LATE CITY, 18 PAGES, AHMEDABAD, `4.00 ● WEDNESDAY, JULY 11, 2018 ● WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM TheIndian EXPRESS DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE OPERATIVE FLOWN TO AFGHANISTAN WHERE HE IS IN CUSTODY Indian intelligence infiltrated IS ring to track, arrest Afghan suicide bomber sent to hit Delhi Afghan national got admitted to engg college, rented a flat in Lajpat Nagar, Indian ‘plant’ gave him dummy explosives RITU SARIN NEW DELHI, JULY 10 IN AN audacious counter-intelligence operation, unprecedented in its scale and scope, Indian security agencies infiltrated an Islamic State ring to thwart a bid by an IS Afghan suicide bomber to strike New Delhi. The operation included the Indian “plant” supplying the IS operative with explosives — without triggers — and even arranging for his accommoda- tion in the capital. The arrest by Indian agencies happened in New Delhi around September 2017 but it’s only now that top diplomatic and intelligence sources have confirmed details to The Indian Express. The IS operative, who lived in New Delhi in the guise of an engineering student, was flown to Afghanistan days after he was arrested and is, at present, understood to be in custody in a key US military base in Afghanistan. In fact, so “high value” is this UNPRECEDENTED COUNTER-INTELLIGENCE OPERATION ■ IS operative joined engineering college, rented flat in Lajpat Nagar ■ Visited Delhi airport, malls, markets as possible attack sites ■ Nabbed after IS ring was infiltrated, vigil by multi-agency group ■ Said he was one of 12 tasked to trigger blasts in different countries ■ Flown to Afghanistan, provided leads that led to killing of Taliban men US forces in Afghanistan have used the IS man’s confessions to hit the Taliban Afghan bomber that his confessions and interrogations are seen as one of the possible reasons behind the string of successes achieved recently by US forces against the Taliban in Afghanistan, sources said. Sources have told The Indian Express that an 18-month-long surveillance operation in Afghanistan, Dubai and New Delhi yielded intelligence that a group of 12 IS operatives were being sent after training in Pakistan to carry out bomb CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Sec 377 is Victorian era morality, strike it down: petitions in SC Pact signed, Indian marine exports eye South Korea market For now, will deal only with validity of law, correctness of 2013 order: Bench ANANTHAKRISHNAN G GUJARAT PAGES 3, 4 ● DON’T SOW WATER INTENSIVE CROPS: SSNNL ADVISORY ● GIRL’S BODY FOUND IN BOREWELL IN RAJKOT BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY NEW DELHI, JULY 10 A FIVE-JUDGE Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, which Tuesday started hearing a clutch of petitions challenging Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, was told that the law criminalising same sex relations between consenting adults was a product of Victorian era morality and deserved to be struck down as “unconstitutional”. During the course of the hearing, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra observed “you only have to impress on us that if Section 377 was to be enacted today, it would be struck down for violating fundamental rights” while his colleague Justice D Y Chandrachud, at another point, remarked that one’s choice of “partner would include same sex 8 partner too”. The bench, also comprising Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar and Indu Malhotra, made it clear that it would not venture into the issue of marriage relating to the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) community or inheritance in live-in relationships. The judges said they would only deal with the question of the validity of Section 377, and examine the correctness of the Supreme Court’s 2013 judgment that had overturned the Delhi High Court order decriminalising gay sex. “The question here is whether Section 377 is ultra vires or not. Let us get out of this maze. We cannot now give an advance ruling on questions like inheritance to live-in partners, whether they can marry, etc. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Month 2017 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Total 09 05 09 08 16 17 06 03 12 10 16 17 128 THAI CAVE RESCUE OVER , ALL SAFE A helicopter carrying one of the 12 boys rescued from the flooded cave in Chiang Rai, Thailand Tuesday. After 18 days, the boys and their football coach emerged safely. AP PAGE 12 NEET in Tamil: HC orders 196 grace marks and a new list, stays counselling sessions BY ASHUTOSH VARSHNEY WHAT MULTI-AGENCY CENTRE FOUND THERE HAS been a spike in the recruitment of local youths by militant groups in Kashmir following the end of the Ramzan ceasefire. According to data compiled by J&K’s Multi-Agency Centre (MAC), the month of June saw 27 youths from the Valley — mainly from the districts of Shopian, Pulwama, Anantnag and Kulgam in South Kashmir — joining militancy. “The increase in the number of local youths picking the gun last month came after June 16, NEW DELHI, JULY 10 ARUN JANARDHANAN CHENNAI, JULY 10 Spike in militant recruitment after end of Valley ceasefire: J&K data NEW DELHI, JULY 10 SHUBHAJIT ROY Is China meritocratic? THE EDITORIAL PAGE SUSHANT SINGH Prime Minister Narendra Modi with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in New Delhi, Tuesday. Renuka Puri 2018 (Till June) 03 03 07 28 14 27 — — — — — — 82 which was Eid, when the ceasefire ended and the security forces decided to undertake operations,” said a Srinagar-based security official. After an all-time high of 28 in April, militant recruitment in the Valley had dropped to 14 in May. The data (till June-end) shows that 82 local youths have joined militancy since the beginning of the year, raising fears in the security establishment that this could be the worst year ever in terms of local recruitment of militants in the Valley. In 2017, 128 local youths were reported to have joined militancy, up from CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 THE MADURAI bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday ordered the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to grant 196 grace marks — four marks each for 49 questions — to all students who appeared for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) in Tamil this year. Directing the Board to bring out a fresh list of qualified candidates within two weeks, the court said the ongoing counselling sessions should be “kept in abeyance” till then. The division bench of Justices C T Selvam and A M Basheer Ahamed passed the order on a PIL filed by T K Rangarajan, CPI(M) MP, who sought full marks for all the 49 questions, saying key words had been wrongly translated in the Tamil question paper. The NEET-2018 paper, for admission to medical and dental colleges, had 180 questions with total 720 marks. Citing media reports, the petitioner had said that about 24,000 students appeared for the exam in Tamil. “The Board should revise the list of qualified candidates and publish the same afresh within a period of two weeks from today. It shall then be open to the authorities concerned to go about counselling the eligible candidates,” said the court. “As a necessary corollary to the above, the list of qualified candidates shall be kept in abeyance as would the counselling sessions, pending publishing details of the qualified candidates afresh in keeping with the order of the court,” it said. In his petition, Rangarajan had said the Tamil translation of 49 questions was either wrong or ambiguous. Citing errors, he said ‘cheetah’ had been translated as ‘seetha’, and technical terms like ‘multiple alleles’ and ‘ureters’ had also been misinterpreted, causing confusion among students. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 12 WORLD SHARIF, MARYAM PUT ON PAKISTAN’S EXIT CONTROL LIST OPENING UP the possibility of export of marine products to South Korea, India on Tuesday signed a joint statement on Early Harvest Package of the Upgraded Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), following a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. The joint statement said that while resolving to work towards promoting mutual prosperity, the two countries “agreed to expand bilateral trade, including through the early conclusion of ongoing negotiations to upgrade the ROK-India Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). In this regard, we welcomed the finalisation of the elements of an Early Harvest Package that would lead towards an upgraded CEPA.” The statement urged the business community from both countries to leverage opportunities arising from complementarities between the two economies, to enhance investment, promote joint ventures, and work towards the goal of raising bilateral trade to $ 50 billion by 2030. Currently, bilateral trade stands at $ 20 billion. Praising Moon for his “tireless efforts” towards denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, Modi also made an oblique reference to Pakistan’s links with CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Vadodara’s old airport terminal let out for film shoot, wedding ADITI RAJA VADODARA, JULY 10 ALMOST TWO years after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the new integrated terminal of the Vadodara airport, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has put up the red brick-face structure of the old terminal for hire. Last week, actors John Abraham and Jackie Shroff were at this airport, shooting for their film RAW (Romeo Akbar Walter). The building has also hosted two other events, and been booked for a wedding next February. Officials said the building, which is set to be demolished, is being put to use until the process of demolition is completed. According to the director of The old terminal was let out for an event for the Sindhi community earlier this year. Express Vadodara airport, Charan Singh, the decision to rent out four locations within the premises of the old terminal was taken as the AAI is waiting for the central government to process the proposal to demolish the structure, which is said to “come in the way” of the existing operational runway. Singh told The Indian Express, “The design of the old terminal CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ● PAGE ONE ANCHOR CLOUD ON CHINA-US TRADE HAS SILVER LINING FOR INDIA’S SOYABEAN FARMERS HARISH DAMODARAN NEW DELHI, JULY 10 IN TIMES of farm distress, a little bit of luck can make a big difference. For soyabean growers, particularly in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, which go to polls later this year, that luck could come from the trade tensions between the US and China. China is the world’s largest importer of soyabean. In 2016-17 (October-September), it bought 93.49 million tonnes (mt) of this oilseed, 36.84 mt from the US and with Brazil (45.34 mt) and Argentina (6.67 mt) being the other major suppliers. But with China clamping a 25 per cent duty on US soyabean with effect from July 6 - as part of retaliatory measures against the President Donald Trump’s tariffs on some $34 billion worth of Chinese goods - a new opportunity has opened up for India. It comes even as the Centre has hiked the minimum support price (MSP) for this year’s soyabean crop to Rs 3,399 per quintal, from Rs 3,050 for 2017-18. India exported oilseeds — in the form of de-oiled cake or meal — to China last in 2010-11. That year, it shipped out around 0.4 mt ofrapeseed meal and another 0.3 mt of soyabean meal. But from January 2012, China suspended all imports, when some Indian rapeseed meal consignments were allegedly found contaminated with malachite green, a chemical dye. The source ofit was supposedly the ink used to mark Trade war opens a window of opportunity for soyabean growers in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. File jute bags carrying the produce. From this July, however, China removed all tariffs on soyabean and meal - earlier at 3 per cent and 5 per cent - imported from five APTA (Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement) countries: India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, South Korea and Laos. All of them, barring India, are insignificant suppliers. “They seem inclined to resume purchases from us. What remains to be seen is whether they will also ease non-tariff barriers relating to quarantine restrictions. We have requested the Commerce Ministry to seek clarifications on the phytosanitary certificates required by AQSIQ (General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the People’s Republic of China) against about 12 pests and diseases. That should hopefully not be an issue since we only export processed meal and not grain,” said B V Mehta, executive director, Solvent Extractors’ Association of India. The US may well respond to the Chinese import curbs by selling more soyabean to Brazil and Argentina, which are also big consumers (meal is an ingredient for animal feeds). These countries may, in turn, export a large share of their produce to China. But even after factoring in these possibilities, “they (Chinese) will still have to explore alternative supply sources”, said Mehta. Davish Jain, chairman of the Indore-based Soyabean Processors Association of India (SOPA), estimated that India can “potentially export 2 mt of soyabean meal and another 1-2 mt of rapeseed meal to China”. This should be good news for farmers in MP, Maharashtra and Rajasthan, which account for 58.45 million hectares (mh), 35.84 mh and 10.80 mh out ofthe country’s normal (five-year average) area of 112.51 mh sown under soyabean. Oilseed is now trading in Indore’s Gautampura market at Rs 3,500 per quintal, which is above the Rs 2,850 levels a year ago and also the current MSP of Rs 3,399. Last year, soyabean prices ruled Rs 400-500 per quintal below the MSP of Rs 3,050 through much of the main marketing season from October to December. It resulted in the MP government unveiling the Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana scheme, under which farmers were paid the difference between the MSP and the average “modal” or most-quoted rate in mandis for the quantities sold by them. The scheme faced flak as traders reportedly used it to fur- ther depress prices at which farmers sold and made a killing later on when the crop turned out to be lower than expected. SOPA had, at the start of the marketing season in October, pegged the 2017-18 soyabean crop at 9.15 mt - which it revised downwards, in February, to 8.35 mt. Things could be different this time. While the carry-over stocks in October 2017 were assessed at 1.3 mt, the coming season will open with hardly 0.1 mt. The resultant tight position plus the China demand factor should help keep prices well above MSP, when the next crop arrives in the mandis. And that would be around the time of the Assembly elections, in which the votes of soyabean farmers will certainly count.
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.