TheIndian EXPRESS LATE CITY, 18 PAGES, KOLKATA, `4.00 (`12 IN NORTH EAST STATES & ANDAMAN) ● TUESDAY, MARCH 13, 2018 ● WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA WEST BENGAL P4 ● MADHYAMIK KICKS OFF ‘WITHOUT INCIDENT’ BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY FARMERS CALL OFF PROTEST AFTER STATE GIVES IN Maharashtra says yes to farmer demand for right to forest land, waiver of loans Loan waiver no solution, make farming viable: Swaminathan State sensitive and positive to demands of farmers, Fadnavis tells Assembly RAVISH TIWARI SHUBHANGI KHAPRE NEW DELHI, MARCH 12 MUMBAI, MARCH 12 8 THE EDITORIAL PAGE A claim for dignity BY PRATAP BHANU MEHTA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE 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 extension of farm loan waiver 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 ledanestimated40,000farmers on a 180-km march from Nashik to Mumbai, told the Vidhan Sabhathatthestategovernment was “sensitive and positive” to the demands of the farmers, many of them tribals. The announcement that the agitation had ended was made afterathree-hourmeetingof 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 ■ Waiver to include loans 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, authorof therecommendations of the National Commission on Farmers (NCF) which is better known as his panel, does not see farm loan waiver as a solution to challenges being faced by farmers. “Thedemandforloanwaiver is indicative of non-viability of farm economics. Every step shouldbetakentomakefarming CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Agrawal leaves BJP red-faced on Day 1: lost out to ‘dance karnewali’ Sushma furious: remarks on Jaya Bachchan unacceptable LIZ MATHEW NEW DELHI, MARCH 12 MINUTES AFTER he joined the BJP, Rajya Sabha MP Naresh AgrawalMondaywasatthecentre 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 saidhisremarkswere“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’stermasRajya Sabha member ends on April 2. Addressing a press conference in the presence of Union 49 KILLED IN NEPAL CRASH A US-Bangla Airlines aircraft crashed while landing at the Kathmandu airport on Monday, killing at least 49 people. The Dhaka-Kathmandu flight had 71 on board. AP REPORT, PAGE 11 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 Key communication channel with partner snapped, say BJP leaders 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)isnotapoliticalissue asfarasIcansee.Theyhavebeen barkingupthewrongtreeforthe last 50 or 70 years by talking aboutthepoliticsofit,thatthepolitical situation has never improved.Weseriouslyneedtolook 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 proceedingsagainsthimandsought an explanation. “The party (PDP) recognises Jammu and Kashmir as a political issue and ever since its emergence, the party has relentlessly Haseeb Drabu been pursuing its resolution through reconciliation and dialogue,bothatinternalandexternal levels,” PDP vice-president Sartaj Madni said. “It is unfortunate that the problem is seen, by some forces in the sub-continent, as a mere managementassignment to contain peoples’ aspirations... the resolution commitment is being aimlessly undermined,” he said. PDP chief spokesperson Rafi Ahmad Mir told The Indian Express that in the backdrop of Drabu’s statement, the head of the party disciplinary committee, Revenue Minister Abdul RehmanVeeri,hadsoughtanexplanation. “He (Drabu) failed to satisfy the party leadership on his statement. In the morning, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti wrote a letter to the Governor, requesting him to sack the minister,’’ Mir said. Reached for comments, Drabu told The Indian Express: “I don’t want to speak right now. You will appreciate it. When I will speak (about it), you will come to know.’’ This is the first time in recent years when a senior cabinet CONTINUEDONPAGE2 3 militants killed in Valley encounter, one of them an ‘IS recruit’ BASHAARAT MASOOD SRINAGAR, MARCH 12 Piyush Goyal welcomes Agrawal to BJP. Tashi Tobgyal Minister Piyush Goyal at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi, CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 MORE REPORTS PAGES 4, 12 2 yrs after Cabinet OK, 4 rail lines for China border await funding SUSHANT SINGH Mufti sacks Drabu for saying Kashmir not a political issue December 2015. Governmentsourcessaidthe matter has been discussed repeatedly by the Empowered Committee on Border Infrastructure (ECBI), chaired by theCabinetSecretary,butnoconclusive decision on the funding could be arrived at. The Ministry of Defence has also raised the issue in the Central Permanent CoordinationFramework,which has representatives of the Ministry of Railways. The preliminary estimate of Rs2.1lakhcroreforconstruction of the four strategic railway lines was provided by the Railways, andaSteeringCommitteeunder 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. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Regulator grounds 11 GoAir, IndiGo aircraft with faulty engines PRANAV MUKUL NEW DELHI, MARCH 12 THE DIRECTORATE General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has ordered the grounding of 11 AirbusA320neoaircraftoperated by budget carriers IndiGo and GoAir that are equipped with Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engineswithcertainserialnumbers. 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 take-off, forcing it to return to Ahmedabad. DGCA said it has not got a “firmcommitment”fromtheUS engine manufacturer on addressingfreshsafetyconcerns, which forced it to ground the fleet. The problem with the PW1100G engines was first redflagged by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) lastmonth,followingwhichcertain restrictions were imposed on flying such aircraft. “EASAhasinformedthatthey areevaluatingsomeinterimproposals and will be revising the emergency airworthiness directive in due course, as soon as the current affected engines will be modifiedwithasaferinterimdesign.P&W,intheirlatestcommunication, has also not given any firmcommitmentastowhenthe issue on the engine... will be resolved, and informed that all the affectedengineswillbereplaced CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Dalai Lama to skip Science Congress EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, MARCH 12 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. Was listed This comes as a chief weeks after the guest government sent a note asking senior leaders and government functionaries to stay away from events plannedtomark60yearsinexile of theDalaiLama.Asreportedby The Indian Express, the note CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 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. Whilepolicesaidtheydidnot know if Mohammad Eisa Fazili (22) had joined the IS, they confirmed his involvement in the killingof apolicemaninSoura,in Srinagar, on February 25. The IS had claimed credit for the attack the next day, through its news agency Amaq. “Assassinated an element of police in firing near city of Srinagar in Kashmir yesterday,” it had said. According to sources, police cordoned off Hakoora village in Anantnag on Sunday night, after theyreceivedintelligenceinputs about the presence of militants. The three militants — Fazili, his classmateandfriendSyedOwais Shafi, 22, and a ‘foreigner’ — reportedly came out of the house where they were hiding and openedfireastheytriedtobreak the security cordon. They were killed in retaliatory fire. At the funeral of Eisa Fazili in Srinagar on Monday. PTI Fazili,aresidentof Soura,was a B.Tech. student at the Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah (BGSB) University in Rajouri before he joined militant ranks on August 17 last year. “He (Fazili) first joined the Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen and thenthereweresomereportson social media that he had joined the IS,” Inspector General of Police(IGP)KashmirSPPanitold The Indian Express. “But as far as we know, he was involved in an incident at Soura (in which a policeman was killed) and was CONTINUEDONPAGE2 ● PAGE ONE ANCHOR ‘IMPRESSED’ BY ROLE IN LANKESH KILLING, ACCUSED GIVEN SECOND TARGET: POLICE JOHNSONTA BENGALURU,MARCH12 IMPRESSED WITH the logistical support he provided before the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh,theconspiratorsbehind her killing tasked Hindu Yuva Sena leader K T Naveen Kumar, who was arrested for his alleged involvementinhermurder,tokill 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 February18,bytheBengalurupolice for illegal possession of bul- lets, 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-analysistesttounderstand thedepthofhisknowledgeabout the conspiracy to kill Gauri Lankeshandtocorroboratestatements given so far. He consented to undergo narco-analysis when produced before a magistrate’s court in Bengaluru Monday. Kumar,incourtlastweek,hadrefused to undergo the test despite giving his consent in police custody before witnesses. Bengaluru Deputy CommissionerofPolice(West)M NAnucheth,whoisalsotheinvestigating officer in the SIT probing the Gauri Lankesh murder case, said that the alleged murder plot to kill writerrationalist K S Bhagwan would nowbepursuedundersectionsof theIndianPenalCodeforattempt to murder and criminal conspiracy case and not just an illegal arms case. Theadditionof thesesections will implicate Kumar in the attempt to murder Bhagwan — a strident critic of practices and beliefsintheHindureligioussystem. Though Kumar has been granted bail in the Arms Act case, police will file a revision petition Naveen Kumar at a Hindu Yuva Sena event in Maddur 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 Lankeshmurdercasewasgiven a sealed copy of a voluntary statement 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 inamurderattemptonBhagwan. Investigationsconductedsofarin the Arms Act case against Kumar — who is also affiliated with the radical right-wing Hindu group, SanatanSanstha—haverevealed that he was tasked with organising a support group to carry out surveillanceatthewriter’shome, procure a weapon and facilitate a shootingoperationbyateamthat hadalreadyvisitedKarnatakaand wasscheduledtoreturnwhenthe gun was in hand. Some close associates who Kumarhadinvolvedintheplotto providesupportfortheBhagwan operationhaveprovidedevidence during the probe to indicate the stageofplanningoftheoperation — including a visit by some outsiders speaking a different language. In Mysuru, where Bhagwan lives,securityforthewriter-rationalistwasenhancedrecently.“He was being provided security, whichhasnowbeenincreasedto thehighestpossiblelevelafteranother investigation revealed that his life is under serious threat,’’ Mysuru Police Commissioner Subramanyeshwar Rao said. WhileKumarinitiallyclaimed duringinvestigationsthathewas to obtain a weapon from outside Karnataka,subsequentinvestigationshaverevealedthataweapon was to be delivered to him in the statethroughanarmsandammunition network that he had used forafewyears,policesourcessaid. When he was arrested in February, Kumar was found in possessionof15roundsof.32calibre live cartridges which are the equivalentof7.65mmcartridges. Investigators are of the view that the plot to murder Bhagwan withanewweaponwasprobably anattemptbytheconspiratorsto divert attention from the Gauri Lankesh case, where investiga- tions had indicated that she was shot with a 7.65 mm countrymade gun. Sourcessaidthesame weaponwasusedtokillKannada literary researcher and scholar M M Kalburgi, 77, in Dharwad in August 2015 and leftist thinker Govind Pansare, 81, in Kohlapur Maharashtra in February 2015. ThoughtheSITsoughttotake Kumar to Goa and Belgaum, to unravel the conspiracy behind themurderof GauriLankesh,police did not travel with Kumar over the last four days after he complained of a poor back, sources said. After producing Kumar in court Monday, the SIT did not seek further custody and hewasremandedtojudicialcustody for 15 days.
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.