect the identity of donors’ The Election Commission office in New

The Election Commission office in New Delhi. * REUTERS

to anonymity.” But Chief Justice Gogoi made Mr. Dwivedi read out from the ECI affidavit and a letter it wrote to the govern­ ment in May 2017, calling the lack of transparency in the electoral bonds system as a “retrogade step.” Mr. Dwivedi said the country, through court rul­ ings and electoral reforms, had taken a step forward from the era of huge cash transactions, but anonymity in electoral bonds is like “two steps backwards.” “We are concerned with the amendments brought to the Representation of the People Act . Political parties should put it (information on donations) on their web­ sites so people get to know,” Mr. Dwivedi submitted.

How can Google Pay operate without authorisation, asks HC

Plea sought immediate end to its operation

Staff Reporter

New Delhi

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the Re­ serve Bank of India how could Google’s mobile pay­ ment app, Google Pay, oper­ ate in India as a payment transaction system without the requisite authorisation.

Mehbooba, Omar hold rallies against highway ban

Special correspondent

Srinagar

National Conference vice­ president Omar Abdullah and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehboo­ ba Mufti on Wednesday held separate protest ral­ lies against the government diktat restricting civilian traffic on the Baramulla­ Udhampur national high­ way on Sundays and Wed­ nesdays every week till May 31. Leading a protest march and a sit­in at Pantha Chowk near the highway, Mr. Abdullah termed the directive a ‘Tughlaqi far- maan’. “The decisions in J&K to­ day are being driven more by ego than by logic and it is vanity that is stopping this order from being with­ drawn,” said the former Chief Minister.

A Bench of Chief Justice

Rajendra Menon and Justice

A.J. Bhambhani issued not­ ice to the RBI and Google In­ dia on a petition seeking di­ rection to the tech giant to immediately stop Google Pay services in India. The petition filed by Abhi­ jit Mishra, who claims to be an economist, said Google Pay did not figure in the list of ‘Payment System Opera­ tors’ authorised by the RBI.

It pointed out that the

RBI’s April 2018 Master Cir­

RBI. It pointed out that the RBI’s April 2018 Master Cir­ The High Court issued notices

The High Court issued notices to RBI, Google India.

cular on Storage of Payment System Data mandated that

“all system providers shall ensure that the entire data

relating to payment systems operated by them are stored

in a system only in India.”

“Google Pay, being an un­ registered entity to the Pay­ ment and Settlement Sys­

tems Act 2007, is not in compliance with the require­ ments and the RBI’s Master Circular,” the petition said. The petition said Google Pay was using NPCI’s (Na­ tional Payments Corporation

of India) BHIM unified pay­

ments Interface (BHIM UPI)

for money transfers.

“Google Pay by the virtue of unauthorised access to the

BHIM – Unified Payments In­ terface – can have serious ef­ fect on the privacy and per­ sonal liberty of Indian citizens as the data might be stored in servers located out­ side India,” it contended. The petition said Google India was doing “business as Google Pay though its un­ authorised operation in In­

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8 EDITORIAL

DELHI THE HINDU

THURSDAY, APRIL 11, 2019

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Rafale rebuff Supreme Court’s decision exposes attempts to de-legitimise investigative journalism T he Supreme
Rafale rebuff
Supreme Court’s decision exposes attempts
to de-legitimise investigative journalism
T he Supreme Court’s decision to consider the rele­
vance of the documents published in the media
on the Rafale deal is a firm and necessary rebuff
to the Central government’s attempts to prevent judi­
cial examination of these papers and to de­legitimise all
investigative journalism on the subject. The court’s un­
animous verdict, rendered in two concurring orders by
a three­judge Bench, means that review petitions filed
against earlier orders declining an investigation into the
purchase of Rafale jets will now be taken up on merits
and that the petitioners are free to rely on these docu­
ments, regardless of their provenance. These docu­
ments include those published by The Hindu. A dissent­
ing note by members of the India Negotiating Team,
and notes that disclose unease in the Defence Ministry
over parallel negotiations at the PMO’s instance under­
mining the official parleys are among them. It would
have been a travesty had the government succeeded in
blocking judicial scrutiny of these documents, as they
disclose significant details about the decision­making
process. The government’s desperate attempts to pre­
vent the court from relying on these papers included a
claim of privilege under the Evidence Act, a threat of in­
voking the Official Secrets Act (OSA) and an accusation
that the published documents were “stolen” ones. La­
ter, it toned down the allegation by saying the original
documents had not been stolen, and what were pu­
blished were unauthorised photocopies. None of these
claims impressed the court, which relied on the princi­
ple that how a piece of evidence is obtained is immate­
rial, as long as it is relevant to adjudicating an issue.
The decision on the admissibility of the documents
has significance beyond the Rafale issue: it revivifies the
rights of a free press and underscores the principle that
it is public interest, and not the content of a document
alone, that will decide whether disclosure is needed or
not in a given case. Referring to the publication of the
Rafale documents in The Hindu, Chief Justice Ranjan
Gogoi observed that “the right of such publication
would seem to be in consonance with the constitutional
guarantee of freedom of speech”. Citing the U.S. Su­
preme Court decision on the Pentagon Papers, he not­
ed that neither the OSA nor any other law vests any
power in the executive to stop publication of docu­
ments marked ‘secret’ or the placing of such docu­
ments before a court of law which may be called upon
to adjudicate a legal issue. It is premature to conclude,
based on this development, that the court’s earlier deci­
sion to not order a criminal investigation into the pur­
chase of 36 Rafale jets will be revisited. However, it will
certainly help provide clarity on several aspects of the
murky deal. Had the government agreed to a parlia­
mentary probe early on, it would not be suffering the
sort of setback it has now faced in the Supreme Court.
Dantewada ambush
As polling begins in Chhattisgarh,
a brutal reminder of the Maoist challenge
T he Election Commission has taken the correct de­
cision to go ahead with the first phase of polling,
on Thursday, in the Lok Sabha election in Chhat­
tisgarh after the deadly Maoist attack in Dantewada on
Tuesday. Maoists struck at a convoy in Dantewada,
which comes under the Bastar parliamentary consti­
tuency, and killed Bhima Mandavi, the BJP MLA from
Dantewada, and four security personnel. The aim was
clearly to disrupt the electoral process, and it will be vi­
tal for the administration to ensure polling without fear
of violence. Equally grimly, the attack underlines the
reality that for all the reverses they have suffered in the
past few years, the Maoists retain their ability to pick
and choose targets. Initial reports suggest that an im­
provised explosive device blew up the lead vehicle in
Mandavi’s two­vehicle convoy, and the second then
came under gunfire from the Maoists who had laid the
ambush. A speedy inquiry should clarify the facts of the
incident, but it is reported that the BJP legislator may
have been complacent, choosing to ignore the police
advice that he take along additional security cover that
was available to him. However, these early details also
show that in terms of intelligence the attackers man­
aged to be one step ahead, despite the heavy security
bandobast in the area in light of the Lok Sabha election.
Given that it is difficult to fully secure a State with a
history of violent attacks, it is important that adequate
measures be put in place to protect the candidates in
the fray, over 160 of them, for the 11 Lok Sabha consti­
tuencies that will go to the polls in three phases, on
April 11, 18 and 23. After the relatively peaceful conduct
of the Assembly elections in the State late last year, it
would have signalled a precipitous slide if the electoral
process in Chhattisgarh were to be disrupted now.
Beyond security for the peaceful conduct of elections,
the latest attack highlights the need for the security
forces to keep updating their standard operating proce­
dures. It is also a call for the civil administration to keep
extending its reach in the forests of central India, espe­
cially Bastar. Even as the security forces stare down the
Maoist threat, the political and administrative respons­
es are crucial. In most of the violence­hit regions of In­
dia, responsibility for security has been passed on to
the paramilitary forces in abundant measure. The ca­
pacities of the State police need to be addressed. Local
communities, in turn, have to be reassured that the
fight against Maoism is also a political one. The Maoist
argument lost its potency long ago. But the difficult task
of addressing people’s aspirations and concerns, espe­
cially about exploitation and alienation from their lands
in the face of extractive policies in their resource­rich
habitat, must be pursued on a war footing.

Trickeries of the money bill

The judgment in the tribunals case could have a profound bearing on India’s constitutional arrangements

a profound bearing on India’s constitutional arrangements Suhrith Parthasarathy T he Supreme Court has now heard
a profound bearing on India’s constitutional arrangements Suhrith Parthasarathy T he Supreme Court has now heard

Suhrith Parthasarathy

T he Supreme Court has now heard oral arguments in Re- venue Bar Association (RBA)

v. Union of India, in which the va­ lidity of the Finance Act of 2017, in­ sofar as it affects the structure and functioning of various judicial tri­ bunals, is under challenge. At first blush, a dispute over the apparent inscrutabilities of a tribunal’s working might strike us as uninter­ esting and, perhaps, even unim­ portant. But, as the RBA’s argu­ ments show us, how the court decides the case will likely have a profound bearing on India’s con­ stitutional arrangements.

Untrammelled power Ordinarily, the Finance Act, which is enacted at the beginning of ev­ ery accounting year, seeks to give effect to the government’s fiscal policies. In 2017, however, the state wielded the statute like a blunderbuss. It not only set the fis­ cal agenda for the year ahead but it also toppled the existing regime governing the working of 26 diffe­ rent judicial bodies. Until recently, each of these panels was governed by a separate statute, and those laws individually contained a set of principles providing for, among other things, the criteria em­ ployed to select and remove mem­ bers to and from these bodies, and for salaries, allowances and other such service conditions of the members. But, in one fell swoop, the Fi­ nance Act not only abolished some of the tribunals but also alto­ gether repealed the standards pro­ vided in the different statutes. In their place, the law vested in the Central government an absolute,

untrammelled power to make rules to effectively govern the op­ eration of the tribunals. The petitioners argued that this move runs sharply athwart judicial independence. The new law, in their belief, deputed to the execu­ tive what was really an essential le­ gislative function. Many of these tribunals, which included the Na­ tional Green Tribunal (NGT), the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, the National Company Law Appel­ late Tribunal, and the Industrial Disputes Tribunal, they pointed out, performed roles that were ori­ ginally undertaken by the higher judiciary. To assign to the execu­ tive’s whims the task of establish­ ing the criteria employed in select­ ing members to the panels and to provide for the members’ service conditions was, therefore, perni­ cious to the basic principle of sep­ aration of powers. Consider one of the consequences. Despite the Su­ preme Court’s previous ruling that the chairperson of a judicial tribu­ nal ought to be equivalent to the Chief Justice of the high courts, as a result of the rules now made in furtherance of the Finance Act, in 13 different tribunals, a person who is merely qualified to be ap­ pointed as a judge of a high court can be selected as the presiding of­ ficer. The RBA’s case, though, goes beyond questions concerning de­ legation of power. Of equal con­ cern is the enactment of these stipulations through the wangled mechanism of the Finance Act. Substantive matters concerning the governing of tribunals, one would think, can scarcely be con­ sidered as a fiscal measure. Yet the draft law which introduced these provisions was classified as a mo­ ney bill, and the sanction of the Rajya Sabha was altogether dodged. Although this too might appear on first glimpse to be a quarrel over esoteric matters of procedure, the consequences are enormous, travelling, as they do,

GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO
GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

to the heart of India’s democratic

apparatus.

The need for the minutiae In B.R. Ambedkar’s vision, the Constitution embodied not only a charter of rights but also a founda­ tion for republican governance. His worries that democracy in In­ dia was “only a top­dressing on an

Indian soil, which is essentially un­ democratic”, saw him lay stress on

a need to diffuse constitutional

morality among India’s citizens. Citing the classical historian, Ge­

orge Grote, while moving the draft Constitution on November 4, 1948, Ambedkar said constitution­

al morality had to be seen as repre­

senting “a paramount reverence for the forms of the Constitution”. Since such reverence had to be cultivated, he thought it impera­ tive that the Constitution com­ mend the minutiae of administra­ tion rather than leave such matters purely to the legislature’s wisdom. In the absence of such prescrip­ tions, democracy, he feared, would wallow in decline. The Constitution’s verbosity has been a source of antipathy to many. Too long, too rigid, too pro­ lix, Sir Ivor Jennings, a preeminent British constitutional expert, re­ portedly said, of the document, in

a lecture delivered at the Universi­

ty of Madras in 1951. But only years

later Jennings was lauding India for representing the region’s most successful constitutional experi­ ment. This volte face, as it hap­ pened, was occasioned by those provisions of administrative intri­ cacies, which Jennings had initial­

ly found so troubling, and which Ambedkar had thought indispen­ sable. And it is those provisions that are today under siege.

Some trickery One such clause, Article 110(1), grants to the Lok Sabha Speaker the authority to certify a draft law as a money bill so long as such le­ gislation deals only with all or any

of the matters specifically listed in the provision. These include sub­ jects such as the imposition or abolition of a tax, the declaring of any expenditure to be expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India, and, significantly, also any matter otherwise incidental to the subjects specified in Article 110. The ensuing clause clarifies that a draft law will not be a money bill for the reason that it also pro­

vides for the imposition or aboli­ tion of a tax. In other words, sub­ stantive laws, which are not merely incidental to the subjects enlisted in Article 110(1) cannot be finagled into a bill that also hap­

pens to contain taxing rules. It is precisely such trickery that the pe­ titioners contended the Finance Act of 2017 indulges in. The Union government, for its part, argued that the Speaker of the Lok Sabha was not only cor­ rect in making the classification, but that, in any event, her decision was beyond judicial review. To this end, the government relied on Ar­ ticle 110(3), which states that in cases where a dispute arises over whether a bill is a money bill or not, the Speaker’s decision shall be considered final. But, as the Su­ preme Court has repeatedly held, the finality accorded to the Speak­ er’s decision does not altogether

oust the court’s jurisdiction. The irrevocability of such decisions operate only within the realm of Parliament. For the Constitution expressly vests in the Supreme Court and in the high courts the power to review governmental ac­ tions, and issue prerogative writs

Forcing China’s hand?

The U.S. initiative to have Masood Azhar blacklisted at the UN Security Council marks a new turn

#70929

at the UN Security Council marks a new turn #70929 H arsh V. Pant L ate
at the UN Security Council marks a new turn #70929 H arsh V. Pant L ate

H arsh V. Pant

L ate last month the U.S.

opened another front in its

ongoing multi­pronged tuss­

le with China when it circulated a draft resolution to the powerful 15­ nation UN Security Council (UNSC) on March 27 to blacklist Pa­ kistan­based Jaish­e­Mohammed chief Masood Azhar and subject him to a travel ban, an assets freeze and an arms embargo. It did so knowing full well the Chinese position on the issue as China had put a hold on a French proposal to list Azhar under the 1267 al­Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the Coun­ cil just a few days earlier. Washington has underlined that it would utilise “all available ave­ nues” to ensure that Azhar is held accountable by the UNSC by sug­ gesting that “while we strongly prefer that UNSC designations take place through the committee pro­

cess, the United States and its al­ lies and partners, including those on the… Security Council, will util­ ise all available avenues to ensure that the founder and leader of the UN­designated terrorist organisa­ tion JeM is held accountable by the international community.” China, of course, has reacted strongly to this move by arguing that the U.S. decision to go directly to the UNSC to designate Azhar could scuttle China’s efforts to re­ solve the issue amicably. As per the Chinese spokesperson, “China has been working hard with rele­ vant sides and is making positive results. The U.S. knows that very well. Under such circumstances, the U.S. still insists on pushing the draft resolution, (which) doesn’t make any sense.”

The U.S.-China angle Washington will be aware that Chi­ na would continue to oppose the move but the fact that it is willing to take on China so openly on this issue underscores that it wants to call China out publicly. This was reflected in U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s tweet: “The world cannot afford China’s shameful hy­

GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO
GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

pocrisy toward Muslims. On one

hand, China abuses more than a million Muslims at home, but on the other, it protects violent Islam­

ic

terrorist groups from sanctions

at

the UN.”

France’s proposal to get Azhar listed as a terrorist by the the UN’s

1267 sanctions committee was

scuttled by China despite the move having the support of 14 out

of 15 members. In its zeal to shield

Pakistan, China has used its veto on Azhar’s listing at the 1267 UNSC sanctions committee four times in the past decade. But after the Fe­ bruary 14 Pulwama attack that killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel, for which

the JeM took responsibility, Chi­ nese intransigence has come un­ der the spotlight. After China’s block last month, France moved quickly to impose sanctions on Az­ har, including a freeze on his as­ sets. It is working with its Euro­ pean partners the matter of putting Azhar on a European Un­ ion list of terrorists and terror or­ ganisations. The international community, apart from China, has rallied behind India after Pulwama and has pushed Pakistan to under­ take serious measures to control terrorism emanating from its territory. This has been shaped by India’s

diplomatic outreach over the last

few years in which global support has been sought to reverse Pakis­ tan’s support to terrorist organisa­ tions. But what has given this an added sense of urgency is India’s decision to up the ante after the

Pulwama attacks by taking the fight to the Pakistani territory. This has now put the onus on Pakistan to de­escalate, a reversal of the post­1998 situation where in every India­Pakistan crisis it was New Delhi which was expected to take steps for de­escalation even as ev­

every time those actions exceed the Constitution’s remit. Ultimately, the Speaker derives

her power from the Constitution. In classifying a draft law as a mo­ ney bill, therefore, her decision has to be demonstrably justifiable. An immunity from judicial scruti­ ny would effectively allow the go­ vernment to elude the Rajya Sab­ ha’s constitutional checks by simply having the Speaker classify

a draft law as a money bill regard­

less of whether it, in fact, meets the conditions stipulated in Article 110(1) or not.

From a parliamentary custom The idea behind a money bill is de­ rived from British parliamentary custom. But unlike in Britain, where judicial review of the Speak­ er’s opinion is unambiguously pro­ hibited, in India, Article 110 avoids creating any such bar. Money bills exist simply to ensure that the Ra­ jya Sabha isn’t allowed to bring down a government by refusing it access to the exchequer for every­ day governance. To use it as a means to nullify the Upper Hous­ e’s democratic role in making sub­ stantive legislation denigrates the Constitution’s form which Ambed­ kar and the Constituent Assembly considered inviolate. As the lawyer Gautam Bhatia wrote in these pages (“The impe­ rial cabinet and an acquiescent court”, March 8, 2019), the Su­ preme Court has already squan­ dered at least two opportunities in recent times to provide a sense of sanctity to the Constitution’s care­ fully structured arrangements. The dispute over the Finance Act of 2017, therefore, assumes partic­ ular significance. In deciding the case, the court will do well to pay heed to Ambedkar’s warnings, by recognising that the niceties of constitutional form are not a mat­ ter of trifles.

Suhrith Parthasarathy is an advocate practising at the Madras High Court

ery crisis was precipitated by Pa­

kistan. After every crisis, the inter­ national community, especially the West, would persuade India to ease tensions, and in most cases India relented. The post­Pulwama South Asian strategic equilibrium has shifted as New Delhi has made

it clear that it could not be expect­

ed to look the other way from Pa­

kistani provocations.

Regional peace The latest American move is an unprecedented one, and is not on­ ly aimed at forcing the Chinese hand on Masood Azhar but is also

a recognition of the new regional

context in South Asia where a stronger global attempt to rein in Pakistan is the only viable option of maintaining regional peace. As the U.S. and China prepare the South Asian chessboard, Indian moves have suddenly become the decisive ones and both the powers are calibrating their own moves accordingly.

Harsh V. Pant is Director, Studies at Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi and Professor of International Relations at King’s College London

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Letters emailed to letters@thehindu.co.in must carry the full postal address and the full name or the name with initials.

postal address and the full name or the name with initials. BJP manifesto By taking up

BJP manifesto

By taking up issues of ultra­ nationalism and national security in its manifesto, the Bharatiya Janata Party has devised a clever election strategy (Editorial, “Blinkers on”, April 10). But the Prime Minister’s popularity has dwindled, which opinion polls have highlighted. The Congress’s NYAY scheme, the discouraging job scenario, and the aftermath of the goods and services tax and demonetisation are some of the spoilers. The manifesto is silent on senior citizens who were looked after well under the UPA. In his relentless pursuit of ‘rob Peter to pay Paul principle’, the Finance Minister has drastically reduced interest rates in banks and post offices savings schemes and handed over the spoils to industry to create non­ existent jobs.

Kangayam R. Narasimhan,

Chennai

The promise of a Ram temple in Ayodhya means

the BJP can’t garner votes without invoking the issue (Editorial, “Blinkers on”, April 10); it is a promise that is inimical to democracy and secularism and all the liberal ideals our Constitution subscribes to. From a broader perspective, all political parties do not seem to be focussing enough on protecting the environment from corporate plunder — an issue that affects the livelihood of millions of ordinary and less­privileged people. The Mahatma rightly said that India lives in the villages, but today it is the unchecked pressure of development that is devastating the environment and rural livelihoods.

Sukumaran C.V.,

Palakkad

The manifesto is nothing but a blueprint for a ‘saffron India’. There is enough evidence in the last five years that the ruling party has a penchant to interfere in the independent functioning of Central institutions. Dubious ways of allowing pieces of

legislation without debate in Lok Sabha under the guise of

a ‘money bill’ point to a

regime that has no respect for established conventions. Mob­lynching under the garb of ‘cow­protection’ is another horror bequeathed to the nation. Moves to put down dissent and opinion show that even law­abiding citizens have much to fear.

K. Natarajan,

Madurai

Essentially, there is nothing sacrosanct or legally binding about poll manifestos. There

is little chance that party

manifestos will sway public opinion in an election nor does the average citizen get an opportunity to read them. Pakistan­centric election canvassing will not make Pakistan go away. It is our neighbour and we have to live with that reality. There is

no plan on how any political party will eventually resolve

the thorny relationship. India

is

misinformation campaign largely fuelled by political parties using their back office

under an enormous

cyber cells. This poses a grave challenge to the very

diversity that is India’s unique heritage.

H.N. Ramakrishna,

Bengaluru

Economic woes will weigh on the voter but may not determine the outcome of the Lok Sabha election. The BJP’s main opponent does not have any compelling economic propositions either. And elections are not determined by economics alone. The BJP has the ultimate, powerful weapon —

a Prime Minister who has unmatched oratorical skills and popularity.

C.V. Venugopalan,

Palakkad

The first vote

Nobody needs to teach the people about the valour, s of our defence forces. They already have a lot of gratitude towards our armed forces. Therefore, the Prime

Minister’s appeal to first­time voters is perplexing. It runs the risk of being misconstrued in terms of ‘us

and them’ (Page 1, “Dedicate your first vote to armed forces, Modi tells young voters”, April 10). People should not get carried away by such oratorical appeals, but judge him and his party on the basis of performance.

D. Sethuraman,

Chennai

It is almost as if the armed forces are also contesting the elections. Is this not a blatant violation of the model code of conduct? Not only is our leader attempting to politicise the armed forces but he is also looking at them as a part of goods and services being offered by his party. Prime Ministers will come and go but the armed forces will go on forever.

Abdul Assis P.A.,

Thrissur, Kerala

It is unfair to make an issue out of every utterance and attribute motives. The sacrifices made by our armed forces have never been the talking points during elections. The statement could well be

construed as aimed at invoking the spirit of nationalism in the minds of young voters who are otherwise ignorant of the sacrifices of our armed forces personnel. Requesting voters to dedicate their votes for the country, society and armed forces is way better than asking for votes on a

caste and communal basis, which almost all parties do without any compunction.

V. Subramanian,

Chennai

Emerging concern

I wonder how Indian health authorities are reacting to reports on the spread of a multi­drug resistant fungus, Candida auris, especially in hospital settings. In a country where health­care responses vary and where there is still limited

awareness of the dangers of antibiotic misuse, a central and clear response becomes all the more important.

Shymala Natarajan,

Chennai

more letters online:

www.hindu.com/opinion/letters/

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THE HINDU DELHI

THURSDAY, APRIL 11, 2019

OPED

9

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Notes on the BJP’s manifesto The party is obsessed with

Notes on the BJP’s manifesto

The party is obsessed with technological fixes to humanitarian problems

obsessed with technological fixes to humanitarian problems Shiv Visvanathan Manifestoes are acts of communica­ tion.
obsessed with technological fixes to humanitarian problems Shiv Visvanathan Manifestoes are acts of communica­ tion.

Shiv Visvanathan

Manifestoes are acts of communica­ tion. They seek to inspire with rhe­ toric. When the BJP’s manifesto was released, I was not sure if the party was even trying to communicate with the people. There is a humour­ less ferocity in the document that makes one wonder about the mind­ set of the communicators. It’s like an exam where the examinee awards himself full marks, regardless of the questions the public is asking. There is an attempt to force the discourse towards what the party is obsessed with rather than answer questions about its performance. To switch metaphors, it reads as though three directors of a board are sending letters to stockholders about profitability. The marginalisation of the stakeholders is obvious. On pag­ es 34 and 35, for instance, minori­ ties, the elderly, the disabled, shop­ keepers, and artisans each get a line not as a statement of concern but as a recognition of their marginality.

A checklist The cover shows Prime Minister Na­ rendra Modi, and the back page fea­ tures Syama Prasad Mookerjee, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya and Atal Bihari Vaj­ payee assuring ideological continui­ t y. If the three letters from Mr. Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, and party president Amit Shah reveal some attempt to communicate, the rest of the document achieves a change in style, which is intriguing. It reveals a checklist, a ‘take it or leave it’ attitude. There is no attempt to even correct typos in the document. One cannot quite figure out if it is in­ difference to quality or the arrogance of a group convinced that it is return­ ing to power, performing an unne­ cessary but unavoidable exercise. Mr. Modi called the elections a fes­ tival of democracy. One wishes the manifesto was an invitation to it. It is clear that Mr. Modi has turned deve­ lopment into a dismal science and he invites us to this dismal India. The document celebrates elections but has little sense of democracy. The

celebrates elections but has little sense of democracy. The “There are prescriptions without a real sense

“There are prescriptions without a real sense of the polity in the BJP’s manifesto”. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah release the manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, in New Delhi

* PTI

confidence of ushering in achhe din is missing in it. Development is second to securi­ t y. Terms like “surgical strike” and “zero tolerance towards terrorism” are summoned to dance to the BJP’s idea of national security. There is a quiet sense of paranoia as security gets defined as the standard obses­ sion of the right. Yet, the way the roads in Kashmir were shut down creating a humanitarian problem re­ veals scant sensitivity to the pro­ blem. On agriculture, the responses are rote. There is barely any grasp of the crisis of agriculture, of the rampant drought, of the epidemic of suicides. The assumption is that a bit of tinker­ ing with prices and insurance can restore the livelihoods of a people. What is stark is the separation of se­ curity from livelihood. Agriculture is broken down to a few programmes and missions. During World War II, soldiers would be made to dig ditch­ es and fill them up to keep them­ selves occupied. They coined an irre­ verent term for it: SNAFU (‘situation normal, all fouled up’). The SNAFU sense of agriculture in the BJP docu­ ment stands out. There are mentions of technological fixes, but there is no exertion to tie technology, the politi­ cal economy and culture. For a party which invokes culture, agriculture is reduced to a set of price and techno­ logical fixes. The claims about the Swachh Bha­

rat Mission leaves one wondering whether the BJP has heard of Bezwa­ da Wilson. As Mr. Wilson, who is na­ tional convenor of the Safai Karma­ chari Andolan, said, behind all Swachh programmes there are sca­ vengers and septic tanks. To ignore the scavengers and tanks is to deny justice and dignity to people. By em­ phasising technology, the BJP seems blind to the humanity of scavengers. There is a fixation with technology and management everywhere, but as a result, one loses the imagination of the city and the informal economy. There is no sense of civics or civic life as transport grids cover the city. The city is conceived of as a grid of tech­ nologies. The question of plurality, culture, difference and migration is lost in this monolinguism of technoc­ racy. There is an absent­mindedness to the document when it talks of unity and Ram Janmabhoomi in the same breath. The confusion of majoritar­ ianism with national unity is a lethal flaw. But the BJP refuses an attempt to correct the error. There is no urgency about climate change, no sense of the Anthropo­ cene. Ecology gets reduced to a fixa­ tion on the Ganga. One returns repeatedly to the lan­ guage of the report. First, it has a sense of a submission to the Guin­ ness World Records rather than a re­ port to a people. The subconscious humour turns sour as the document,

ignoring the problems brought about by the National Register of Citizens, the Rohingya crisis, and the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, claims the Northeast is now closer to the mainstream than ever before. The document barely mentions demonetisation, which caused havoc across the country. It emphasises Artificial Intelli­ gence and “robotic research”. Do such technologies add to jobs? We don’t know. There is little sense of bi­ ological and ecological technologies. Anthropocene and urban planning are forgotten as India joins the techn­ ological bandwagon without any sense of ecology, culture or context.

A managerial model India wants to be a world­class na­ tion without even asking what the term means and what its conse­ quences are. There is hardly any thought on the quality of science or education. What one confronts is a huge promise of access to seats with­ out any understanding of the univer­ sity as an organic institution. The question of expansion is treated li­ nearly in terms of technology and ad­ missions but the role of the teacher as an autonomous academic is ig­ nored. We face the prospect of un­ iversities serving government and in­ dustry but lacking any function beyond this service model. Even the

question of women’s empowerment lacks a vision of rights­based strate­ gies. Reading the document one sees an emphasis on policy without culture,

of

prescriptions without a real sense

of

the polity. It is an attempt to create

a

managerial model of governance

while quietly downplaying the de­ mands of democracy. Here again, language is the key. There are haunt­ ing silences — about violence, free­ dom, alternatives — as the BJP pre­ tends it is a juggernaut moving linearly towards its goals. What one misses is a nod to debate and doubt. Everything gets subjugated by indica­ tors and indices, which show little awareness of the actual lives of the people. The dreariness of the future becomes obvious in the document when a democracy, like develop­ ment, is reduced to dismal science.

#70929

Shiv Visvanathan is an academic associated with the Compost Heap, a group in pursuit of alternative ideas and imagination

Algeria after Bouteflika

While the long­serving President’s exit is a tactical triumph of the popular will, it pushes the nation into uncharted territory

popular will, it pushes the nation into uncharted territory Mahesh Sachdev Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s resignation as
popular will, it pushes the nation into uncharted territory Mahesh Sachdev Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s resignation as

Mahesh Sachdev

Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s resignation as Alger­ ian President on April 2 was a momentous development. The popular disaffection that forced him out after two decades in power was triggered by worsening socio­economic conditions largely due to lower oil and gas re­ venues. It can also be seen as a delayed arriv­ al of the Arab Spring, with the youth feeling increasingly disconnected from the geronto­ crats and their hogra (insolence).

Algerian peculiarities However, the Algerian socio­political context has at least two peculiarities. First, since Al­ geria’s independence in 1962, the country has always been ruled by an informal coali­ tion of the National Liberation Front and ar­ my generals (collectively called le Pouvoir, or ‘the Power’). While this has ensured conti­

nuity, durability and predictability, it has re­ sisted political evolution. Second, from the late 1980s, Algeria endured a long period of socio­political crisis which resulted in the emergence of the Islamists led by the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS). This party was denied victory in the 1991­92 elections, and this led to a gruesome insurgency causing nearly 200,000 deaths. In fact, le Pouvoir brought in Mr. Bouteflika in 1999 to close this chapter and foster national reconciliation. It is be­ cause of this bitter legacy that Algerians pref­ er a stifling stability over any uncertainty. As

a result, the recent demonstrations, though

massive, were peaceful. However, Mr. Bouteflika’s attempt to seek

a fifth term was the proverbial last straw. In

popular perception, the country was being ruled in Mr. Bouteflika’s name by le Pouvoir. The popular opprobrium against his fifth term intensified and morphed into a call for his resignation, removal of the entire old guard, and a new political structure that is more transparent and responsive to the peo­ ple. Le Pouvoir’s initial response to the pop­ ular discontent was to be in denial, prevari­ cate and resort to tokenism. It was only recently that the army chief publicly called for Mr. Bouteflika to be declared as incapac­

itated. ‘Boutexit’ followed, paving the way to

a transitional presidency, which was ratified

by the national Parliament on April 9. Although Mr. Bouteflika’s exit is certainly

a tactical triumph for the popular will, it also pushes Algeria into uncharted territory.

While nominal political institutions and pro­ cesses exist in Algeria, these lack both effica­ cy and credibility. On the other hand, the protests were largely spontaneous, without orchestration, organisational structure and leadership. Boutexit seems to have embol­ dened the protesters to expand their wish list to exclude le Pouvoir from the future dis­ pensation. Though on the defensive, le Pou­ voir (and the oligarchs tagged to it) is unlike­ ly to ride willingly into the sunset. Thus, an immediate and uncompromising pursuit of this ambitious popular agenda runs the risk of unleashing a protracted battle of attrition resulting in instability, radicalisation and/or regime repression. The substantive issues of socio­economic reforms, corruption, and the Arab­Berber divide are likely to be held in abeyance till political issues are resolved. This could further accentuate these grie­ vances. Any long­winding transition would strengthen Gulf influence, French meddling and simmering Islamic militancy. Avoidance of such pitfalls would require everyone to show maturity and flexibility. After all, the stakes are quite high: Algeria’s 42 million population is second only to Egypt’s in the Arab world. It is an OPEC member, a major gas supplier to Europe, and a large importer of goods ranging from automobiles to phar­ maceuticals. Protracted uncertainty in Alge­ ria can affect Europe by disrupting energy supplies, causing a surge in immigration and in radicalisation of the four million Algerians living in Europe.

Significance for India For India, too, Algerian developments have multiple significance. First, Mr. Bouteflika was a friend of India and paid a state visit in 2001. His successor will, hopefully, continue the bilateral amity. Second, bilateral eco­ nomic ties are robust and growing. Algeria is an important market for India’s foodstuff, automobiles, farm machinery, pharmaceuti­ cals, mobiles and cosmetics. It is also India’s source for strategic commodities, especially hydrocarbons and phosphates. A number of Indian contractors have been active in Alge­ ria, notably Larsen & Toubro, which recently won a $1 billion hydrocarbon project from Sonatrach, the national oil company. At the political level, Algeria has been one of the few members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to have consistently supported India’s case against terrorism. India can play a vital role in ensuring that Algeria’s immi­ nent socio­political transition is smooth by helping the country with institution­building and infrastructure.

Mahesh Sachdev was Indian Ambassador to Algeria from 1999 to 2001

Sachdev was Indian Ambassador to Algeria from 1999 to 2001

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SINGLE FILE

Gubernatorial impropriety

The promise of the institution remains as underwhelming as ever

Shivam & Anmolam

The political endorsement that was re­ cently given to the BJP by the Rajasthan Governor has reignited the debate on the independence and neutrality of the constitutional post. The Governor’s of­ fice has often courted controversy for the incumbent’s political views. Howev­ er, there is a marked difference between seemingly routine deviations from strict constitutional norms and the present case, in which the alleged impropriety is neither subtle nor cloaked in specious constitutional justifications. The Sarkaria Commission described the Governor as “a Constitutional sentinel and a vital link between the Union and the State.” In S.R. Bommai (1994), the Supreme Court

said, “The office of the Governor

protection and sustenance of the constitutional process of the working of the Constitution by the elected executive.” M.K. Gandhi said about the Governor’s office: “He would be an arbiter when there was a constitutional deadlock in the State and he would be able to play an impartial role.” Given the vagueness surrounding the process of appoint­ ing and removing the Governor, doubts have been raised about the ‘legal nature’ of his office. According to B.R. Am­ bedkar, “He is the representative not of a party; he is the re­ presentative of the people as a whole of the State. It is in the name of the people that he carries on the administration.” In Hargovind Pant v. Raghukul Tilak (1979), the Supreme Court affirmed that the “office of the Governor was not sub­ ordinate or subservient to the Government of India”. In the contemporary constitutional landscape, the Gover­ nor is expected to advance the cause of ‘federalism’ and ‘de­ mocracy’, which form a part of the basic structure of the Constitution. In Government of NCT of Delhi v. Union of In­

dia (2018), then Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, clarified that democracy and federalism are firmly imbibed in India’s constitutional ethos, while reiterating that democracy re­ quires the constant affirmation of constitutional morality. Despite his unique constitutional positioning, the Gover­ nor is sometimes not seen as willing or able to discharge his functions as judiciously, impartially and efficiently as envis­ aged by the first Administrative Reforms Commission. A pe­ rusal of the reports of the Sarkaria, Punchhi and Venkata­ chaliah Commissions reveals that the independence and dignity of the gubernatorial office is invariably undermined by the appointment of persons not suited to the post, the lack of security of tenure, the lack of an appropriate removal mechanism, with no reasonable post­retirement benefits and limitations on post­retirement political ingratiation. Consequently, the promise of the institution remains as un­ derwhelming as ever while the perils continue to multiply. It is high time that the recommendations of the relevant com­ missions are implemented in letter and spirit to obviate the danger of a full­blown constitutional crisis, to buttress con­ stitutional morality and to restore the dignity of this office.

morality and to restore the dignity of this office. is intended to ensure Shivam is a

is intended to ensure

Shivam is a PhD candidate in law at the Faculty of Law, Delhi University. Anmolam is a lawyer, running a non­profit organisation BDLAAAW

is a lawyer, running a non­profit organisation BDLAAAW

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DATA POINT

DATA POINT FROM FIFTY YEARS AGO APRIL 11, 1969 A HUNDRED YEARS
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DATA POINT FROM FIFTY YEARS AGO APRIL 11, 1969 A HUNDRED YEARS

FROM

FIFTY YEARS AGO

APRIL 11, 1969

A HUNDRED YEARS AGO

Railway Nationalisation.

POLL CALL

Electoral bonds

http://bit.ly/PrannoyRam

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ARCHIVES

UK Sikhs force lifting of ban on turbans

Civic chiefs of Wolverhampton last night [April 9] lifted a two­ year ban on Sikh busmen wearing beards and turbans – and averted a ritual suicide threat. The ban had angered Britain’s 130,000 Sikhs who considered it an affront to their religion, and it sparked demonstrations in India. The British Govern­ ment, fearing a race crisis could blow up here [Wolverhamp­ ton, England], intervened, and last night the Wolverhampton Transport Committee reversed its policy – just four days be­ fore Sikh leader Sohan Singh Jolly planned to burn himself to death. Mr. Jolly, 66, a former Inspector in the Kenya Police, had declared that unless the ban was lifted, his self­immola­ tion on Sunday would be followed by other prominent Sikhs in a chain of death­by­burning. A British Government junior Mi­ nister paid a surprise visit to Wolverhampton on Tuesday. The Committee, in apparent deference to this, said it was lifting the ban because of outside pressure.

APRIL 11, 1919.

In the [House of ] Commons [on April 2], replying to Sir J.D. Rees, Mr. Fisher stated that [Secretary of State for India] Mr. Edwin Montagu had proposed that as soon as convenient after the war there would be an enquiry in India regarding the desir­ ability or otherwise on administrative and financial grounds of modifying the present management of Railways in India which were owned by the State, but worked by Companies domiciled in England by incorporating the lines in existing State­worked systems, or converting them into separate State­worked lines or handing them over to Companies domiciled in India. Mr. Fisher also stated that the reports of the Southborough Com­ mittees had not yet been received from the Government of In­ dia.

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Electoral bonds are bearer instruments in the nature of Pro­ missory Notes issued by banks. They are interest­free instru­ ments that can be purchased from specified branches of the State Bank of India by any citizen of India or body incorporat­ ed in India within fixed periods. The government’s argument was that banks would be able to track the buyers of electoral bonds through their KYC details and thus ensure that clean money comes into the system, while protecting the donor’s anonymity. However, critics argue that this has made political funding more opaque since there is no way of knowing who donated and how much to a political party. There is also no cap on the quantum of electoral bonds. The BJP was the big­ gest beneficiary of electoral bonds in 2017­18, accounting for 94.5% of the bonds worth a little over ₹210 crore.

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10 NEWS

DELHI THE HINDU

THURSDAY, APRIL 11, 2019

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FROM PAGE ONE SC rejects Centre’s plea on Rafale papers

FROM PAGE ONE

SC rejects Centre’s plea on Rafale papers

The Supreme Court res­ ponded to Attorney­General K.K. Venugopal’s argument that keeping the Rafale issue “alive” would be a threat to national security, by quot­ ing Justice H.R. Khanna, the iconic lone dissenter in the Emergency case, who said “judges, in order to give leg­ itimacy to their decision, have to keep aloof from the din and controversy of polit­ ics and the fluctuating for­ tunes of rival political par­ ties… Their primary duty is to uphold the Constitution and the laws without fear or favour.” Mr. Venugopal had ar­ gued that “stolen” docu­ ments came under the pro­ tection of the Official Secrets Act (OSA). They were not ad­ missible in evidence in a court of law. Claiming privi­ lege, the government had wanted the court to ignore the documents, even if they were found to be germane to the Rafale case, and dis­ miss the review petitions at a preliminary stage.

SC rubbishes claim The Supreme Court, howev­ er, rubbished the govern­ ment’s claim of privilege. It said neither OSA nor any other law empowers the government to stop the me­ dia from publishing the doc­ uments nor the court from examining them. Besides, Chief Justice Go­ goi said claiming privilege over the Rafale documents was an “exercise in utter fu­ tility.” The documents were al­ ready within the reach and knowledge of the entire citi­ zenry. This being the scena­ rio, there was no reason for the Supreme Court to stop itself from “reading and considering the documents or from shutting out its evi­ dentiary worth and value.” It would be “unauthor­ ised judicial law­making” if the court banned govern­ ment records from the pu­ blic eye when Parliament had no such intention, Chief Justice Gogoi said, referring to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the ‘Pentagon Papers’ case.

Justice K.M. Joseph, in his separate but concurring judgment, said the court had before it allegations of wrong­doing by the “highest echelons of power.” According privilege to the Rafale documents would come close to conferring im­ munity from conviction, Justice Joseph indicated. Moreover, Chief Justice Gogoi reasoned that the Right to Information (RTI) Act anyway has superseded the colonial OSA of 1923. The RTI Act champions transparency and accounta­ bility in governance. It man­ dates disclosure of even se­ cret government records in the greater public interest.

Freedom of press The lead judgment written by Chief Justice Gogoi said the publication of the Rafale documents by The Hindu reminded the Supreme Court of its “long line of de­ cisions” upholding the free­ dom of the press. The court referred to one of its own past judgments which quotes Pandit Jawa­ harlal Nehru as saying, “I would rather have a com­ pletely free press with all the dangers involved in the wrong use of that freedom than a suppressed or regu­ lated press.”

RTI Act Justice Joseph pointed to how the RTI Act symbolised the will of the people to fight an unrelenting crusade against corruption. The judge pointed to how Section 24 of the Act pro­ vides that allegations of cor­ ruption as well as human rights violations should not be exempted from disclo­ sure under the law. The court would now hear the Rafale review peti­ tions on merits. It would ex­ amine the pleas on the basis of three published docu­ ments. These documents span is­ sues like objections raised by the Indian negotiating team about parallel negotia­ tions conducted by the Prime Minister’s Office, among others.

CPI(M) assails Imran’s preference for Modi

“We have serious concerns about foreign governments influencing our democratic election process. Last year, it was reported that ISI wants Modi as PM. Now Pa­ kistani PM says it,” CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury tweeted. “So much for Modi Sahib telling the country only Pa­ kistan & its sympathisers want BJP to lose. Imran Khan has just endorsed him for a 2nd term. Just imagine what all the “Chowkidar” handles would be doing to @RahulGandhi & the Con­ gress right now if Imran Khan had endorsed RG as PM in these elections? Who is the “tukde tukde” gang now?” National Conference leader Omar Abdullah tweeted. In her response, former

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti stated that BJP suppor­ ters were “scratching their heads & at wits’ end won­ dering if they should praise Imran Khan or not.”

‘Preferred friend’ Congress spokesman Ran­ deep Singh Surjewala al­ leged that Mr. Khan’s state­ ment showed that Pakistan “had officially allied” with Mr. Modi. “First, Modiji showed his love for Nawaz Sharif and now Imran Khan was his preferred friend,” Mr. Surjewala said in a tweet. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who was asked about Mr. Khan’s comments endorsing the BJP for anoth­ er term in government, said she had “no comment” to offer.

EC puts on hold release of biopic on PM Modi

“Any poster or publicity ma­ terial concerning any such certified content, which either depicts a candidate (including prospective) for the furtherance (or purport­ ed to further) of electoral prospect, directly or indi­ rectly, shall not be put to display in electronic media in the area where poll code is in operation,” said the se­ ven­page order.

Letter to producers The order was addressed to the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, the Central Board of Film Certification Chairman and the Chief Electoral Officers of all the

CM

Chairman and the Chief Electoral Officers of all the C M States. In a separate letter
Chairman and the Chief Electoral Officers of all the C M States. In a separate letter

States. In a separate letter to the producers of PM Naren- dra Modi, the Commission said in view of the admitted facts and material available on record, the film, being a biopic on a political leader and prospective candidate to the Lok Sabha polls, can­ not be exhibited. “Therefore, in view of the above, you are hereby di­ rected not to exhibit the film titled PM Narendra Modi till further orders in terms of the aforesaid order,” it said. In separate orders, it also directed the producers of NTR Laxmi and Udyama Simham not to release the films till further directions.

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Scam is out in the open: Cong.

Structure of lies built by PM is in tatters, says party

Special Correspondent

New Delhi

Welcoming the Supreme Court verdict to hear the Rafale review petition based on documents pu­ blished in The Hindu, the Opposition parties said the government can no longer hide behind the Official Se­ crets Act. “The layers of corrup­ tion in the Rafale scam are now out in the open. The en­ tire structure of lies built by PM Modi is in tatters. PM Mo­ di used to hide behind a self­ pronounced clean chit by SC. But today, the SC has de­ molished that lie of clean chit,” Congress chief spokes­

‘Selective and incomplete picture’

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI

The Defence Ministry on Wednesday said the Rafale case petitioners were using documents to present a “selective and incomplete picture” of internal secret deliberations. “In the review petitions, the petitioners relied upon the documents, some of which could not have been placed in public domain. The government raised an objection that while consi­ dering review petitions, the said documents may not be considered as they are classified. In the order on Wednesday, the court decided to look into the documents while deciding t he review petitions ,” a spokesperson said.

Red-letter day for the press: N. Ram

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI

“It’s a red­letter day for freedom of the press in I ndia and for The Hindu ,” N. Ram, Chairman of The Hindu Publishing Group, said in response to the Supreme Court judgment on publication of documents relating to the Rafale deal investigation. “It is extremely significant that the Supreme Court of India says in the

judgment written by the Chief Justice of India that our publication of the documents ‘reminds the Court’ of its own consistency in ‘upholding the freedom of the press in a long line of decisions from Romesh Thapar vs. State of Madras and Brij Bhushan vs. State of Delhi’. “We hope this positive message goes down the line to all our courts, because freedom of the press has

come under pressure and attack in India. The Supreme Court’s finding that ‘the right of such publication’, that is, publication of the Rafale deal documents by The Hindu, ‘would seem to be in consonance with the constitutional guarantee of speech’ should empower the pursuit of independent, investigative journalism by India’s press,” Mr. Ram said in a statement.

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person Randeep Surjewala said at a press conference here. CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the BJP had been falsely claiming

that they have been given a ‘clean chit’ in the Rafale scam but the proofs were tumbling out one after another. Bahujan Samaj Party chief

RTI Act supersedes official secrets law

Public interest prevails, says judge

Krishnadas Rajagopal

NEW DELHI

The Right to Information Act confers on ordinary citi­ zens the ‘priceless right’ to demand information even in matters affecting national security and relations with a foreign state, Justice K.M. Jo­ seph observed in his sepa­ rate judgment. Justice Joseph was coun­ tering the claim made by the government for privilege ov­ er Rafale purchase docu­ ments under the Official Se­ crets Act (OSA). He said the Right to Information (RTI) Act overawes the OSA. Referring to Section 8(2) of the RTI Act, Justice Joseph said the government cannot refuse information if disclo­

said the government cannot refuse information if disclo­ #70929 Justice K.M. Joseph sure in public interest

#70929

Justice K.M. Joseph

sure in public interest over­ shadows certain ‘protected interests.’ The separate judgment also offers a scathing cri­ tique on journalistic bias. The judge said “controlling business interests and polit­ ical allegiances" have erod­ ed journalistic responsibili­ t y. The judge said bias is as much a bane for a journalist as it is for a judge.

Mayawati called for the resig­ nation of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. CPI leader D. Raja termed the verdict a slap on the face for the government.

CJI invokes right to free speech

Legal Correspondent

NEW DELHI

Publication of Rafale docu­ ments by The Hindu is part of the newspaper’s funda­ mental right to freedom of speech, the Supreme Court held on Thursday. “The freedom of the press, as one of the members of the Constituent Assembly said, is one of the items around which the greatest and the bitterest of constitutional struggles have been waged

in all countries where liber­

a l constitutions prevail

,”

Chief Justice of India Ran­ jan Gogoi said. The CJI wrote that there is no law enacted by Parlia­ ment which specifically bars or prohibits the publi­ cation of documents like the Rafale records.

‘Rahul on the verge of contempt of court’

SC order is not a setback: Sitharaman

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday said that Congress president Rahul Gandhi was on the verge of having committed contempt of court by attri­ buting to the Supreme Court what it had not said in its order on the Rafale deal. Addressing a press confe­ rence at the BJP headquar­ ters in New Delhi, Ms. Sitha­ raman said, “The Congress president probably hasn’t read even half a paragraph of the court’s order, but here, by saying that the court has said ‘chowkidar chor hai’, it is verging on contempt of court.”

‘Shows frustration’ Asserting that it reflected Mr. Gandhi’s “frustration”, she said that the court order was limited to whether it should consider the docu­ ments the government said were illegally obtained by petitioners. “We consider those docu­ ments as stolen,” Ms. Sitha­ raman said. “We will comply with the court’s orders, and the or­ der today was restricted to whether or not these docu­ ments, illegally obtained, and published in certain newspapers and magazines were to be part of the con­ sideration on admitting the review petition,” she added.

Line of decency Mr. Gandhi, she said, had crossed the line of decency in his comments on the court, adding that he was “repeatedly misleading peo­ ple on the Rafale fighter jet deal.” She also said that certain media houses had opted to

She also said that certain media houses had opted to < > The Congress president probably

<>

The Congress president probably hasn’t read even half a paragraph of the court’s order

Nirmala Sitharaman

Union Defence Minister

make selective revelations, which were followed by oth­ er media houses that had re­ vealed then Defence Minis­ ter Manohar Parikkar’s comments on the same document. The Minister also said that the first Rafale jets would join service with the Air Force by September.

‘Crystal clear’ Asserting that the Supreme Court’s order was not a set­ back to the government, she said it would help make “everything crystal clear”. Earlier, Press Trust of In- dia reported that after filing his nomination in Amethi, Mr. Gandhi had claimed that the court had made it clear that Prime Minister Naren­ dra Modi committed a theft. Mr. Gandhi also reported­ ly challenged Mr. Modi to a debate on the Rafale deal, which the Congress claims involved corruption, a charge repeatedly rejected by the government.

corruption, a charge repeatedly rejected by the government. Large swathes of country going to the polls

Large swathes of country going to the polls today

Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal will see voting in all the seven phases of the Lok Sabha election till May 19

all the seven phases of the Lok Sabha election till May 19 Special Correspondent NEW DELHI

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI

The first phase of elections on Thursday is being held in many States across the coun­ try. In Andhra Pradesh, si­ multaneous polls for 25 Lok Sabha and 175 Assembly seats are being held from day one, with current Chief Mi­ nister N. Chandrababu Nai­ du going head­to­head with YSR Congress Party chief Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy. Neighbouring Telangana had unlinked the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls, with the latter being held in Novem­ ber­December last year. Te­ langana has 17 Lok Sabha seats. One out of the 11 Lok Sab­ ha seats in Chhattisgarh will see voting on Thursday, where on Wednesday BJP MLA Bhima Mandavi and four security personnel were killed in a Maoist attack. Assam will see five seats going to the polls with Con­ gress MP Gaurav Gogoi in the fray from Kaliabor. Bihar, Ut­

tar Pradesh and West Bengal are three States which will see polling in each of the se­ ven phases till May 19. In Bihar, four seats go to polls on Thursday, with Chi­ rag Paswan of the Lok Jan­ shakti Party contesting from Jamui, and Gaya (reserved) being contested by Hindusta­ ni Awaam Morcha chief and former Chief Minister of Bi­ har Jitan Ram Manjhi. In Uttar Pradesh, eight seats go to polls, with Rashtri­ ya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh in the fray from Muzzaffarna­ gar, facing off against former Union Minister Sanjeev Ba­ lyan, with his son Jayant Chaudhary contesting in Baghpat facing current MP and Union Minister Satyapal Singh. Union Ministers, Gen­ eral (retd) V.K. Singh and Dr. Mahesh Sharma are also con­ testing from Ghaziabad and Gautam Buddh Nagar (Noi­ da). Only two of the 42 West Bengal seats, Cooch Behar and Alipurduar, are going to the polls on Thursday.

CRPF jawan injured in IED blast in Maharashtra

Press Trust of India

Gadchiroli

A CRPF jawan escorting a

polling party was injured in

an IED blast in the Naxal­af­

fected Gadchiroli district of

Maharashtra on Wednesday. The incident comes a day after a BJP MLA and four se­

curity personnel were killed

in a Naxal attack in Dantewa­

da district of neighbouring

Chhattisgarh.

The blast took place at Gatta Jambia village in Eta­

palli tehsil of Gadchiroli when a team of election offi­ cials was heading for a poll­ ing booth, escorted by the police and the 191st battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force, a senior police official said.

The CRPF jawan sustained serious injuries in the legs in the blast and his condition

was critical, the official said. The IED was attached to a bi­ cycle parked along the road passing through a market place, the official said. A hel­ icopter was sent to airlift the injured jawan, he said. The area falls in the Gad­ chiroli­Chimur constituency, which goes to polls along with six other seats in Maha­ rashtra on Thursday. A high­alert was sounded

after the incident. “Police are already on high alert, but we are more cautious after the blast,” another official said. A combing operation has been launched in the area and the border with the neighbouring States is being sealed, said Sharad Shelar, Special Inspector­General of Police (anti­Naxal operations).

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THE HINDU DELHI

THURSDAY, APRIL 11, 2019

ELECTION 2019

11

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INTERVIEW | SACHIN PILOT ‘Govt. can’t hide behind the

INTERVIEW | SACHIN PILOT

‘Govt. can’t hide behind the valour of our armed forces’

Congress leader says Prime Minister Modi should talk about the promises made by the BJP and what was delivered by it

R. Ravikanth Reddy

The BJP­led government should not hide behind the valour and sacrifices of the country’s armed forces as a curtain to conceal its failures, says Deputy Chief Minister of Rajasthan Sachin Pilot. He also speaks on the Congress’s prospects in the southern States. Excerpts:

How do you see the Congress’s chances in the southern States where the party has weakened in the past 10 years?

I don’t think that’s true. In the last election, the narrative was totally different. It was more of propaganda and peo­ ple believed in certain promis­ es. However, this time the wave of change is visible. Peo­ ple realise that this election is special. In States like Kerala, Karna­ taka and Telangana, we will do better than expected. The fact that Mr. Rahul Gandhi is con­ testing from Wayanad also tells you that Congress has a commitment to southern States. We connect with the south better than anyone else. Congress considers everyone as equal partners. The current

government has some bias against south India.

Will Mr. Modi gain in north India if the BJP has poor chances of improving its strength in the south?

Mr. Modi peaked in 2014 but that chance is wasted and their [the BJP government’s] performance in several sectors is unimpressive and negligi­ ble. Southern States will not accept the thinking, the ideol­ ogy of the BJP, and the north­ ern States, where they per­ formed well, will not be the same this time. The change will happen in the Hindi heartland, where BJP was thought to be invinci­ ble. We wrested three States — Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh — from it just a few months ago. Despite the

media propaganda, money power and the resources they deployed to create the hype, south India will remain a zero score for BJP.

You say the BJP is losing in the north as well. Will Balakot help revive its fortunes?

The military action on bor­ ders will happen irrespective of the governments. They are Indian soldiers and will pro­ tect our country come what may. Whoever is the Prime Mi­ nister and whichever is the go­ vernment will give the same befitting reply to the enemy forces, and people understand this. So BJP’s game plan to evoke emotions using soldiers will not help it. Why must the current go­ vernment hide behind the va­ lour and sacrifices of our armed forces who belong to the country? They are our pride. No one can threaten In­ dia and get away. We are all un­ ited in that aspect but the go­ vernment uses that as a curtain and hides behind it to cover its failures.

that as a curtain and hides behind it to cover its failures. < > The current

<>

The current government has some bias against south India

Elections are fought on the performance of the govern­ ment and promises made and delivered. If you look at Mr. Modi all his slogans have re­ mained slogans whether it is Swachh India, Make in India, Startup India, doubling farm­ ers income and getting black money from abroad and de­ positing ₹15 lakh in everyone’s account. Now the country faces the highest unemployment rate in its independent history. You can’t keep on accusing the previous governments for your failures. The real issues

are

background.

being

relegated

to

the

The Congress seems to be doing little to counter that narrative

Congress never took politi­

cal advantage of such issues.

Indira Gandhi got more than a lakh Pakistan soldiers captive and yet she never claimed it as a big victory. Even when Par­ liament was attacked when Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee was PM, then Leader of Opposi­ tion, Sonia Gandhi, stood be­ hind him solidly. That’s the kind of statesmanship one has to show. People understand all this

and will not believe BJP blind­ ly. We can’t take credit for ev­ ery achievement. Taking cre­ dit is acceptable but hiding behind them to block your fai­ lures is objectionable. Mr. Mo­

di says he connected thou­

sands of villages with electricity but who connected lakhs of houses with power earlier. So, people will see through such claims.

Why is the counter from the Congress not very strong?

Previous Congress govern­ ments have achieved much bigger but never clamoured for publicity. Somehow, the media is not able to speak out and explain the truth. The real issues like farmers’ suicides and youngsters looking for jobs are nowhere in discussion in the media. Mr. Manmohan Singh’s government had a sus­ tained programme for em­ ployment generation across the sections for 10 years through MGNREGA. Mr. Modi wanted to kill it but could not do so.

Has the media been unfair to the Congress?

Perhaps, certain compul­ sions have forced them to highlight only one narrative.

We believe in transparency in media. This will be a passing phase and media will have more freedom. We can’t have propaganda channels, India is not a country like North Ko­ rea.

Rafale push for Rahul’s Amethi foray

He says chowkidarji committed a theft

Omar Rashid

AMETHI

With his sister and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, her husband Robert Vadra and their chil­ dren Raihan and Miraya by his side, Congress president Rahul Gandhi took out a 3­ km roadshow atop a truck to the District Collectorate to file his nomination paper for the Amethi Lok Sabha seat. Along with party flags, Congress workers waved blue flags publicising the mi­ nimum income guarantee promise of ₹72,000, as the roadshow moved from Mun­ shiganj amid slogans declar­ ing Mr. Gandhi as the next Prime Minister.

Sonia at hand While UPA chairperson So­ nia Gandhi did not partici­ pate in the roadshow, she was present at the Collecto­ rate during the filing of her son’s nomination, along with her daughter and son­in­law. Later, Mr. Gandhi told presspersons that the Su­ preme Court decision in the Rafale case vindicated his claim that there was corrup­ tion in the case. Mr. Gandhi said the court had “accepted that some sort of corruption has taken place in the Rafale case”. “A few days ago, the PM gave an interview in which he told the journalist that the Supreme Court had gi­ ven him a clean chit. Today, the Supreme Court has made it clear that chowki­ darji committed a theft,” Mr. Gandhi said. He said that if an investi­ gation was held in the Rafale case, two names would

The country wants to know about the Rafale issue, corruption and notebandi and about Amit Shah’s son

emerge, Prime Minister Na­ rendra Modi and industrial­ ist Anil Ambani.

<>

‘Vindicated’ “I am glad that what I have been saying for months that the PM of India stole the mo­ ney of the Air Force and gave it to Anil Ambaniji he’s given ₹30,000 crore the Supreme Court has ac­ cepted that today and it is going to investigate [the matter],” Mr. Gandhi said. The Congress president also used the occasion to once again challenge Mr. Modi to an open debate on the Rafale issue. “The country wants to know about the Rafale issue, corruption and notebandi and about Amit Shah’s son,” he said.

Matter of prestige Though Mr. Gandhi has de­ cided to contest a second seat, Wayanad in Kerala, this year, Amethi is still con­ sidered a matter of prestige for him and the party left no stone unturned to put up a show of strength on nomi­ nation day. In 2014, Mr. Gandhi withstood the “Modi wave” and held his fort in Amethi but with a reduced margin of a little over a lakh votes. He will face the BJP’s Smriti Irani again this election. Later in a tweet, Mr. Gandhi said he shared a long relationship of “love and respect” with Amethi.

a long relationship of “love and respect” with Amethi. On the road: Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka

On the road: Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on a roadshow in Amethi on Wednesday. * RAJEEV BHATT

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Under the gun

#70929
#70929

Guarding the mandate: Greyhounds personnel standing guard after sunset at Magijarivi in G. Madugula mandal, one of the Maoist areas in northern Andhra Pradesh, 150 km from Visakhapatnam, on Wednesday. The police are on a high alert as Maoists have given a call for a boycott of the election. * K.R. DEEPAK

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Disenchanted Surjagad flaunts NOTA

Nearly 25,000 voters to register protest against iron ore mining on forestland

Sharad Vyas

Surjagad

A day after Bharatiya Janata

Party MLA Bhima Mandavi was killed by Maoists in Dantewada, 70 gram sabhas along the Chhattisgarh­Maharashtra bor­ der have announced they will choose the NOTA, or none of the above, option in the Lok Sabha election on Thursday. An estimated 25,000 voters living around the iron ore de­ posits of Surjagad in remote Gadchiroli took this decision in protest against the Maharash­ tra government’s approval of iron ore mining on 40,900 acres of forestland and the in­

creased “militarisation” of the gram sabhas in the Etapalli teh­ sil, having a population of 81,700 spread over 180 villages

in the highly sensitive security

zone. Hours after the killing of Mr. Mandavi, the local Maoist da­ lam announced a boycott of the election. Several banners dot the Etapalli­Surjagad road, urg­

ing villagers to ‘kill’ politicians asking for votes. “Boycott the Lok Sabha elections, kill any politician who comes asking for votes. We need a new Constitu­ tion,” reads one of the posters put up along the road to Gatta, the last village on the Maha­ rashtra side and considered a highly sensitive zone by securi­

ty forces. The village, 160 km from

Gadchiroli, is at the heart of the decade­long Surjagad anti­min­ ing struggle. The 1,278 residents of the vil­ lage live in the heavy presence

of anti­naxal forces and com­

live in the heavy presence of anti­naxal forces and com­ Troop fatigue: The people of Surjagad

Troop fatigue: The people of Surjagad say the State government has increased the security presence in the villages. * SHARAD VYAS

mando units. The mountain range is home to the local deity Thakurdeo. Protecting the range remains the main con­ cern of the Surjagad Bachao Sangarsh Samiti, a non­govern­ mental organisation. “We do not want any money

during elections, neither do we want promises of employment. These are our natural resourc­ es, our gods, our forests, our minerals, our pride. We want all of this back. The ruling go­ vernment in the State has not

only increased the military pre­

sence here but even given per­ mission to private companies to mine large parts of our fores­ tland. We will opt for NOTA as a mark of our protest,” Sainu Ma­ su Gota, anti­iron ore mine acti­ vist, said. Mr. Gota and his wife, Shee­ la, had won as Independents in the 2017 local body election, along with activist Lalsu Narote from Bhamragadh on an anti­ mining plank and highlighting the alleged increase in police atrocities in this region. Mining was first permitted

on the Wooria hills here in 2007, after the then govern­ ment gave permission to Lloyd

Steel. The company stopped work owing to “local protests and a heavy naxal presence”. The Maoists shot down three senior company employees in

2013.

Mineral reserves When inaugurating the project at Surjagad in 2016, Chief Mi­ nister Devendra Fadnavis said that “additional security” was a necessity for setting up of in­ dustries and processing of the rich mineral reserves. “We will either choose NOTA or vote against the mining pro­ ject as has been the case in the past. The vote will also be against police brutality, and ha­ rassment by state machinery. We do not want to totally boy­ cott the polls since that would seem to indicate allegiance to the Maoists,” said resident and activist Manohar Borkar. Ashok Nete, the local BJP MP, admits complications have arisen following the implemen­ tation of the Panchayatiraj Ex­ tension to Scheduled Areas Act (PESA) and the Forest Rights Act (FRA), both of which have created a divide between the tribal people and the Other Backward Classes. “Our inten­ tion (BJP government) is to make the most of the mineral­ rich region to attract indus­ tries. I have raised the question of the divide [between the OBCs and tribal people] in Par­ liament and the resultant injus­ tice,” Ashok Nete, BJP MP from Gadchiroli, said.

POLL POURRI

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It is a nikamma panel: O’Brien New Delhi Protesting

It is a nikamma panel: O’Brien

New Delhi

Protesting against the Election Commission order to transfer top police officers in West Bengal, a delegation of Trinamool Congress met the poll body and accused it of “bias”. Party leaders Derek O’Brien, Sukhendu Sekhar Ray and Chandan Mitra submitted a nine­ point memorandum. “People are saying Nirvachan Commission has become Nikamma (useless) Commission. Transfers of good, honest senior police officers of Bengal are being decided by a traitor who now works out of the BJP Central office in Kolkata,” Mr. O’ Brien said, alluding to role of former Trinamool MP Mukul Roy.

CPI(M) plea against Trinamool

former Trinamool MP Mukul Roy. CPI(M) plea against Trinamool New Delhi The Election Commission has taken

New Delhi

The Election Commission has taken note of a complaint lodged by the CPI(M), accusing Trinamool Congress supporters of indulging in violence and intimidation across the State of West Bengal. In the petition, the CPI(M) said: “The terror tactics of the Trinamool Congress, the ruling party in West Bengal, has reached such a scale that not only the Left Front workers and supporters are being attacked by the Trinamool Congress criminals, but also the Left Front candidates in the Lok Sabha election.”

Alpesh Thakor jumps ship

Ahmedabad

In a major setback to the Congress in Gujarat ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, Congress legislator and OBC leader Alpesh Thakor resigned from the party on Wednesday. His aides, Dhavalsinh Zala and Bharatji Thakor, quit the party but all three will remain MLAs. He, however, ruled out joining the BJP but according to sources, he would focus on north Gujarat Lok Sabha seats to damage the Congress, which would eventually help BJP electorally. In his resignation letter addressed to the state party chief Amit Chavda, Mr. Thakor said he had been betrayed.

chief Amit Chavda, Mr. Thakor said he had been betrayed. Amarinder’s plaint against PM CHANDIGARH Punjab

Amarinder’s plaint against PM

CHANDIGARH

Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh has written to the Election Commission seeking action against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, allegedly for violation of poll code by referring to Pulwama and Balakot in his speech at a recent public rally in Maharashtra. Capt. Amarinder strongly protested against the Prime Minister for using the success of the Balakot air strikes by the Air Force and the sacrifice of the martyrs of the Pulwama attacks to woo first­time voters.been betrayed. Amarinder’s plaint against PM CHANDIGARH BJP’s final frontier Guwahati The BJP, which has been

BJP’s final frontier

Guwahati

The BJP, which has been ruling Arunachal Pradesh since December 31, 2016, will be eyeing its first elected government in the State which goes to the polls on Thursday. The party has had two stints in power in Arunachal Pradesh, both takeovers. It first ruled the State for eight months with Gegong Apang as Chief Minister from September 2003 and currently under Pema Khandu’s leadership. Though the State has 60 seats in the Assembly, elections would be held in 57 with the BJP having won three constituencies uncontested. They are Along West, Yachuli, and Dirang. Chief Minister Pema Khandu (in photo) is taking on Thupten Kunphen of the Congress.

(in photo) is taking on Thupten Kunphen of the Congress. AAP’s letter to Punjab homes Chandigarh
(in photo) is taking on Thupten Kunphen of the Congress. AAP’s letter to Punjab homes Chandigarh

AAP’s letter to Punjab homes

Chandigarh

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has decided to reach out to every home in all the 13 constituencies in Punjab through its volunteers with a letter of party’s State unit chief and Sangrur MP, Bhagwant Mann, to expose the failures of the ruling Congress. The party’s campaign committee chief, Aman Arora, on Wednesday said that over 1,000 volunteers would carry party chief's message across all across all constituency segments in the coming days. The campaign, he said, would start very soon. Mr. Mann had highlighted the failures and unkept promises of the Congress government in Punjab. “Mr. Mann has asked the people to give a befitting answer to the Congress by showing them the doors in the upcoming elections,” he said.

them the doors in the upcoming elections,” he said. t Congress has always been anti­ Gujarat.
them the doors in the upcoming elections,” he said. t Congress has always been anti­ Gujarat.

t

Congress has always been anti­

Gujarat. People in Songadh

are firmly with BJP

NARENDRA MODI

PRIME MINISTER

CM

are firmly with BJP NARENDRA MODI PRIME MINISTER C M https://t.me/SSC4Exams Y K https://t.me/Banking4Exams
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12 WORLD

DELHI THE HINDU

THURSDAY, APRIL 11, 2019

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Capturing a trap where matter, space and time come to an end Astronomers offer an
Capturing a trap where matter, space and time come to an end
Astronomers offer an image of the unseeable — a black hole — with the help of eight radio observatories on six mountains and four continents
Dennis Overbye
A stronomers an­
nounced on Wednes­
day that at last they
had seen the unseeable: a
black hole, a cosmic abyss
so deep and dense that not
even light can escape it.
“We’ve exposed a part of
our universe we’ve never
seen before,” said Shep Doe­
leman, an astronomer at the
Harvard­Smithsonian Cen­
ter for Astrophysics, and di­
rector of the effort to cap­
ture the image, during a
Wednesday news confe­
rence in Washington.
The image, of a lopsided
ring of light surrounding a
dark circle deep in the heart
of the galaxy known as Mes­
sier 87, some 55 million
light­years away from here,
resembled the Eye of Sau­
ron, a reminder yet again of
the power and malevolence
of nature.
It is a smoke ring framing
a one­way portal to eternity.
More powerful than sun
To capture the image, astro­
nomers reached across in­
tergalactic space to a giant
galaxy known as Messier 87,
in the constellation Virgo.
There, a black hole about se­
ven billion times more mas­
sive than the sun is unleash­
ing a violent jet of energy
some 5,000 light years into
space.
The image offered a final,
ringing affirmation of an
idea so disturbing that even
Einstein, from whose equa­
tions black holes emerged,
was loath to accept it. If too
much matter is crammed in­
to one place, the cumulative
force of gravity becomes
overwhelming, and the
place becomes an eternal
trap, a black hole. Here, ac­
cording to Einstein’s theory,
matter, space and time
come to an end and vanish
like a dream.
On Wednesday morning,
that dark vision became a
visceral reality. When the
image was put up on the
screen in Washington,
cheers and gasps, followed
by applause, broke out.
An eternal trap: Event Horizon Telescope director Sheperd
Doeleman revealing the first photograph of a black hole in
Washington on Wednesday. * AFP
observed the galaxy in Virgo
on and off for 10 days in
April 2017.
The telescope array also
monitored a dim source of
radio noise called Sagittari­
us A* (pronounced Sagittari­
us A­star), at the heart of our
Milky Way galaxy.
There, 26,000 light­years
from Earth, and buried in
the depths of interstellar
dust and gas, another black
hole, with a mass of 4.1 mil­
lion suns, almost certainly
lurks.
The image emerged from
two years of computer ana­
lysis of observations from a
network of radio antennas
called the Event Horizon Te­
lescope. In all, eight radio
observatories on six moun­
tains and four continents
Point of no return
The network is named after
the edge of a black hole, the
point of no return; beyond
the event horizon, not even
light can escape the black
hole’s gravitational pull.
For some years now, the
scientific literature, news
media and films such as In-
terstellar and the newly re­
leased High Life have fea­
tured remarkably
sophisticated and highly
academic computer simula­
tions of black holes. But the
real thing looked different.
For starters, the black holes
in movies typically are not
surrounded by fiery accre­
tion disks of swirling,
doomed matter, as are the
black holes in Virgo and
Sagittarius.
Perhaps even more im­
portant, the images provide
astrophysicists with the first
look at the innards of a black
hole. The energy within is
thought to be powerful
enough to power quasars
and other violent phenome­
na from the nuclei of galax­
ies, including the jets of in­
tense radiation that spew
5,000 light years from the
galaxy M87.
As hot, dense gas swirls
around the black hole, like
water headed down a drain,
the intense pressures and
magnetic fields cause ener­
gy to squirt from either side.
As a paradoxical result, su­
permassive black holes,
which lurk in the centres of
galaxies, can be the most lu­
minous objects in the un­
iverse. NY TIMES

Netanyahu set for record fifth term

He is poised to form a right­wing coalition after his Likud party tied for the top spot with main rival

Agence France-Presse

Jerusalem

Prime Minister Benjamin Ne­ tanyahu was on track for vic­ tory in Israel’s election on Wednesday after nearly com­ plete results put him in posi­ tion to form a right­wing coa­ lition and further extend his long tenure in office. The results from Tues­ day’s vote came despite cor­ ruption allegations against the 69­year­old Premier and kept him on course to win a fifth term, and become Is­ rael’s longest­serving Prime Minister later this year.

Boost for U.S. peace plan His close ally President Do­ nald Trump said the incum­ bent’s victory for a fifth man­ date gives the White House’s long­awaited peace plan a “better chance”. Mr. Netanyahu’s right­

wing Likud party looked set

to finish with a similar num­

ber of seats in Parliament to

his main rival, ex­military chief Benny Gantz’s centrist Blue and White alliance. But the results showed that Likud, together with other right­wing parties al­ lied to the Prime Minister, would hold around 65 seats

in the 120­seat Parliament.

The results would seem to leave President Reuven Riv­ lin, who must ask one of the candidates to form a govern­

ment, with little choice but

to pick Mr. Netanyahu.

Intensive coalition nego­ tiations will follow and could drag on for days or even weeks. The close race bet­ ween the two main parties had led to uncertainty after polls closed on Tuesday night and exit surveys were released.

closed on Tuesday night and exit surveys were released. Mission accomplished: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin

Mission accomplished: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on Tuesday. * AFP

Both Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Gantz claimed victory af­ ter the initial exit polls, but on Wednesday evening the Blue and White leader con­ ceded defeat. “We respect the decision of the people,”

Mr. Gantz told journalists, acknowledging he had failed to unseat the Prime Minister. Mr. Netanyahu spoke in the early hours of Wednes­ day at the Likud’s post­elec­ tion party in Tel Aviv and

called it a “magnificent victory.” “It will be a right­wing go­ vernment, but I will be Prime Minister for all,” he said. The vote had been expect­ ed to be close, even with Mr. Netanyahu facing potential corruption charges.

Modi congratulates PM Besides Mr. Trump, other Netanyahu allies including Prime Minister Narendra Mo­ di, Italy’s Deputy Prime Mi­ nister Matteo Salvini and Austrian Chancellor Sebas­ tian Kurz offered congratulations. Mr. Gantz, a newcomer to politics, mounted a strong challenge by brandishing his security credentials while pledging to undo damage he says Mr. Netanyahu has in­ flicted on the country with divisive politics.

Labour calls for ‘full apology’

80 MPs write a letter to Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt

Vidya Ram

London

The Labour Party on Wed­ nesday called for a “full, clear and unequivocal apol­ ogy”, from the British go­ vernment for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, after Prime Minister Theresa May de­ scribed the events as a “shameful scar on British In­ dian history”, but failed to make the formal apology that many hoped for. On Wednesday, 80 MPs wrote to Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt calling for an apology, pointing to the “lasting pain both in India and among U.K. citizens with family roots in India.”

’India will never forget’ MPs had suggested that an apology was owed to the vic­ tims and their families as part of efforts to strengthen relations with India. “India

<> We cannot turn back or erase the past, but we can take steps to recognise what happened

will never forget,” Conserva­ tive MP Bob Blackman, who introduced the debate on Tuesday, told MPs. Others argued that there was a need for the U.K. to raise awareness of the atroc­ ity and the darker aspects of Britain’s colonial legacy in schools, which would help children understand where they came from and where the country was today. “By othering or writing people out of history, can we really be surprised that hate crime continues to exist or racism continues to fester?” asked Preet Kaur Gill, the La­ bour MP for Birmingham

Edgbaston. Over 80 MPs from across political parties signed a letter, initiated by Labour MP Pat McFadden, on Wednesday, calling for an “official apology.”

Perils of ‘doing nothing’

“Some might ask, why just this atrocity? Yet it is never a good argument to say that because you cannot do eve­ rything, you should do noth­ ing,” they wrote. “Relations between the U.K. and India today are friendly and constructive. Yet, that does not mean that an apology would not do

we cannot turn back

good

or erase the past, but we can take steps to recognise what happened and to respond in a way that befits a modern relationship between two countries which today enjoy normal and positive diplo­ matic relations.”

#70929

ELSEWHERE

and positive diplo­ matic relations.” #70929 ELSEWHERE Jailed Myanmar scribes win press freedom prize PARIS The

Jailed Myanmar scribes win press freedom prize

PARIS

The UN’s cultural agency said on Wednesday that it had awarded its annual press freedom prize to two Reuters reporters jailed in Myanmar over their reporting on the killings of Rohingya Muslims

in the country. Wa Lone, in

picture, and Kyaw Soe Oo have been behind bars since December 2017.

AFP

Assange being spied on, says WikiLeaks

LONDON

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been the subject of a sophisticated spying operation in the Ecuadorean embassy where he has been holed up since 2012, the group said on Wednesday. WikiLeaks said video, photos, copies of legal documents turned up in Spain, where a group threatened to start publishing unless it was paid €3 million.

Trump video removed over copyright issues

WASHINGTON

A video that President

Donald Trump re­tweeted that included the soundtrack of a Batman movie was pulled from his account due to copyright violations. The video showed images of his presidency, including his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong­un and the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Reuters

Reuters

Khashoggi family denies settlement rumours

DUBAI

The family of murdered

journalist Jamal Khashoggi on Wednesday denied being

in talks to reach a settlement

out of court with Saudi authorities, following reports that his sons had taken payouts. “[N]o settlement discussion had been or is discussed,” read a statement posted to Salah Khashoggi’s Twitter account.

Reuters

EU’s emergency meet debates Brexit delay

Germany seeks a longer extension

Agence France-Presse

Brussels

Europe mounted an emer­ gency summit on Wednes­ day to decide how long a Brexit delay to grant British Prime Minister Theresa May — and under what conditions. Without a postponement, Britain is due to crash out of the European Union (EU) at midnight on Friday under a “no­deal” Brexit that could

trigger economic chaos.

May’s June 30 demand Ms. May wants to postpone

Brexit from April 12 to June 30 to arrange an orderly de­ parture — but the European leaders gathered in Brussels for a summit were expected

to offer her a longer delay, of

up to a year. German Chancellor An­ gela Merkel told the Parlia­ ment in Berlin before setting out for Brussels that the

leaders might back a delay “longer than the British Prime Minister has request­ ed.” “I am of the opinion, the German government is of the opinion, that we should give both parties a reasonable amount of time,” she said. EU Council presi­ dent Donald Tusk, hosting the summit, said the evi­ dence of recent months gave EU leaders “little rea­ son to believe” that British lawmakers will ratify the Brexit withdrawal treaty be­ fore Ms. May’s preferred June 30 date. According to a draft copy of the summit conclusions that EU leaders were to ne­ gotiate later in the day, they were to agree to an exten­

sion to allow Ms. May time to ratify the withdrawal agreement. In Paris, an aide to President Emmanuel Ma­ cron said France was open to solutions.

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Prized possessions

Prized possessions Food for thought: Children displaced by Cyclone Idai in

Food for thought: Children displaced by Cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique, carrying books at a camp in Dombe. The disaster, according to latest figures, has killed 344 people in Zimbabwe and 602 in Mozambique, taking the combined toll to 946. * AP

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Trump yet to see the full Mueller report

Agence France-Presse

Washington

U.S. President Donald

Trump on Wednesday said

he had yet to see the full re­

port drawn up by special prosecutor Robert Mueller into his election cam­ paign’s allegedly suspi­ cious links to Russia.

“I have not seen the Mueller report, I have not read the Mueller report,”

he said at the White House. “As far as I’m concerned

I don’t care about the

Mueller report. I’ve been totally exonerated,” Mr. Trump said. According to a brief summary released by At­ torney­General Bill Barr, Mr. Mueller found no evi­ dence of deliberate collu­ sion between Mr. Trump and Russia. The full report — barring sections blacked out for legal or security reasons — is expected to be released within days.

Zambian villagers get court’s nod to sue Vedanta

U.K. judges reject attempts by the company to bring jurisdictional challenge over pollution of river

Vidya Ram

London

A group of over 1,800 Zam­

bian citizens can take Vedan­ ta Resources and its Zam­ bian subsidiary, Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), to court in the U.K. over allega­ tions relating to the pollu­ tion of a river there, after Bri­ tain’s Supreme Court rejected an attempt by the company to challenge the ju­ risdiction of British courts. They will now be able to bring their claims for torts of negligence and breach of du­ ty to the courts in the U.K., first initiated in 2015.

Wider significance The Supreme Court judg­ ment is seen as having wider significance for parent com­

panies and their ability to be held liable for alleged activi­

ty abroad. Vedanta Resources can­

for alleged activi­ ty abroad. Vedanta Resources can­ The site of the Konkola Copper Mines plant

The site of the Konkola Copper Mines plant in Zambia.

not appeal the jurisdiction judgment any further as its attempt to suggest recourse to the European Court of Jus­ tice during the Supreme Court proceedings was also rejected. The judgment was read in court by Lord Briggs, with the four other justices considering the case, con­ curring with him.

“For the claimants, its hugely significant. They can

proceed with the substantive claim, which was their initial intention, and hopefully ob­ tain some sort of justice for the allegations they have made,” Oliver Holland, from the law firm Leigh Day, who is representing the clai­ mants, told The Hindu. “We did not envisage that it would take so long to get to this point.” He added that the judgment had wider sig­

nificance too. “What Lord Briggs clarified was the ex­ tent to which a parent com­ pany is responsible for the actions of a subsidiary. He says importantly that where a parent company corporate entity in London is saying [it] takes responsibility for the actions of the subsidiary on environmental, health and other issues, whether or not [it] actually do[es] so, they can be held liable.”

Earlier verdict Vedanta Resources and KCM had won the right to appeal to Britain’s top court after lower courts had upheld the jurisdiction of U.K. courts. A total of 1,826 men and wo­ men from poor farming communities in Zambia had sought to bring proceedings against the company, alleg­ ing toxic emissions from the Nchanga Copper Mine

(owned by KCM) into water­ ways on which they are hea­ vily reliant for drinking and irrigation. While KCM was the opera­ tor of the mine, the clai­ mants argued that Vedanta Resources — because of its high level of control and di­ rection over the mining op­ erations — should also face the allegations and com­ menced proceedings in 2015. Attempts by Vedanta and KCM to challenge the ju­ risdiction were thrown out by the High Court and Court of Appeal in 2016 and 2017. In their judgment, the Su­ preme Court justices also said that appellants needed to use “proportionality,” and “economy” in pursuing cas­ es around jurisdiction, in an implicit criticism of the de­ termination with which the jurisdictional issue was pursued.

New Zealand MPs approve sweeping gun reforms

New rules ban semi­automatic firearms

Agence France-Presse

Sydney

New Zealand lawmakers have almost unanimously passed sweeping gun re­ forms, paving the way for a ban on military­style semi­ automatic weapons to enter into force as soon as Friday. Lawmakers passed the le­ gislation on final reading, less than a month after a gunman entered two mos­ ques in Christchurch killing 50 people. During the de­ bate on Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she could not face the pu­ blic or “the victims that had been left behind from this terror attack and tell them hand­on­heart that our sys­ tem and our laws allow these guns to be available and that was okay. Because it was not.”

to be available and that was okay. Because it was not.” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. * AP

The new rules are aimed at removing semi­automatic firearms from circulation through a buy­back scheme, prohibition and harsh pri­ son sentences. A hand­in amnesty will be in place un­ til 30 September 2019, and perpetrators will face bet­ ween two and ten years in jail for breaking the laws.

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THE HINDU DELHI

THURSDAY, APRIL 11, 2019

BUSINESS

13

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market watch 10-04-2019 % CHANGE S e n s e x

market watch

10-04-2019

% CHANGE

Sensex dddddddddddddddddddddd 38,585

ddddddddddddd -0.91

US Dollardddddddddddddddddddd 69.11

ddddddddddddddd 0.27

Gold ddddddddddddddddddddddddddd 33,070

ddddddddddddddd 0.27

Brent oil ddddddddddddddddddddd 71.49

ddddddddddddd