DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE THURSDAY, JANUARY 7, 2021, NEW DELHI, LATE CITY, 18 PAGES Barring Kerala, all Covid hotspots see daily cases fall AMITABH SINHA PUNE, JANUARY 6 ON MOST days in the last week, Delhi has reported less than 500 new cases of coronavirus infections, something that has not happened since May last year. The numbers in Delhi have declined steadily for the last two months, beginning the second week November when the national capital had recorded the highest single day rise in coronavirus cases for any city. The result is that Delhi now has less than 5,000 active cases. It does not even figure in the top 10 cities with highest number of active cases. But Delhi is not alone. All the major urban centres which were theepicentresof thecoronavirus pandemicinthecountry—Pune, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai — are showing similar trends, and reporting a fraction of the cases thattheyusedtodoattheirpeaks. Pune, which during its worst phase had been reporting close to 6,000 cases a day, is finding only about 500 cases every day now. In fact, it has been more than a month now that Pune’s average daily detection of case CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 DAILY COUNT Delhi Mumbai Pune Bengaluru Chennai PEAK 8,593 2,848 5,939 5,121 2,358 SINCE 1932 NO STAY, HEARING IN FOUR WEEKS UP,Uttarakhand‘lovejihad’laws challenged,SCissuesnotice People being lifted from marriage venues, under attack from mobs: petitioners JAN5 442 539 507 393 244 ANANTHAKRISHNAN G NEW DELHI, JANUARY 6 DECLINING TO grant any immediatestayontheanti-conversion laws of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand,theSupremeCourt issued notice Wednesday on two petitions challenging the laws which have provisions that prohibit religious conversion for the purpose of marriage. The bench of Chief Justice of India S A Bobde, Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian said it will hearthepetitions—onebyadvocates Vishal Thakre and Abhay Singh Yadav and law researcher Pranvesh, and another by NGO CitizensforJusticeandPeace(CJP) — against The Uttar Pradesh Prohibition Of Unlawful Conversion Of Religion Ordinance, 2020 and The UttarakhandFreedomofReligion Act, 2018. The bench said it will havetoheartheothersideaswell. Notice was issued after lawyers for petitioners made strongsubmissions,pointingout that people were being taken away from wedding venues and were being targeted by mobs. Initially, thebench was of the view that the petitioners should first approach the respective High Courts. AMIDST THE Covid-19 pandemic-induced economic crisis, 5.52 lakh people who have returned to Kerala from abroad since May last year have given loss of jobs as reason, according to government data. As per figures compiled by the Department of NonResident Keralites Affairs, 8.43 lakh people returned to Kerala from foreign countries between the first week of May 2020 and January4thisyear.Of them,5.52 lakh said they had lost their jobs — with 1.40 lakh of them returning in the last 30 days. Another big chunk of returnees, 2.08 lakh, stated that their job visas had expired or mentioned other reasons for their return. The rest include BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE BHUBANESWAR, JANUARY 6 BEFORE VACCINE ROLLOUT, MORE DRY RUNS PAGE 8 senior citizens, or children, and family members of expatriates. Withthefiguresindicatingthat thejobcrisistriggeredbyCovid-19 continues, Kerala economy may be facing long-term impact, with remittances from abroad, mainly WestAsia,itslifeline. Prof S Irudaya Rajan, an expert on international migration, however, doesn't see a cause for alarm. "The actual figure of migrants in distress would be less... I think a section of them, it could be two-third of them, would explore new destinations for migration in the coming months. Already people have started returning,’’ he said. Chair Professor at the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs's Research Unit on International Migration, at the CentreforDevelopmentStudies, Thiruvananthapuram,Rajansaid he doesn't see remittances CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 TRUMP RALLY SEES RED OVER BLUE WAVE Supporters of US President Donald Trump at a rally in Washington on Wednesday protest against the certification of Joe Biden’s victory as Vice President Mike Pence pushed back to say he didn’t have the power to over-turn the verdict. Meanwhile, results from Georgia indicated a Democratic takeover of the Senate. AP REPORTS,PAGES12,15 Woman gangraped, killed in Badaun, police look for priest Two arrested; SHO suspended for not taking prompt action AMIL BHATNAGAR BADAUN, JANUARY 6 TWO MEN have been arrested while the police are looking for a priest after a 50-year-old womanwasgangrapedanddied of injuries in Badaun on Sunday night. The police said she was visiting the local temple when the priest, Satyanand, and two helpers,VedramandYashpal,attackedher.AnSHOhasbeensus- pended for not taking prompt action in the matter. A postmortem has confirmed injuries to her private parts and death due to injuries and excessive bleeding, SP, Rural Badaun, Raghvendra Singh said. Following an examinationof the crime site and a report by the Chief Medical Officer, they were treating it as a case of gangrape, hesaid.Thewomanhadalsosuffered a fracture. An FIR has been filed under Sections 376 D (gan- grape)and 302 (murder)against the three accused. A mother of five, the woman supported the family on her income as a local health official, withherhusbandmentallychallenged. Two of the children are married. "Wereceivedtheinformation after the family alleged on Tuesday that a woman had been gangraped by three men, which laterledtoherdeath.Twopeople CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 SRINAGAR, JANUARY 6 PAGE 6 PAGE 1 ANCHOR FOUR CONTRACT workers died after toxic gas leaked at the Coal Chemicals Department of the Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) in Odisha on Wednesday morning. The workers of Star Constructions, a maintenance contractor firm, took ill around 9 am following the leak at the plant operated by state-owned SteelAuthorityof IndiaLtd(SAIL). RSP officials said the affected persons were rushed to the OHS Centre inside the plant and later moved to the Intensive Care Unit at Ispat General Hospital. They diedwhileundergoingtreatment. “The workers were engaged in maintenance work at the coal chemicals unit when the incident took place. Further investigations are underway,” a police official said. Thedeceasedhavebeenidentified as Ganesh Chandra Paila (59), Rabindra Sahu (59), Brahmananda Panda (51), and AbhimanyuSahu(33).“Allemergencyprotocolshavebeenimmediately activated in the plant. A high-levelprobeintotheaccident has been ordered,” officials said. RSP CEO Dipak Chattaraj expressed deep anguish over the tragedy,andsaidRSPwillextend everypossiblesupporttothebereaved families, and inquire into the incident. Ahigh-levelcommitteecomprising three chief general managers has been formed to carry CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Roads closed, fuel rationed as snow shuts Valley BASHAARAT MASOOD GOVT & POLITICS NO R-DAY CHIEF GUEST THIS TIME CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Four contract workers killed after gas leak at Rourkela Steel Plant IN URBAN centres, like Delhi, Mumbai or Pune, once struggling against the coronavirus, the proportion of population infected by the virus may have already reached a level from where there will be a slowdown in further spread, indicating some communitylevel protection. 8.4 lakh migrants back in Kerala from abroad, 5.5 lakh lost their jobs THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, JANUARY 6 Solicitor General Tushar Mehta pointed out that the Allahabad High Court was already looking into it. “It is already pending before the High Courts. Why don't you go there? We are not saying you haveabadcase.Butyoumustapproach the High Court first instead of coming to the SC directly,”theCJItoldthepetitioners. Advocate Pradeep Yadav, Cities past peak? COVID EFFECT SHAJU PHILIP `6.00 (`8 BIHAR & RAIPUR, `12 SRINAGAR) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM WIDESPREAD SNOWFALL over the last three days has cut off the Kashmir Valley and led to blocked roads and power outages and, for the first time in decades, rationing of fuel. The snow has led to closure of the Srinagar-Jammu national highway, andsuspension of passenger flights. While over 12 inches of snow has been recorded in north Kashmir’s plains, south Kashmir has seen up to 5 feet of snow. The Jammu & Kashmir administration has ordered ra- The Jammu-Srinagar National Highway remained closed on Wednesday, Shuaib Masoodi tioning of automobile and cooking fuels in the Valley. Twowheelers can get up to 3 litres of fuel, privatecars can get10 litres, and commercial vehicles 20 litres. “LPG cylinder shall be issued to the consumer only after 21 days against proper acknowledgment and receipt”, says a government order. Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir P K Pole has ordered strict adherence to the rationing measures. “On the one hand, the administration is saying they are fully preparedforthewinterand have enough stocks, and on the other hand, consumers have to CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Farmer protests: AG says talks may work, SC defers hearing ANANTHAKRISHNAN G NEW DELHI, JANUARY 6 NOTING THAT there is “no improvement” in thesituationprecipitatedbydifferencesbetween the Centre and sections of the farming community over the newly enacted agriculture laws, the Supreme Court agreed Wednesday to hear petitions challenging the new laws and those against the ongoing protests on January 11. A bench of Chief Justice of India S A Bobde, Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian fixed the matter for next week after Attorney General K K Venugopal informed the court that“therearechancesofthepartiescomingtosomesortofanunderstanding”. Talks between the Centre and farmer unions opposed to the new laws are to resume Friday over two key demands — repeal of the laws and provision of legal guarantee on the minimum support price. Thebenchwashearingaplea by advocate M L Sharma, challenging the laws. It was initially inclined to schedule the next hearing on January 8. But Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said, “We are having a healthy discussion” and urged the court to post the matter to a different date. The Attorney General too submitted that since negotiations are on, a government reply to petitions against the laws might foreclose the talks. “We understand the situation and encourage the consultation,” the bench remarked and saiditwilladjournthematteron January 11 as well if needed in CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Farmers at Delhi's Ghazipur border, Wednesday. Praveen Khanna East of Delhi, the other protest: UP’s sugarcane farmers awaiting dues HARISH DAMODARAN NEW DELHI, JANUARY 6 THE FARMERS’ agitation, until now, has been about Punjab and Haryana, wheat and paddy, and concerns over the future of minimum support price (MSP)-based procurementandagriculturalproducemarketcommitteemandis. But there’s one elephant in the room: Sugarcane. It is a crop grown more in Uttar Pradesh, not sold in mandis and, moreover, has a state advised price (SAP) that is statutory. Unlike MSP, sugar mills are legally bound to pay it. Most farmers protesting at GhazipurontheDelhi-UPborder — as against those camping at Singhu and Tikri bordering Haryana — are sugarcane growers.Butnotwithstandingthelegal requirement for mills to pay SAP within 14 days of cane delivery, many haven’t received money evenforthecroptheysuppliedin the 2019-20 sugar season (October-September). And the Yogi Adityanath-led UP government is yet to announce the current season’s SAP, despite mills undertakingcrushingoperations since end-October. Rakesh Tomar, a one-acre farmer from Kasimpur Kheri in Baraut tehsil of western UP’s CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Emotions to earthquakes, Einstein waves: A govt body’s cattle class HARIKISHAN SHARMA NEW DELHI, JANUARY 6 ANNOUNCEDINthe2019-20interim Budget, the Rashtriya KamdhenuAayog listsorganisation of animal husbandry "on modern and scientific lines" among its prime objectives. Now, taking upon itself the mission "to infuse curiosity... about the importance of cows”, it has announced an online nationwide exam where participants will be tested on, among other things, knowledge of Indian cows' "superiority" over foreign breeds, including in showing "emotions"; cow dung benefits, including in ensuring people were "not affected" during the Bhopal gas tragedy; the "link" between cow slaughter and earthquakes because of animals generating "Einsteinian Pain Waves"; and how India became a leading beef exporter under "a cow-eating leader". On Tuesday, the Aayog uploaded on its website a 54-page "reference material" for the KamdhenuGau-VigyanPracharPrasar Examination, to be held on February 25. The material would help candidates "get maximum awareness about KamdhenuGau-Vigyan”,theno- tice on the website says. The reference material talks at length about the "divinity" of thecow,mentioningtheRigveda to the Bible, adding, "Her face epitomisesinnocence—hereyes reflect peace, her horns, royalty and her ears, intelligence. Her udders are the fountain of ambrosia in the form of milk; her tail, a stairway to the higher regions of being." Anothersectionlistshowthe Indian "desi" cow is vastly superior to the "exotic" Jersey variety. UnliketheIndiancowsthathave many medicinal benefits, the reference material says, the foreign breeds are harmful to ‘Gaumata’ KNOW YOUR COW Jersey Some lessons from the reference material for the Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog exam ■ Quality of ‘Gaumata’ milk best in world; medical benefits ■ Milk yellow from gold traces ■ ‘Gaumata’ clever enough to never sit in dirty places ■ ‘Gaumata’ stands if unknown people approach ■ Quality not good, Europe never has Jersey milk directly ■ Not found in Jersey’s milk ■ Jersey very lazy, prone to diseases as not hygienic ■ No emotions are displayed by Jersey cow health. And while the former is kind,warm,active, and hygienic, in the reference material's words, "no emotion is displayed by the latter". It goes on to list all theindigenouscattlebreeds,and to explain what a gaushala (cow shelter) is, and the "five freedoms" it must aim for. A section called ‘Panchgavya and itsUsefulness’ has details on properties and "medicinal significance"of cowdungandurine — including fighting "all blood disorders"andleprosy,asan"antiseptic,skintonicandtoothpolish”, and for "anti-radioactive and anti-thermal properties". Calling its urine a great elixir and as"pious"asGangajal,theAayog says, "In 1984, more than 20,000 people died due to gas leak in Bhopal. People living in houses with cow dung coated walls were not affected. Even today, nuclear power centres in India and Russia use shielding dung (against) radiation." The 'Cow — Environment Protection & Climate Change' section starts by talking about parts of the world "where people liveapre-industrial life"."For example, Indonesian Borneo. Daily life in Borneo’s upcountry is usually pleasantly dull, as chickens scratch around, the women fan rice on mats to dry it, thunderstorms roll through, the sun dries the muddy paths, flowers riot into bloom, and it all starts over again the next day." 'CowSlaughter,Catastrophes and Earthquakes — An Interrelationship' says karma "suffered bad press under European missionaries who belittled it as 'fate' and 'fatalism', andtodayfindsitself againinthe ascendancyasthesubtleandallencompassing principle which governs man's experiential universe in a way likened to gravity's governance over the physical plane". And goes on to argue, "Physicists M M Bajaj, Ibrahim CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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