DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA SATURDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2018, NEW DELHI, LATE CITY, 24 PAGES JOURNALISM OF COURAGE THE EDITORIAL PAGE NAVY TEAM ARRIVES TODAY ASHOT AT INDIA-PAK PEACE Many named in report to SC, say they own mines but have stopped after ban BY KHALED AHMED PAGE 12 Not so alarming, revise Zika alert: India to CDC ABANTIKA GHOSH NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 28 IN A strong rebuttal to US health monitor Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the government has asked the body to “withdraw or modify” its Zika alert issued earlier this month against travel to India. In the alert on December 13, the CDC had said: “An outbreak of Zika has been reported in India. Zika is endemic (regularly found) in India. However, there is an unusual increase in the number of Zika cases in Rajasthan and surrounding states. Pregnant women should not travel to areas with risk of Zika.” “We have sent a rebuttal to CDCalongwithallresearchdone on the Zika strain in India, the cases reported, measures taken etc. We have told them to withdraw or modify the alert,” Secretary, Health Research, Balram Bhargava told The Indian Express. Sources saidthe government took strong exception to the use CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Beyond the tragedy, for Meghalaya’s politicians, mining their own business ABHISHEK SAHA GUWAHATI, DECEMBER 28 TWO WEEKS after 15workers in Meghalaya were trapped while mining coal using the “rat-hole technique,” and are feared dead now, Lok Sabha MP from Shillong constituency Vincent H Pala (50) told the House Thursday this should be “regularised”. This method — with narrow tunnels dug in mountains for workers to move through and extract coal — was slammed as illegal, unscientific and harmful, and banned by the So far, only three helmets have been recovered from the site of the collapsed mine at Ksan, in Meghalaya. Abhishek Saha National Green Tribunal (NGT) on April 17, 2014. Pala made this demand but `6.00 (`8 PATNA & RAIPUR, `12 SRINAGAR) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 what he did not spell out was that he was also a prominent coal businessman in the state. TheCongressMP,anativeof East Jaintia Hills district and an engineer by qualification, has been vocal about lifting the NGT ban onillegalcoalmininginthestate. In fact, Pala isn’tthe only one. About a dozen politicians allegedly own coal mines themselves or have relatives as mine owners and were named by a Citizens’Reportpreparedbycivil societygroupsinMeghalayaand submitted to theSupremeCourt earlier this month. The report, submitted through the amicus curiae in the case, Colin Gonsalves, lists CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY POCSO Childabuse:Moredeath penalty,longerjailterms SHALINI NAIR NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 28 THE UNION Cabinet Friday approved amendments to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, to include the death penaltyinallcasesof aggravated penetrative sexual assault against children, both boys and girls, below the age of 18. This covers 21 categories of sexual crimes against children. The amendments also extend the punishment for aggravated penetrative sexual assault from a minimum of 10 years to a minimum of 20 years, up to a maximum of life imprisonment and even the death penalty underSection6 of POCSO Act. Its existing definition covers 20 categories of penetrative sexual crimes against children and the Cabinet also approved adding sexual assault of children who are victims of calamities or POCSO now gender neutral, convictions key THE AMENDMENTS come months after the Cabinet approved the death penalty for those convicted of raping girls below the age of 12. They widen the range of cases of sexual assault against boys and girls under 18 that are now punishable by death. The government says a more stringent POCSO will act as a deterrent. But data show that less than 3% of all POCSO cases end in convictions and experts warn against the chilling effect the death penalty may have on reporting the crime. Systemic changes in law enforcement and prosecution hold the key to tackling child sexual abuse. natural disasters, taking it up to 21 categories. The Ministry of Women and Child Development, which movedtheCabinetnote,said:“In the wake of gruesome and heart-wrenching incidents, there has been a growing de- mand from society to arrest the disturbing trend by introducing stringent punishment including thedeathpenaltyforrapecases.” WCD Ministry officials said that the amendmentwas necessary as POCSO, unlike the Indian CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Court on Sohrabuddin case: CBI had theory, script to implicate politicians INSIDE KOHLI’S SPEARHEAD India captain Virat Kohli acknowledges pacer Jasprit Bumrah’s career-best game-changing spell of 6/33 at Melbourne on Friday. With Australia all out for 151 in the first innings, India was closing in on a famous win. AP REPORT, PAGE22 GAGANYAAN GETS NOD: MANNED MISSION BY 2022 P7 CABINET CLEARS LISTING OF 6 CENTRAL PUBLIC SECTOR ENTERPRISES P15 SADAF MODAK MUMBAI, DECEMBER 28 THE CBI had a “pre-meditated theory and a script intended to anyhow implicate political leaders”intheallegedfakeencounter killingsof gangsterSohrabuddin ShaikhandhisassociateTulsiram Prajapati,andtheallegedmurder of his wife, Kausar Bi, more than a decade ago, said the special Sohrabuddin Shaikh was killed in 2005 court which acquitted all the 22 accused last week. Inthearound350-pagejudgment on December 21, Special CBI Judge S J Sharma said: “My predecessor has, while passing an order of discharge in the application of accused number 16 (Amit Shah), clearly recorded that the investigation was politically motivated. Having given my dispassionate consideration to the entire material placed before me and having examined eachof thewitnessesandtheevidence closely, I have no hesitation in recording that a premier investigating agency like the CBI CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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