DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA ● REG.NO. MCS/067/2018 - 20 RNI REGN. NO. 1543/57 JOURNALISM OF COURAGE SATURDAY, JULY 18, 2020, MUMBAI, LATE CITY, 14 PAGES `5.00, WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 GEHLOT VS PILOT CRISIS Union Minister, bribes, tapes in plot to topple Gehlot govt, says Congress Rebel Congress MLAs get time till Tuesday to reply to Speaker Rajasthan Police file 2 FIRs; Cong MLA Sharma & Shekhawat deny it is their voice HAMZA KHAN HAMZA KHAN & DEEP MUKHERJEE JAIPUR, JULY 17 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ` 92 per kilo ` 120 per kilo ` 148 per kilo ` 52 per Dozen BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat at his residence in New Delhi on Friday. Anil Sharma ‘NUMBERS IN 2-3 DAYS...FIRST INSTALMENT HAS REACHED’ SOG FIR No. 48/ 2020, Sections 124A and 120B IPC; Accused unknown (Excerpts from the transcript of conversation in Hindi and Rajasthani allegedly between Sanjay Jain, Congress MLA Bhanwarlal Sharma and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat which forms the basis of this FIR by the SOG) VOICE 1 (purportedly SANJAY JAIN): “30, ba sankhya do teen din me puri ho jwagi” (30, this number will be completed within 2-3 days.) MUMBAI, JULY 17 A 25-YEAR-OLD man was booked Friday for allegedly rapingawomanadmittedataCovid Care Centre (CCC) in Navi Mumbai, police said. The Covid-19 test results of the accused, quarantined at the high-rise apartment complex Thursday after members of his family tested positive for the coronavirus, is awaited, police said. The municipal corporation PAGE 1 ANCHOR Congress MLA BHANWARLAL SHARMA): “Aa jo din me sambhav hai to ek Gajendra ji ro baat aur kara dena.” (If possible today, arrange a conversation with Gajendra ji.) VOICE 3 (purportedly Union Minister GAJENDRA SINGH SHEKHAWAT): “Haan, Gajendra Singh arz karun maharaj” (Yes, this is Gajendra Singh speaking Maharaj.) SOG FIR No. 49/2020, Sections 124A and 120B IPC; Manufacturers fret as sudden lockdowns hit logistics of production SANDEEP SINGH & AASHISH ARYAN NEW DELHI, JULY 17 AROUND 8 pm on July 13, the Karnataka government ordered a complete lockdown from the followingday,andtoldallindustries toclose.Companiesincluding automobile manufacturers announced they were shutting; ToyotaKirloskarMotorstoldemployeesandvendorsthatitsplant wouldbecloseduntilJuly22,and issued a media statement. But on July 14 evening, the government issued another circular — saying manufacturing industrieswereexemptfromthe lockdown. It was too late — employees of numerous manufacturingplantsacrossthestatehad already left for their homes in other districts. “Even if we want, we can’t start the plant as workers who left can’t return immediately. Woman raped at Covid centre in Navi Mumbai EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE VOICE 2 (purportedly had acquired 1,000 apartments at the complex to isolate contacts of Covid-19 patients. Police said the accused was housed at an apartment on the secondfloorof a15-storeybuilding. Between 5.30 pm and 6 pm on Thursday, he allegedly climbed to the fifth floor of the building where other people, including a 40-year-old woman, were placed in quarantine. A senior Navi Mumbai Police officialsaidthemanhadentered the woman’s room and CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 E E X P L A I NE D CITING CONVERSATIONS in two audio tapes, the Congress party Friday said Union Minister of Jal ShaktiGajendraSinghShekhawat and Congress MLA Bhanwarlal Sharma were allegedly trying to topple the democraticallyelected and legally-established Rajasthan government. Addressingapressconference Friday morning, All India Congress Committee Communication in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala, said “two sensational and shocking audio clips” had come to the fore via the media. “In these audio clips, Union Cabinet Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Congress MLA Bhanwarlal SharmaandBJPleaderSanjayJain areallegedlyheardtalking.Inthis conversation, the intention and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in Lukung, Ladakh, on Friday. ANI JAIPUR, JULY 17 Accused unknown (Excerpts from transcript of conversation between two persons identified as A and B) A : “So he is saying those people jo hamare pass baithe , hamare saathi jo Delhi me baithe hain, woh paisa le chuke hain aur pehli kisht pahuch chuke hain.” (So he is saying, the people sitting with us, our associates who are in Delhi, they have taken the money, and the first instalment has reached.) B : “ Theek hai” ( Alright.) THE RAJASTHAN High Court has extended till Tuesday evening the deadline set by Speaker C P Joshi to the 19 rebel state Congress MLAs to respond to his showcause notices. AtahearingonFridaythatremained inconclusive, the MLAs contended that the disqualification notices per se were unconstitutional.Second,thataspersettled principles of the Rajasthan Vidhan Sabha rules, they had to be given at least a seven-day period to reply to the notices. TheMLAsalsoarguedthatthe Speakerhadtakenthedecisionin “haste”, and pointed out that around 10 months on, no notice hasbeenissuedinacasepertaining to the merger of BSP MLAs with the Congress. They also accused the Speaker of malice. The petition by the MLAs makes Joshi as well as the office CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 TRACKING INDIA’S COVID CURVE 137 CASES: DAYS SINCE PANDEMIC BEGAN 10,03,831 RECOVERED: 6,35,756 DEATHS: 25,602 TESTS: 1,30,72,718| DOUBLING RATE: 21.11** Hit without ● warning LARGE MANUFACTURERS like automakers have suppliers across the country, and a lockdown in a state from where crucial components come results in production being impacted, even though the plant itself may be running. The suddenness of the lockdown announcements have also had workers facing uncertainty. KEYSTATES TOWATCH SURGEIN 7-DAYAVG DOUBLING 24HOURS GROWTH* RATE** TOTAL CASES ■ Maharashtra 2,84,281 8,641 3.03% 23.72 ■ Tamil Nadu 1,56,369 4,549 3.07% 23.49 ■ Delhi 48.65 1,18,645 1,652 1.48% ■ Karnataka 51,422 4,169 7.45% 9.67 ■ Andhra 38,044 2,593 6.92% 10.40 * Compounded Daily Growth Rate over last 7 days ** Calculated over 7-day growth CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 POSITIVITY RATE 7 DAYS EARLIER: DETECTED TODAY NOW: RECOVERED TODAY: Positives against number tested (in %); indicator of the spread of disease Becoming sick vs recovering; more recoveries for 14 days may signal the peak 2.72 2.55 Deaths as a ratio of positive cases (in %); indicator of progress in averting deaths 7.20 7.68 34,956 22,942 DataasonJuly16,releasedbyUnionMinistryofHealth,ICMRandstates.Oftendailynumbersinclude datafrompreviousdays.Assuch,trendsbasedondailynumbersareindicative,notdefinitive Maharashtra youth ‘on way to meet Pak woman’ detained near Kutch border SAGAR RAJPUT MUMBAI, JULY 17 A 20-YEAR-OLD man who undertook a 1,200-km trip during the lockdown first on a bicycle and then on a bike from Osmanabad to Kutch in an attempt to cross over to Pakistan tomeethisallegedPakistanigirlfriend was apprehended by the Border Security Force (BSF) on Thursday. Zeeshan Siddiqui, a thirdyear mechanical engineering Near Pangong, he tells troops: want peace, but can give befitting reply KRISHN KAUSHIK NEW DELHI, JULY 17 SENDING A strong message to Beijingby visitinga forwardpost not very far from the standoff point at Pangong Tso, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Friday saidthe“progressmadeintalks” between the two countries “should resolve the matter” but “I cannot guarantee” the extent to which it will be resolved. AddressingtroopsinLukung, around 40 km from Finger 4 where Chinese troops continue tooccupyaridgeline,Singhsaid: “Talksarecurrentlyunderwayto resolve the border dispute. The progress made in talks so far should resolve the matter. To what extent it will be resolved, I cannotguaranteethat.ButIwant to assure you that no power in the world can touch an inch of Indian territory or capture it.” His remarks came a day after the Indian Army, in a statement Class 12 marks rule dropped for admission to IIT this year on the fourth round of talks between the Corps Commanders, said while the two sides remain “committed to the objective of complete disengagement”, this “process is intricate and requires constant verification”. Pangong Tso remains an area of concern for India since the Chinese have come up to Finger 4, 8 km west of Finger 8 which India says marks the LAC. PLA troops have vacated the Finger 4 base but not the ridgeline there. In the talks, India has been seeking status quo ante — of troopsonboth sidesreturning to locations before the start of the standoff in May. Singh told troops that India wants peace, but is capable of a befitting reply if anyone tries to hurt its self-respect. “If a resolution can be found through talks, nothing will be better than that. That process is on, talks are going on at military and diplomatic levels,” he said. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Silence on Depsang may be linked to Pangong resolution SUSHANT SINGH NEW DELHI, JULY 17 IN THE four rounds of meetings at the level of the Corps Commander,Indiahasnotraised the issue of Chinese ingress into the Depsang Plains in northern Ladakh, even though the area is more strategically important than the other ‘friction points’ and the territory on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) being denied to Army patrols by the Chinese is much larger than at Pangong Tso. This has raised concerns within a section of the security establishment that the continued Indian silence on Depsang could result in a new status quo CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Coaching moves online, Bhagalpur fears losing out to big city students DAILY IN, DAILY OUT 7 DAYS EARLIER: NOW: Our vendor's plant is facing a similar problem, so I won’t get suppliesforproduction,”asenior officialof aleadingmanufacturer in Karnataka said. CASE FATALITY RATIO Rajnath: Can’t guarantee talks outcome, no power can take inch of India land From Ahmednagar, he took a bike to reach Kutch. student, had left his home in Osmanabad to go to Pakistan to meet a woman friend with whom he is said to have come in contact through social media, police said. Siddiquifirstrodeabicycleto cover the 225-km distance from Osmanabad to Ahmednagar from where he took a motorbike to travel till Kutch in an attempt to cross the border, where he was apprehended by the BSF. According to officials, Siddiqui was apprehended around 9 pm on Thursday from the Rann of Kutch, while he was walkinginadehydratedstatetowards the international border. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 RITIKA CHOPRA NEW DELHI, JULY 17 THE INDIAN Institutes of Technology (IITs) on Friday decided to drop the Class 12 performance criterion for admissions this year, while the discussion on a “one-time change in the format of JEE (Advanced)duetoCOVID19outbreak” remained inconclusive. Accordingtosources,another meeting of the Joint Admission Board (JAB) will be held next weektodecidewhetherachange in the examination format is warranted. JAB is the top decision-making body on JEE (Advanced) and has directors of allIITsandrepresentativesof the HRD Ministry as its members. The Indian Express had reported on July 11 that this year, as a one-time exception, IITs will only require JEE (Advanced) rank-holders to have passed their Board exams. Usually, a general category rank holder should have either scored at least 75 per cent or figureinthetop20percentileof her CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 The coaching centres are shut since March-end. Dipankar Ghose ASADISTRICT UNLOCKS AN EXPRESS SERIES DIPANKAR GHOSE BHAGALPUR, JULY 17 FORTHEpasttwomonths,every dayfor18-year-oldNathuKumar has been the same. He squints into his smartphone, reminded every time that he can’t afford a laptop, as a teacher at his coachingcentreexplainsmedicalconcepts over a Zoom call. The teacheroftenmentionsawriting board,butonthetinyscreen,the board is even tinier. The connectionispatchy,andfreezesatseveral crucial moments. With 20 other students in the call, the teacher can’t wait for any one, and has them all on mute. Becoming a doctor is the shiniest dream for youths like Kumar in Bhagalpur. He hopes coaching classes like above will suffice for the entrance he takes next year. “If exams are held at all at this rate,” he adds. Bhagalpur, with an ostensible “smart city” as its district headquarters, and the focus of a series by The Indian Express to CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Teachers come home as Ahmedabad reaches out to special children RITU SHARMA AHMEDABAD, JULY 17 THE SIGHT of a teacher early in the day is not a happy prospect for most. But not Aamina Abdul Sheikh. As Kaliash Ahir arrives Wednesday morning at her home,the11-year-oldcanbarely stop herself and rushes out to hug her. Holding Ahir by the hand, Aamina leads her into theirone-roomhouseinRajaji ni pol in Ahmedabad's Shahpur area, calling out to her mother. Shahida Bano Sheikh tells LOCKDOWN LESSONS CHANGING CLASSROOMS AN EXPRESS SERIES Ahir, 34, how Aamina, who is speech and hearing impaired, woke up and got dressed on her own that morning. “She knew you would be visiting today.” Aspartof aninitiativeundertaken by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, 48 spe- cial educators like Ahir have been visiting over 1,285children with special needs in its area since June 15. Shahpur in Ahmedabad Walled City, a containment zone earlier, has 52 such children. Each educator is assignedacluster,withaspecific number of children. As they sit down on the floor facing each other, Ahir takes off her face mask to begin a speech therapy session. Aamina watches her lips carefully as the 34-year-old teacher reads out Gujarati letters painted on small wooden blocks. The two then do Special educator Kaliash Ahir with Aamina and her parents at their home in Shahpur, Ahmedabad. Ritu Sharma a lesson on colours, followed by a writing session on days of the week and counting. A proud Shahida says Aamina has been showing a lot of improvement since a second cochlear implant surgery, in 2017, five yearsafter the first one was unsuccessful. She can now say a few words like “mummy, papa, paisa do (give me money), idhar aao (come here),” says her father Abdul Samad Sheikh, an autorickshaw driver. The family of four includes Aamina's 16-year-old brother. Aamina is in Class 6 of Shahpur MunicipalSchoolNo.8,oneofthe threeinclusivemunicipalschools in Ahmedabad’s West Zone. Ahir, who has been a special educator for 10 years, says they have a special curriculum devised by the AMC. With schools shut, these classes are reassuring not just for the children but also their parents, she adds. Shahida says besides home visits,atleasttwiceaweek,thespecial educators hold video chats with the children and parents. “Teachers tell us about the daily activities we must conduct with our children,” she says. AMC School Board Administrative Officer L D Desai says they plan to continue with the home visits given the “positive response”. Heli Sompura, a special educatoratNaranpuraWard,saysoftenparentsasktheirhelpforsimplethingslikepersuadingachild to take a bath. With parents under a lot of mental pressure due to the lockdown, Sompura says, even that little support counts. Apart from the AMC, the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) has reached out to over 88,000 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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