DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE SATURDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2018, AHMEDABAD, LATE CITY, 20 PAGES THE EDITORIAL PAGE A SHOT AT INDIA-PAK PEACE NAVY TEAM ARRIVES TODAY POCSO Beyond the tragedy, for Meghalaya’s politicians, mining their own business Child abuse: More death penalty, longer jail terms Many named in report to SC, say they own mines but have stopped after ban BY KHALED AHMED PAGE 6 ABHISHEK SAHA GUWAHATI, DECEMBER 28 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 CDC along with all research done 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 said the government took strong exception to the use CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 `5.00, WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 TWO WEEKS after 15 workers 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 what he did not spell out was that he was also a prominent coal businessman in the state. The Congress MP, a native of East Jaintia Hills district and an engineer by qualification, has been vocal about lifting the NGT ban on illegal coal mining in the state. In fact, Pala isn’t the only one. About a dozen politicians allegedly own coal mines themselves or have relatives as mine owners and were named by a Citizens’ Report prepared by civil society groups in Meghalaya and submitted to the Supreme Court 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 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 penalty in all cases of 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 under Section 6 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 moved the Cabinet note, 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 the death penalty for rape cases.” WCD Ministry officials said that the amendment was necessary as POCSO, unlike the Indian CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Court on Sohrabuddin case: CBI had theory, script to implicate politicians GUJARAT CM SUSPENDS OFFICER WHO ALLEGED GRAFT P3 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, PAGE 14 LIVESTOCK EXPORT STALLED: BUSINESSMEN MOVE HIGH COURT P4 SADAF MODAK MUMBAI, DECEMBER 28 THE CBI had a “pre-meditated theory and a script intended to anyhow implicate political leaders” in the alleged fake encounter killings of gangster Sohrabuddin Shaikh and his associate Tulsiram Prajapati, and the alleged murder 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. In the around 350-page judgment 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 each of the witnesses and the evidence closely, I have no hesitation in recording that a premier investigating agency like the CBI CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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.