TheIndian EXPRESS LATE CITY, 20 PAGES, KOLKATA, `4.00 (`12 IN NORTH EAST STATES & ANDAMAN) ● SATURDAY, MARCH 3, 2018 ● WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA NEAR TELANGANA BORDER 10 Maoists, one constable killed in encounter in Chhattisgarh forest Operation after alert on presence of top Maoist leaders; High Court orders autopsies on tape SREENIVAS JANYALA HYDERABAD, MARCH 2 AT LEAST 10 Maoists, including six women, were killed in an encounter with a joint team of Greyhounds and special police personnel near Pujarikanker in Chhattisgarh, 30 km from Venkatapuram in Telangana’s Bhadradri Kothagudem district, officials said on Friday. A Greyhounds constable, SushilKumar,whowaspartofthe lead team, was killed while two other injured Greyhounds personnelwereairliftedtohospitals. By Friday evening, two bodies of Maoists killed in the encounter were brought to a gov- 11 ernment hospital and were identified as woman Maoist leader Pedda Budri (25) and Sanjeev (35). AlltheMaoistsaresuspected to be from the Telangana State Committee and police sources said combing operations started after a tip-off about a big meeting of Maoists somewhere along the ChhattisgarhTelangana border. Officials said they believe a number of Maoists were injured in the encounter and were hiding in nearby hills, and the operation to flush them out would continue. An FIR has been registered at Cherla Police Station in Kothagudem district. “We have THE COMBING OPERATION Chhattisgarh Venkatapuram Pujarikanker Mallur Mangaltor Godavari river The area covered by the joint operation Telangana registered an FIR stating that a joint team of Telangana and Chhattisgarh personnel was patrolling in the area when they were fired upon by Maoists. In Cherla Pujarikanker (Bijapur) self-defence the team fired back in which 10 Maoists — four men and six women — died,’’ an officer at the police station said. Later on Friday, the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana High Court in Hyderabad directed Telangana Police to ensure that the autopsies of the Maoists killed in the alleged encounter is videorecordedinthepresenceof independent witness. Police suspect those present at the meeting included Hari Bhushan, secretary and a senior member of the Telangana State Committee, and Bade Chokka Rao alias Damodar, another senior leader in charge of Karimnagar-KhammamWarangalinTelangana.Damodar had escaped an encounter in September 2015 in Warangal. Hari Bhushan and Damodar are both on the NIA watchlist, CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 THEIDEASPAGE Mastering the seas The absence of an over-arching vision has led to neglect of critical maritime issues Fugitive LeT commander surfaces in video with Hizb militants NAVEED IQBAL SRINAGAR, MARCH 2 BARELY A month after Lashkare-Toiba (LeT) commander NaveedJataliasAbuHanzullaescapedpolicecustody,avideohas surfaced showing him with a local Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) commander and at least five other militants in a forest. It is unclear where the video was shot even as sources said Jat had escaped to South Kashmir where he was believed to have been active because of his “knowledge of the area and contactswithovergroundworkers.” Director General of Police, SP VaidtoldTheIndianExpressthat HM and Lashkar could be working together. “They are uploading videos and trying to show that they are active,” he said. It is believed Jat has since joined HM since LeT has not named a commander since the death of itsformer commanders AbuQasim,AbuDujanaandAbu Ismail. Police had suspected Jat would be named the next LeT commander, which is why his escape was orchestrated. On February 6, two Jammu and Kashmir police personnel accompanying Jat to the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital (SMHS) were killed after militants opened fire inside the hospital facilitating Jat’s escape. The NIA has since taken over the investigation into his escape. In the video that surfaced Friday, Jat is seen hugging HM commander Sameer Tiger, a CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 AT HOME ON HOLI Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh celebrates Holi at his residence in New Delhi on Friday. Praveen Jain JOURNALISM OF COURAGE EVENTS TO MARK 60 YEARS OF TIBETAN LEADERSHIP-IN-EXILE Govt note: Very sensitive time for ties with China, so skip Dalai Lama events Discourage participation: Cab Secy missive; MEA says no change in stand ABANTIKA GHOSH NEW DELHI, MARCH 2 INANunusualdeparturefromits stand on the Tibetans-in-exile, the government, underlining thatthisisa“verysensitivetime” forbilateralrelationswithChina, has sent out a note asking “senior leaders” and “government functionaries” of the Centre and states to stay away from events plannedforMarch-endandearly April by the “Tibetan leadership in India” to mark the start of 60 years in exile of the Dalai Lama. A note to the effect, dated February22,wassentbyForeign Secretary Vijay Gokhale to CabinetSecretaryPKSinha.Four days later, Sinha put out a directive down the government ranks, telling “senior leaders” and“governmentfunctionaries” of the Centre and states that it is “not desirable” to participate in the events of the Tibetan leadership in exile. China calls the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetans, a “splittist” and a “dangerous separatist”. In his note to secretaries and heads of government departments,Sinhasaidparticipationin these events “should be discouraged” and “accordingly, you are requested to ensure appropriate action in the matter”. He quoted Gokhale’s note to underline “the sensitive nature of the subject”. Gokhale, former Indian ambassador to Beijing, had requested Sinha to issue a “classified circular advisory advising all Ministries/Departments of Government of India as well as State Governments not to accept any invitation or to participate in the proposed commemorative events”. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 The Dalai Lama gives a religious talk at the Tsuglakhang temple in Dharmsala, on Friday. AP Behind unusual move, bid to mend fences with Beijing SHUBHAJIT ROY NEW DELHI, MARCH 2 ELEVENMONTHSaftertheDalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh led to a steep slide in bilateral ties with China in 2017 and a two-and-half month standoff at Doklam, Foreign SecretaryVijayGokhale’snoteto skip functions of the Tibetan leadership in exile is a reflection of India’s cautious approach towards Beijing as it embarks on the task of mending fences with its northern neighbour. The Foreign Secretary’s note to Cabinet Secretary PKSinhaonFebruary22,camea day before he flew down to Beijing and held talks with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou, and called on ForeignMinisterWangandState Councillor Yang Jiechi. This was the first bilateral stand-alone visit by the Indian Foreign Secretary after a year — 10 THEEDITORIAL PAGE SADAF MODAK JOHNSON T A BENGALURU, MARCH 2 A SPECIAL Investigation Team (SIT) probing the September 5, 2017 killing of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh, 55, carried out its first arrest in the case on Friday. K T Naveen Kumar, 37, who was arrested on February 18 by the Bengaluru Police for illegal possession of bullets, has been named as the firstaccused in the case. TheSITarrestedKumar,aresidentof MaddurinMandya,after informingamagistrate’scourtin Bengaluru that it had found evidence of his involvement in the Gauri Lankesh murder in the course of the investigation into theillegalarmscaseforwhichhe was arrested on February 18. TheSITinitiallysoughtawarrant for Kumar’s arrest in the KRISHN KAUSHIK & LIZ MATHEW MUMBAI, MARCH 2 She was shot on Sept 6, 2017 Gauri Lankesh case — shortly after he was remanded in judicial custody in the illegal arms case — citing voluntary statements givenbysomeof Kumar’sfriends about his links to the Gauri Lankesh murder. When Kumar was produced before the court of an additional chief metropolitan magistrate, the SIT gave the court a sealed copy of a confession statement given by him about his involvement in the murder. An assistant public prosecutor,NirmalaRani,presentedaremand plea to the court seeking CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 A FAN left switched on next to burning coal meant for hookahs caused the Kamala Mills fire, according to the chargesheet filed by Mumbai Police. The fire on December 29 last year began at Mojo’s Bistro and spread to adjacent restaurantpub 1Above, causing the death of 13 patrons and a staff member there, the police said. The cause of the fire, they claimed, was the alleged negligence of a staffer at Mojo’s Bistro. The situation worsened due to other factors such as combustible material kept in both the restaurants, unauthorised constructions and a blocked fire exit at 1Above. According to the police, Mojo’s Bistro served hookah to its patrons on the open terrace NEW DELHI, MARCH 2 Fourteen people were killed in the December 29, 2017 fire. File illegally and employed separate staff for it. The hookah manager at the restaurant has told the police that he worked along with four men. They were employed withNirvana,acompanyowned by arrested accused Utkarsh Pandey, which supplied hookah services to Mojo’s Bistro. Attherestaurant,ontheright corner next to the bar counter, there was a counter to prepare hookahs. A table fan was fixed next to the coal to keep it burning. The manager told the police thatarrestedaccused,SayyedAli, 22, was in charge of the counter that day. “Since there would be many CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 IN THE latest turn to a continuing stand off, Prasar Bharati Chairman A Surya Prakash has taken up with “higher levels” of government the issue of the Ministry of Information and Broadcastingnotreleasingfunds meant to pay salaries of Prasar Bharati employees. The Information & BroadcastingMinistryhasnotreleasedthegrants-in-aidtoPrasar Bharati so far this year. Surya Prakash told The Indian Express, “In the matter of salaries, I have takenthematterupatthehigher levels in the government.” The ministry releases approximately Rs 200 crore every month, of which most is used to pay salaries of the 29,000 em- RED OR SAFFRON: WINNER OF TRIPURA’S BATTLE OF IDEOLOGY TODAY AGARTALA, MARCH 2 TRIPURA WILL know Saturday theresultsofoneofitsmosthotly contested elections in recent years.Itwillalsoknowwhichside oftheideologicaldivideithasdecided to stand — Left or Right. Considered the first true test for the Left Front government of 25 years in the state — 20 of which saw Chief Minister Manik Sarkar at the helm — this assembly election was more than just about ideology. Ontheeveof counting,while CPI(M) leaders maintained that BY UNNY then Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar had visited Beijing in February last year. Many believe that the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh from April 4 to 12 last year had provoked Beijing to take diplomatic and military moves that impacted the relationship adversely through CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Why Xi is no emperor BY SUDHEENDRA KULKARNI CHARGESHEET IN KAMALA MILLS FIRE Gauri Lankesh case I&B fund block: Prasar breakthrough: Hindu Running fan next to burning Bharati chief takes it Yuva Sena man held coal for hookahs caused fire up with ‘higher levels’ ● PAGE ONE ANCHOR ESHA ROY BUSINESS AS USUAL the high voting percentage — more than 91 per cent — would work in their favour, rival BJP leaders said the turnout indicates the people of Tripura had voted for change. In the tight fight, the voters appearedsplitdownthemiddle, with the Left Front’s “dedicated voters” choosing to remain with theredparties,whileaconsiderablechunkoftheyouthappeared to lean more towards the BJP. “This has been a tough fight, and an extremely important election. Not just for Tripura but for the entire country. Other political parties like the Congress may be our political rivals, but the BJP-RSS combine is our ideological foe,” said CPI(M) Politburo member Mohammad Salim, who campaigned widely in the state during the elections. “Not only is it the first time in the country’s electoral history that there has been a direct fight between the Left and the Right, but also the first time that the Left has fought against so many political parties — the BJP, TMC, Congress,” he said. “It is true that the BJP managed to woo the youth. Their campaign was full of glitz and glamour and false promises. Of promising jobs and smart phones... They also pushed their Outside the BJP office in Agartala on Friday. Abhishek Saha NAGALAND RULING PARTY OPEN TO ALLIANCE, PAGE 5 social media campaign in order to reach out to the youth. They used temples and ashrams to reach out to voters and tried to use religious sentiment in their favour, the same thing they did in Assam,” Salim said. BJP Tripura in-charge Sunil Deodhar appeared confident of a win. He said the people of Tripura were exhausted of the same government and the “same old faces year after year”. “Tripura has been important forus.Althoughtherewereelections in three Northeastern states,Tripuraisthemostimportant (state) for us because it is run by Communists. The idea is to break the back of the Communists,” Deodhar said. TheBJP’spushinthiselection, apart from the youth vote, has beentotryandbreaktheCPI(M)’s gripover20constituenciesthatare reserved for tribals. Only once, in 1988, did the tribal voter go with the Congress-TUJS alliance. The Left has consistently won most of the20seats.Itisthistribalvote,BJP insiderssaid,thatwillpossiblydeterminethefinaloutcome. Counting for 59 of the 60 seatswillbeginat8am.Afterthe death of CPI(M) candidate Ramendra Narayan Debbarma, polling for Charilam seat has been rescheduled for March 12. ployees of Prasar Bharati. “After December it (I&B Ministry) has not released the salaries. Prasar Bharati has paid salaries out of its own funds. Its kitty will run dry by April end,” said a source in Prasar Bharati. The Union Government had allocatedRs2,996.76croreinthe budget last year, which was revised to Rs 2,514.37. Till December, the ministry has released around Rs 1,900 crore. “For sometime now, it has raised queries and created problems before releasing funds every month,” the source said. In a statement issued Friday, theI&BMinistrysaid,“Asperthe provision in the General Financial Rules (GFR), any autonomous organisation receiving grant-in-aid must sign a MoU (memorandum of understanding) with the ministry, CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 12 WORLD CHINADEFENDS INCREASING INFLUENCEIN MEDIA AFTER FLORIDA, 2 DEAD IN ANOTHER CAMPUS SHOOTING IN U.S.
Indian Express Limited is an Indian news media publishing company. It publishes several widely circulated dailies, including The Indian Express and The Financial Express in English, the Loksatta in Marathi and the Jansatta in Hindi.