LATE CITY, 20 PAGES, AHMEDABAD, `3.00 ● TUESDAY, MARCH 13, 2018 ● WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM TheIndian EXPRESS DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE FARMERS CALL OFF PROTEST AFTER STATE GIVES IN BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY RAJYA SABHA POLLS Maharashtra says yes to farmer demand for right to forest land, waiver of loans In last-minute Congress confusion, BJP fields 3 candidates from Gujarat Loan waiver no solution, make farming viable: Swaminathan State sensitive and positive to demands of farmers, Fadnavis tells Assembly 8 RAVISH TIWARI SHUBHANGI KHAPRE THE EDITORIAL PAGE More than loan waivers to long march BY PRATAP BHANU MEHTA 9 NEW DELHI, MARCH 12 MUMBAI, MARCH 12 THE IDEAS PAGE Debating Partition, the Oxford way India needs to look at its own inability to nurture debate WITH A sea of agitating farmers swamping Mumbai and pressure mounting, the BJP-led Maharashtra government Monday accepted almost all demands of the farmers, including their right to till forest land and extending waiver of farm loans to those who had borrowed between 2001 and 2008. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, even before he met a delegation of the Left-affiliated All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) that led an estimated 40,000 farmers on a 180-km march from Nashik to Mumbai, told the Vidhan Sabha that the state government was “sensitive and positive” to the demands of the farmers, many of them tribals. The announcement that the agitation had ended was made after a three-hour meeting of the AIKS with Fadnavis at Vidhan Bhavan, in the presence of Special trains were arranged to send the farmers back to their homes. Prashant Nadkar Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil and NCP leaders Dhananjay Munde and Ajit Pawar. In April 2017, a few months before announcing a waiver expected to cost Rs 34,000 crore, CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 FULL COVERAGE PAGE 10 WHAT HAS BEEN AGREED UPON ■ MSP for farm produce in line with Swaminathan formula ■ Nar-Par, Daman Ganga and Girnar river-linking projects ■ Right of farmers, tribals to till forest land ■ Loan waiver extended to outstanding since 2008 ■ 31 water conservation projects in state’s tribal north ■ Financial aid to tribals with serious health problems FROM MANDSAUR to Mumbai, farmer agitations have repeatedly invoked recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission to press their demands, including waiver of loans. Political leadership across states — Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Punjab — have come out with their versions of farm loan waivers to stop unrest among farmers from turning into an electoral backlash. Yet Professor M S Swaminathan, author of the recommendations of the National Commission on Farmers (NCF) which is known after him, does not see farm loan waiver as a solution to challenges being faced by farmers. “The demand for loan waiver is indicative of non-viability of farm economics. Every step should be taken to make farming CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE GANDHINAGAR, MARCH 12 THE ELECTIONS for the four Rajya Sabha seats from Gujarat took a dramatic turn on Monday, the last day of the filing nominations, when both the main contenders — the ruling BJP and Opposition Congress — ended up fielding three candidates each, leading to a contest. Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, who accompanied the BJP’s third candidate Kiritsinh Rana during the filing of nomination, said that the party was fielding one more candidate as it felt that “cross-voting” by Congress MLAs will happen as they were “unhappy with the leadership of the Congress”. Earlier, both the parties had announced nominating two candidates — Union ministers Parshottam Rupala and Mansukh Mandaviya from the Congress leader P K Valera filed as an Independent, candidate, BJP’s third nominee Kiritsinh Rana BJP, and Naran Rathwa and Amee Yagnik from the Congress. While the BJP with a strength of 99 legislators in the Assembly can send two nominees, the Congress with a strength of 77 in the House can also send two nominees as each candidate requires votes of 38 MLAs to win. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 CONG LEADER QUITS PAGE 3 Joining BJP, Agrawal blames ‘dance karne wali’; Sushma hits out LIZ MATHEW NEW DELHI, MARCH 12 Mufti sacks Drabu for saying Kashmir not a political issue MIR EHSAN & LIZ MATHEW SRINAGAR, NEW DELHI, MARCH 12 J&K CHIEF Minister Mehbooba Mufti Monday sacked her Finance Minister, Haseeb Drabu, for his remarks that Kashmir is “not a political issue” but “a society which has social issues right now”. Speaking on ‘Kashmir: The Way Forward’ in New Delhi on March 9, Drabu set off a political storm in J&K when he said: “Don’t see J&K as a conflict state and a political issue. It is a society which has social issues right now. We are trying to find our own space and we are going through a process which many other countries are also going through.” “It (J&K) is not a political issue as far as I can see. They have been barking up the wrong tree for the last 50 or 70 years by talking Haseeb Drabu about the politics ofit, that the political situation has never improved. We seriously need to look at in terms of how it is a society that is in search of itself,” he said. The ruling PDP, which asked Drabu to retract his statement, later initiated disciplinary proceedings against him and sought an explanation. “The party (PDP) recognises Jammu and Kashmir as a political issue and ever since its emergence, the party has relentlessly been pursuing its resolution through reconciliation and dialogue, both at internal and external levels,” PDP vice-president Sartaj Madni said. “It is unfortunate that the problem is seen, by CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 49 KILLED IN NEPAL CRASH A US-Bangla Airlines aircraft crashed while landing at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu on Monday, killing at least 49 people. The Dhaka-Kathmandu flight had 67 passengers and four crew members on board. AP REPORT, PAGE 19 Regulator grounds 11 GoAir, IndiGo aircraft with faulty engines BASHAARAT MASOOD SRINAGAR, MARCH 12 A MILITANT ‘commander’, who is reported to be the Islamic State’s (IS) first recruit in the Valley, was killed with two other militants in an encounter in Anantnag, South Kashmir, on Sunday night. While police said they did not know if Mohammad At the funeral of Eisa Fazili in Srinagar on Monday. PTI CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 2 yrs after Cabinet OK, 4 rail lines for China border await funding Piyush Goyal welcomes Agrawal to BJP. Tashi Tobgyal mein kaam karnewali se meri haisiyat kar di gayi. Ye filmon mein dance karte, apna role karte, unke naam par hamara ticket kata gaya, mein ne isko bahut uchit nahin samjha. Kisi ne bhi isko uchit nahin samjha. (My status has been equated with women who work in films. For somebody who used to dance in films, act in films, I CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 FULL COVERAGE PAGE 17 EXPRESS NETWORK EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE PRANAV MUKUL NEW DELHI, MARCH 12 ‘IS recruit’ among 3 killed in encounter Dalai Lama to skip Science Congress MINUTES AFTER he joined the BJP, Rajya Sabha MP Naresh Agrawal Monday was at the centre of a storm after saying he joined the party because he was bypassed for “somebody who danced and worked in films” referring to actor-turned-politician Jaya Bachchan. Agrawal drew sharp criticism from the BJP including External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who said his remarks were “improper and unacceptable”. Agrawal quit the Samajwadi Party and formally joined the BJP in New Delhi after he lost out his Rajya Sabha re-nomination to Bachchan. Agrawal’s term as Rajya Sabha member ends on April 2. Addressing a press conference in the presence of Union Minister Piyush Goyal at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi, Agrawal said: “Aur filmon THE DIRECTORATE General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has ordered the grounding of 11 Airbus A320neo aircraft operated by budget carriers IndiGo and GoAir that are equipped with Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engines with certain serial numbers. The aviation regulator’s directive came hours after an IndiGo aircraft with the affected engine, on the AhmedabadLucknow route, developed a mid-air snag shortly after takeoff, forcing it to return to Ahmedabad. DGCA said it has not got a “firm commitment” from the US engine manufacturer on ad- dressing fresh safety concerns, which forced it to ground the fleet. The problem with the PW1100G engines was first redflagged by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) last month, following which certain restrictions were imposed on flying such aircraft. “EASA has informed that they are evaluating some interim proposals and will be revising the emergency airworthiness directive in due course, as soon as the current affected engines will be modified with a safer interim design. P&W, in their latest communication, has also not given any firm commitment as to when the issue on the engine... will be resolved, and informed that all the affected engines will be replaced NEW DELHI, MARCH 12 SUSHANT SINGH WHILE THE Dalai Lama was listed as one of the chief guests for the 105th edition of the Indian Science Congress (ISC) that begins in Manipur on Friday, he will not attend the event. This comes Was listed weeks after the as a chief government sent a guest note asking senior leaders and government functionaries to stay away from events planned to mark 60 years in exile of the Dalai Lama. As reported by The Indian Express, the note CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 NEW DELHI, MARCH 12 THE GOVERNMENT is unable to find an estimated Rs 2.1 lakh crore that is needed to construct four ‘priority’ strategic railway lines on the China border. The final location survey (FLS) for these four railway lines is currently being undertaken by the Ministry of Railways after the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) gave its approval in December 2015. Government sources told The Indian Express that the matter has been discussed repeatedly by the Empowered Committee on Border Infrastructure (ECBI), chaired by the Cabinet Secretary, but no conclusive decision on the funding could be arrived at. The Ministry of Defence has also raised the issue in the Central Permanent Coordination Framework, which has representatives of the Ministry of Railways. The preliminary estimate of Rs 2.1 lakh crore for construction of the four strategic railway lines was provided by the Railways, and a Steering Committee under Secretary (Expenditure) in the Ministry of Finance was formed to look for ways to finance the construction. As per government sources, Railways have declined to fund construction of these four lines, calling them commercially unviable, both in projected passenger and freight traffic. ● 10 DEAD IN THENI FOREST FIRE, TOLL MAY RISE, PAGE 10 5 GUJARAT ISHRAT CASE: VANZARA SEEKS DISCHARGE ● Muslim youth dies, 5 of 7 ‘Bajrang Dal members’ arrested CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ● PAGE ONE ANCHOR ‘IMPRESSED’ BY ROLE IN GAURI KILLING, ACCUSED GOT SECOND TARGET: POLICE JOHNSON T A BENGALURU, MARCH 12 IMPRESSED WITH the logistical support he provided before the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh, the conspirators behind her killing tasked Hindu Yuva Sena leader K T Naveen Kumar, who was arrested for his alleged involvement in her murder, to kill outspoken writer-rationalist K S Bhagwan in Mysuru, investigations have found. Kumar was in the process of procuring a gun to kill Bhagwan at the behest of co-conspirators when he was arrested on February 18, 2018, by the Bengaluru police for illegal possession of bullets, sources said. He is suspected to have surveyed and pointed out Gauri Lankesh’s house to a group of killers who came from outside Karnataka to murder her. Gauri was killed outside her house in Bengaluru on September 5, 2017. Kumar will also undergo a narco-analysis test to understand the depth of his knowledge about the conspiracy to kill Gauri Lankesh and to corroborate statements given so far. He consented to undergo narco- analysis when produced before a magistrate’s court in Bengaluru Monday. Kumar, in court ast week, had refused to undergo the test despite giving his consent in police custody before witnesses. Bengaluru Deputy Commissioner of Police (West) M N Anucheth, who is also the investigating officer in the SIT probing the Gauri Lankesh murder case, said that the alleged murder plot to kill the writer-rationalist K S Bhagwan would now be pursued under sections of the Indian Penal Code for attempt to murder and criminal Naveen Kumar at a Hindu Yuva Sena event in Maddur conspiracy case and not just an illegal arms case. The addition of these sections will implicate Kumar in the attempt to murder the writer rationalist K S Bhagwan — a strident critic of practices and beliefs in the Hindu religious system. Though Kumar has been granted bail in the Arms Act case, police will file a revision petition to consider the serious, new charges and reject bail, said Anucheth. A magistrate before whom Kumar was presented on March 2 in connection with Gauri Lankesh murder case was given a sealed copy of a voluntary state- ment provided by Kumar about his role in the two conspiracies. Sources claimed that a delay of one week in arresting Kumar last month would have resulted in a murder attempt on Bhagwan. Investigations conducted so far in the Arms Act case against Kumar — who is also affiliated with the radical right-wing Hindu group, Sanatan Sanstha — have revealed that he was tasked with organising a support group to carry out surveillance at the writer’s home, procure a weapon and facilitate a shooting operation by a team that had already visited Karnataka and was sched- uled to return when the gun was in hand. Some close associates who Kumar had involved in the plot to provide support for the Bhagwan operation have provided evidence during the probe to indicate the stage of planning of the operation — including a visit by some outsiders speaking a different language. In Mysuru, where Bhagwan lives, security for the writer-rationalist was enhanced recently. “He was being provided security, which has now been increased to the highest possible level after another investigation re- vealed that his life is under serious threat,’’ Mysuru Police Commissioner Subramanyeshwar Rao said. While Kumar initially claimed during investigations that he was to obtain a weapon from outside Karnataka, subsequent investigations have revealed that a weapon was to be delivered to him in the state through an arms and ammunition network that he had used for a few years, police sources said. When he was arrested in February, Kumar was found in possession of 15 rounds of .32 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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