LATE CITY, 16 PAGES, AHMEDABAD, `4.00 ● MONDAY, JULY 2, 2018 ● WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM TheIndian EXPRESS DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE This time, it’s in Maharashtra: Five lynched over child lifting rumours on social media Tripura victim was hired for Rs 500 to kill rumours Victims had come to beg at weekly market, case filed against 35: Police RASHMI RAJPUT MUMBAI, JULY 1 3 GUJARAT A TALE OF 2 ‘ASPIRING’ DISTRICTS: HOW DAHOD TOPPED NITI AAYOG LIST OF ‘MOST IMPROVED DISTRICT’ IN ANOTHER case of mob violence triggered by social media posts, five people were lynched in Dhule district of Maharashtra on Sunday morning over suspicion that they were part of a gang of “child lifters”, police said. The incident took place in the tribal hamlet of Rainpada in Sakri taluka, about 325 km from Mumbai. The mob reportedly comprised over 35 people, including some children. The five victims, along with a few others, were seen getting down from a state transport bus, police said. When one of them apparently tried to speak to a girl child, the villagers, who had gathered for the weekly Sunday market, pounced on them, they said. “The accused hail from a tribal village where WhatsApp posts pertaining to child kidnappers had gone viral. Based on the posts, the mob suspected the victims to be child lifters and thrashed them to death,” M Ramkumar, Superintendent of Police, Dhule, told The Indian Express. “The victims were nomads who had come to seek alms at ABHISHEK SAHA GUWAHATI, JULY 1 An image from a video shot on a cellphone of the attack CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 THREE DAYS after an announcer hired by authorities in South Tripura to dispel rumours of child-lifters was lynched by a mob, his grief-stricken family is still struggling to cope with the fact that the 33-year-old lost his life trying to keep his family afloat — for a daily wage of Rs 500. Sukanta Chakraborty was lynched by a mob on June 28 in the Kalachhara area after a few youths confronted the government team and said they did not know the “real” situation in the villages where “child abductors were really present”. ”Thiswas plain murder in front of so many people. An announcer for a noble cause, hired by the authorities, was lynched to death. What can I say? He left behind his wife and a fivemonth-old baby boy,” says Debabrata Chakraborty, the elder brother of Sukanta, speaking to The Indian Express over phone. Debabrata, a construction worker, says his brother’s body bore marks of grievous injuries caused by bricks, stones, sticks CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 11 of family found dead with blindfolds, cops point to notes on ‘mystical practices’ ONE YEAR OF GST PM rules out one slab: Milk, Mercedes can’t have same rate Over 70% jump in indirect taxpayer base in 1 year: PM EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, JULY 1 RULING OUT a single tax rate under the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said milk and Mercedes cannot be taxed at the same rate. He also indicated that there may not be any further reduction in the tax rates as the government has reduced taxes on nearly 400 groups of items. “It would have been very simple to have just one slab, but it would have meant we could not have food items at zero per cent tax rate. Can we have milk and Mercedes at the same rate?” Modi said in an interview to Swarajya magazine. “So, when our friends in Congress say that they will have just one GST rate, they are effectively saying they will tax food items and commodities, which are currently at zero or 5 per cent, at 18 per cent,” he said. Swarajya posted a part-transcript of the 45-minute interview on its website on Sunday, Union Minister Piyush Goyal at the ‘GST Day’ event in New Delhi on Sunday. Renuka Puri ‘HIGHER REVENUE TO AID RATIONALISATION’ Union Minister Arun Jaitley said higher revenue collection would enhance the capacity to rationalise rates. He said GST has been implemented in a least disruptive manner. CHIDAMBARAM CALLS IT RSS TAX: Calling GST an “RSS tax”, Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram said GST has “become a bad word among business persons, traders, exporters and common citizens”. REPORTS, PAGES 4 & 10 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 The house where the bodies were found, in Burari area of North Delhi on Sunday. Gajendra Yadav MAHENDER SINGH MANRAL NEW DELHI, JULY 1 ELEVEN MEMBERS of a family, including seven women, were found dead under mysterious circumstances at their residence in Burari area of North Delhi on Sunday morning. While 10 of the dead were found hanging, with their eyes covered with pieces of cloth cut from the same bedsheet and their mouths taped, the body of 14 SPORT a 77-year-old woman was found lying on the floor in another room of the house. A police statement said some handwritten notes were found in the house “which point towards observance of some definite spiritual/ mystical practices by the whole family”. Additional DCP (North) Vinit Kumar said “these notes have strong similarity with the manner in which the mouths, eyes etc of the deceased were tied and taped”. He said they received a PCR CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 WORLD CUP: RUSSIA SENDS SPAIN CRASHING OUT IN PENALTY SHOOTOUT 8 THE EDITORIAL PAGE Pilgrims make their way to Sheshnag on the Amarnath Yatra. Praveen Khanna Red flags go up over rains, but pilgrims push forward on dangerous 3-km trek ANAND MOHAN J Amarnath cave SHESHNAG, JULY 1 THE RAINS have been unrelenting. And every morning, a fiveman road-opening party from the BSF has been conducting threat assessment operations from Chandanwari to Sheshnag. In between the two base camps, is the most difficult part of the Amarnath Yatra: Pissu top mountain, a punishing 3-km trek involving a steep ascent 11,000 ft above sea level over narrow tracks covered in mud. TRACKING THE YATRA ● SHESHNAG The BSF party, the Mountain Rescue Team (MRT) and the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) warn the Nunwan base camp that the “track is dangerous” due to “continuous rainfall”. The Sheshnag base camp director, too, requests his counterpart to not send anyone through. But despite the red flags, officials at Nunwan show the green light. “The pilgrims kept insisting that we allow them to leave Pahalgam. Many of them had started to become agitated,” says Surender Mohan, the director of Nunwan base camp. “Sometimes, people’s devotion trumps security,” says Roop Raj Bhagwan, the police officer in charge at Nunwan who had decided earlier to not allow the pilgrims through. This leaves the camp director in Sheshnag, Kishore Singh, seething. “They should not have sent the first batch to Sheshnag and it was a blunder of Himalayan proportions. The people who reached our base camp had been through a lot,” he says. And so, on June 29, the first batch of pilgrims reaches Chandanwari, 16 km away, on private vans. At the security gates, they argue with officers and shrine board officials to let them pass. Finally, 1,564 pilgrims are let through. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Sikh leader among 20 killed in Afghan blast Concerned over IDBI Bank stake sale EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE Avtar Singh Khalsa had started his poll campaign CHANDIGARH, NEW DELHI, JULY 1 A SIKH politician in Afghanistan, who was a candidate in the parliamentary elections scheduled for October, was among 20 people killed in a blast triggered by a suicide bomber targeting a vehicle in the eastern city of Jalalabad Sunday. Officials said at least 10 of the dead were from the minority Sikh community in the country. Most of those killed, including the politician Avtar Singh Khalsa, were travelling to meet President Ashraf Ghani. The blast, which occurred hours after Ghani had opened a hospital in Jalalabad, damaged shops and buildings around Mukhaberat square in the city, the provincial governor’s spokesman said. The Indian embassy in Kabul condemned the attack and said that it underlines the need for wider international efforts to eliminate terrorism. Khalsa, 52, is survived by his wife and four children. One of his sons, Narinder Singh Khalsa, was injured in the attack. In a recent interview published in the local media, Khalsa had said: “I don’t only want to serve my Sikh and Hindu brothers. I have to be able to serve all the Afghan people, no matter which ethnicity or group they belong to... I (will) sacrifice CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 to LIC, say insurance and bank staff GEORGE MATHEW MUMBAI, JULY 1 THE GOVERNMENT’S move to sell its stake in IDBI Bank to Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) has met with stiff resistance from employees of the insurance and banking sectors, who have questioned the rationale of investing in a bank which is weighed down by huge bad loans and losses. “We are anxious and seri- ously concerned about this sale. Now as a concerned and a responsible trade union in LIC, it is morally worth questioning whether IDBI Bank, a lender with humongous bad loans close to a third of its book, makes for a good investment for LIC,” said Rajesh Kumar, general secretary, All India LIC Employees Federation. “Given the precarious situation of Non Performing Assets (NPAs) in IDBI Bank and the in- tention of LIC to substantially raise its stake in the said bank, there is contagion risk on the policy-holders’ precious savings, which will grossly impact the capability of LIC to serve its policyholder. In the past few years, LIC has been struggling to raise the bonus on the policies,” Kumar said in a letter to LIC Chairman V K Sharma. On Friday, the Insurance Regulatory and Development CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 The virtues of formality BY MANISH SABHARWAL Gujarat polls played a role in GST changes last year: Chief Secy EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE AHMEDABAD, JULY 1 ATTRIBUTING THE last year’s Assembly elections in Gujarat as “being responsible to some extent” in the GST Council bringing changes in the tax slabs, Gujarat Chief Secretary J N Singh on Sunday said that “political decision-makers, many times, are not in day-to-day contact with problems of different places”. Singh was speaking at a function here to celebrate one year of the launch of Goods & Service Tax (GST) in the country. The event was also attended by Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister Nitin Patel. “The GST Council has shown tremendous flexibility while implementing GST by bringing in a lot of changes in the tax structure... To some extent, Gujarat elections were also responsible (for this)... No, I am serious. This was an election where people could see problems. The problems occur, but many times we cannot see them because many times government and political decision-makers are not much Chief Secretary J N Singh with Dy CM Nitin Patel at the event on Sunday. Javed Raja in contact with the day-to-day things happening at different places. But (during Gujarat Assembly elections), they (political decision-makers) could see what is happening in Ahmedabad, what is happening in Surat...and they were genuine problems...and people were in touch that helped very substantially in solving those issues,” Singh added. In the run-up to the Assembly elections last year, the GST Council had shifted as many as 178 items of daily use from the top tax bracket of 28 per cent to 18 per cent. The Council had also slashed GST on Gujarati food CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ● PAGE ONE ANCHOR BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY GPS, RADIO TAGS, DRONES IN SHIMLA’S FIGHT AGAINST TREE-FELLING Nearly 3 lakh tagged, project to revive forest cover has Oct deadline ASHWANI SHARMA SHIMLA, JULY 1 EXPRESS NETWORK ● 48 killed as bus falls into gorge in Uttarakhand, P 5 MONIKA THAKUR stands next to a Deodar tree on the wooded St Bede’s College campus in Shimla, absorbed in a mobile device. At 22, she could easily pass off as a student. But she’s not. She is a forest guard — and what she is busy with, is not a mobile phone but a GPS device. Thakur is part of an ambitious project that aims to combat a menace that has ravaged the Himachal capital — the illegal TRACKING CHANGE» EVERY MONDAY For all Change stories, log on to www.indianexpress.com/change Witness Change? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org felling of trees. According to Forest Department officials, there are an estimated 4,00,000 trees within Shimla municipal limits. And until March 15, records show, they had tagged 2,81,780. If the project sticks to schedule, officials say all the trees will be GPS-tagged by October. “This will provide real-time GPS data and a scientific record on the forest wealth of Shimla. If anyone damages or cuts a tree on private land, our team can easily check how many were cut through a GPS-enabled mobile phone. They can immediately send an alert about the missing tree and its tag number,” Tarun Kapoor, additional chief secretary, forest and environment, told The Indian Express. And yet, the project required Monika Thakur, a forest guard, geo-tags trees in Shimla. The project aims to tag 4 lakh trees. Pradeep Kumar a push from the High Court to get going. Last October, while hearing a public interest litigation against the illegal felling of trees, the court ordered that each tree must be mapped and implanted with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags. It also ordered that Shimla’s forest cover must be mapped through satellite or drones, and an “environmental audit” be conducted of all trees and saplings. Thakur, who graduated from the government girls’ college in Shimla two years ago, is one of 17 trained guards who set out daily in the state capital with a handheld GPS device, a tree-measur- ing instrument called clapper, bark-shaver and paint box. “Sometimes, we need the presence of the patwari (local revenue official) to be sure about the owners of these trees in case of any boundary disputes. The most important tool is the GPS identifier. Once I stand next to the tree, its location is displayed, and I mark it on the device and make a physical record,” she said. Flanked by three workers, Thakur also records the health of the tree — “whether it is dead or alive, standing straight, reclining or angled dangerously”. The workers then shave off a bit of CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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