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 THURSDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2020, MUMBAI, LATE CITY, 18 PAGES `5.00, WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 Farm leaders walk out of meeting with Agri Secy, want minister present Army chief heads to Nepal amid moves to repair ties Farmers’ delegation from Punjab accuses govt of ‘double standards’ First big visit after border row, will be made Honorary Gen of Nepal Army National Conference leaders Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah met PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti at her residence in Srinagar on Wednesday. @OmarAbdullah Twitter BUSINESS AS USUAL Farmers protest outside Krishi Bhawan in New Delhi on Wednesday. Prem Nath Pandey BY UNNY HARIKISHAN SHARMA NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 14 THE CITY METRO TO START OPERATIONS FROM OCTOBER 19 PAGE 3 TALKS BETWEEN the government and representatives of farmer unions from Punjab endedonastormynoteasmembers of the delegation walked out of a meeting with Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal, demanding the presence of the Minister and accusing the Centre of adopting “double standards”. The meeting at Krishi Bhawan, which houses the AgricultureMinistry,wentonfor barely an hour and came to a Target 5 lakh kits, women lead Patna’s Covid race for polls Women volunteers prepare Covid kits in Patna. Dipankar Ghose centre usually used for exhibiDIPANKAR GHOSE tions and conferences, the muPATNA, OCTOBER 14 sic is the closest to normal that it will get for the next few days. THERE ARE 20 minutes left till Because,withjustafortnightleft 8pm,andtheenthusiasm fortheBiharelections,itis is dropping. For over 11 here that a mammoth hoursnow,500women exercise to create Covid have been sorting and kits is taking place -- for wrapping,raisingahand voters, polling personwhen they run out of nel and security staff. equipment.Inanindoor Sudhir Kumar, hall the size of a hockey DECISION General Manager, Bihar field,avoiceboomsona Medical Services & 2020 microphone: “Chalu Infrastructure BIHAR rakho (Keep it going).” Corporation Ltd (BMOff the mike, there is another in- SICL), said the women volunstruction:“Musicchalukaro,thoda teers -- NGO personnel, ASHA energy badhao (Start the music, workers and mid-day meal staff stepuptheenergy).”Soon,smiles --comeintwoshiftsbeginning8 fillthehallasaBhojpurisongbe- am, and ending 12 hours later. gins to play. “300 come in the first shift, and In the halls of Gyan Bhawan 200 in the second. The biggest in Patna, a swanky convention CONTINUEDONPAGE2 sudden end as the farmer leaders walked out of the meeting. Representatives of 29 farm unions from Punjab — which is at the centre of the recent protests against three farm laws passed by Parliament — had cometoNewDelhitoparticipate in the meeting. Dr Darshan Pal, a member of the coordinating committee of the 29 farm organisations, told The Indian Express, “There were more than 40 of us but only 10 werecalledtoholdtalkswiththe Secretary.Assoonaswereached thevenue,around11.40am,each of us was given a file with copies CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Farooq, Omar call on Mehbooba; Gupkar signatories to meet today BASHAARAT MASOOD SRINAGAR, OCTOBER 14 THE DAY after PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti was released from detention, National Conference leaders Farooq and Omar Abdullah visited the former Chief Minister to invite her to a meeting of the signatories to the Gupkar declaration at the senior Abdullah's residence on Thursday afternoon. “My father and I called on Mehbooba Mufti sahiba this afternoon to enquire about her well being after her release from detention. She has kindly accepted Farooq sahib’s invitation to join a meeting of the Gupkar THE EDITORIAL PAGE MEHBOOBA’S CHALLENGE Much depends on how she finds way forward in Kashmir’s new reality PAGE 12 Declaration signatories tomorrow afternoon,” Omar posted on Twitter after the meeting on Wednesday. In response, Mehbooba tweeted: “It was nice of you & Farooq sahib to come home. It gave me courage listening to him. I am sure together we VISHWAS WAGHMODE MUMBAI, OCTOBER 14 THE POLITICAL tussle between the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government and the BJP in Maharashtra has culminated in the Uddhav Thackeray-led government deciding to conduct an inquiry into the Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyan, which was a pet project launched by former chief minister and now Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis. The state cabinet chaired by Thackeray on Wednesday gave the go-ahead for the inquiry. A statement from the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said the decision for an open inquiry into the Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyan was taken after considering the crit- Uddhav Thackeray, Devendra Fadnavis ical issues raised by the CAG in its report on the quality of work, cost and its impact. “There was a discussion in the state cabinet on the scheme and it wasunanimouslydecided to conduct an open inquiry considering the CAG report and the complaints received by the government,” said the statement. The scheme, a personal favourite of Fadnavis, was launched in December 2014, with the goal of making Maharashtra drought-free by 2019. An annual target of drought-proofing 5,000 villages was undertaken. Theinquiryhasbeenordered a month after the CAG’s report was tabled in the state legislature. The CAG stated that “despitespendingRs9,633.75crore, the ‘abhiyan’ (mission) had little impact in achieving water neutralityandincreasinggroundwater level”. The report further said there was “lack of transparency” intheexecutionof worksandinadequate monitoring by the statewaterconservationdepartment. According to the report, the scheme catered to 22,586 SADAF MODAK MUMBAI, OCTOBER 14 MAHARASHTRA POLICE have begun an inquiry after allegations of harassment against staffers in Nashik central prison were found in a suicide note recoveredfromanunusualplace— the abdomen of a prisoner who was found hanging inside a cell. Senior officers said five other inmates of the jail, and a prisoner who had been released recently, havewrittentoauthorities,includingtheChiefJusticeoftheBombay IN WHAT would be the first high-level Indian visit to Nepal aftertheboundarydisputeescalated this summer, Indian Army chief General MM Naravane will visit Kathmandu next month. While the dates are yet to be announced,theNepalArmy,ina statement Wednesday, said the Indian Army chief “will visit Nepalinthemonthof November this year”. It said the visit was “approvedbytheGovernmentof Nepal” on February 3, but “was postponed due to lockdown in both the countries”. Nepal Army spokesperson Brigadier General Santosh Poudel said the two sides were in touch to decide the dates. During the visit, Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari will confer the rank of the Honorary General of the Nepal E Army Chief Gen M M Naravane Why this opensa ● window THE ARMY chief’s Nepal visit is important given the intertwined history of the two armies. It also opens a window of opportunity for a conversation with Nepal’s military and political establishment following the strain in ties over the boundary. Army on Gen Naravane — it’s a 70-year-old tradition, a reciprocal arrangement between the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 YOUR RIGHT TO KNOW SHYAMLAL YADAV NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 14 FROM THE largest government employer Railways to the Department of Space, 50 departmentsundertheCentrehavecontributedRs157.23crorefromstaff salaries to the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES)fund,RTIrecordsaccessed by The Indian Express show. E AN XPRESS RTI APPLICATION Topping the list with Rs 146.72 crore, the Railways said in its RTI response that the amount “has been contributed to PM CARES Fund through contribution from employees”. Based on RTI responses received, the Department of Space isnextonthislistwithoverRs5.18 crore. In its response, the departmentstated:“Contributionmade by employees is in their individualcapacity...throughtheirsalary”. However,severalkeydepartments, such as the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), those under the Ministry of Home Affairs,andlargeemployerssuch as the Department of Posts, did CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 MAIN EXAM TEST SERIES Vajiram & Ravi announces an ENRICHED Only 22% NRIs to vote Trump, support ONLINE Test Series & Crash Course for for Modi cuts across divide: US survey the MAIN EXAM from 18th Oct. 2020 KARISHMA MEHROTRA SAN FRANCISCO, OCTOBER 14 DAYS AHEAD of the November 3 US election, a survey has found that while almost half of Indian Americans approve of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s performance,theyremainsteadfastlyDemocraticdespitetheapparent courtship between Modi and US President Donald Trump — 68 per cent plan to vote for Joe At the ‘Howdy, Modi’ event in Texas in Sept 2019. File CONTINUEDONPAGE2 Bidenand22percentforTrump. The survey, by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Pennsylvania, and released on Wednesday, however, found that Indian Americans voting for incumbent Trump have a much more favourable view of Modi (at a rating of 76 out of 100) than thosevotingforDemocraticcandidate Biden (52/100). CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Five other inmates complain against prison staffers; investigation on High Court, seeking an FIR under IPC Section 306 (abetment to suicide)againstjailstaffers. The two-page note, written in Marathi and wrapped in plastic, was found inside the abdomen of Asghar Mansoori during the post-mortem conducted at a government hospital on October 7. Hours earlier, around 6.30 am, the 32-year-old was foundhanginginaprisoncellafter he woke up early for namaaz. Officers said he had committed suicide using pieces of cloth, and an Accidental Death Record has been filed as per procedure in cases of unnatural death. NEW DELHI, KATHMANDU, OCTOBER 14 Uddhav govt orders probe into Jalyukt Rs 157 cr from Central staff salaries for Shivar Abhiyan, pet project of Fadnavis PM Cares; over 93% from Railways Nashik prisoner hangs himself, note found in abdomen blames jail employees PAGE 1 ANCHOR all can change things for the better”. The Gupkar Declaration was issued on August 4, 2019, after a meeting of Kashmir's mainstreampoliticalpartiesatFarooq Abdullah's Gupkar residence unanimously resolved to stay united to protect to “defend the identity, autonomy and special status of Jammu and Kashmir”. The special status was scrapped the following day, and thestatewasbrokenupintotwo Union Territories. The scheduled meeting on Thursday will be the first time the signatories of the Gupkar Declaration will meet since the events of August 2019. On SHUBHAJIT ROY & YUBARAJ GHIMIRE EXPLAINED WORLD STUDENTS’ DAY WILL VISIT NEXT MONTH Asghar Mansoori Anofficialsaidthataninvestigation is also being conducted into who wrote the note for Mansoori—thefamilytoldpolice that he could not read or write. Mansoori, who was serving a life term on charges of murder, hadcompletednearly14yearsin jail, and was given the responsibilityofawardertoassistjailstaff, including keeping vigil at night. However, the letters written by Mansoori’s co-inmates claim thathewaskeptinaseparatecell for the past few weeks as “punishment”byaprisonstaffer.They allege that the staffer was involvedinillegalactivities,including arranging cell phones for inmates, and feared that Mansoori would alert senior officials. “He was being harassed because of this continuously, and he told me that he was being threatened that a false case would be filed against him,” states one of the letters. It claims that Mansoori was kept away from an open prison, which could have led to an early release, possibly within the next fewmonths.Andfollowingcomplaintssentbyinmatesinthisregard, he feared he would be mentallyandphysicallytortured or attacked, the letter claims. The other letters allege corruptionanddemandsformoney made by prison staffers, and state that the inmates are ready to record these charges in statements before a magistrate. MaharashtraAdditionalDGP (Prison and Correctional Services) Sunil Ramanand said that as per provisions of Section CONTINUEDONPAGE2 GENERAL STUDIES ONLINE MAIN EXAM TEST SERIES BEGINS ON 18TH OCT. 2020 ONLINE MAIN EXAM TEST SERIES IN OPTIONAL SUBJECTS: COMMERCE, PUB. 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