DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2021, NEW DELHI, LATE CITY, 22 PAGES `6.00 (`8 BIHAR & RAIPUR, `12 SRINAGAR) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 DAY AFTER FIRESTORM OVER RIHANNA, GRETA AERO INDIA 2021 USbacksreform,flags Internetcut;Indiadraws RedFort-Capitolparallel Biden admn calls for talks; MEA points to ‘ongoing efforts to resolve the impasse’ WORLD SHUBHAJIT ROY MYANMAR JUNTA BLOCKS FACEBOOK AS OPPOSITION TO COUP RAMPS UP ISIL-K’S NEW LEADER HEADS INDIA OPS: UN PAGE 16 NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 4 SHIMLA, FIRST SNOW, 2021 At the Ridge in Shimla. which received the year’s first snowfall on Thursday. Pradeep Kumar Farm exports defy overall trend in 2020, see 9.8 per cent growth HARISH DAMODARAN NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 4 Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the Chauri Chaura centenary celebrations via video conference on Thursday. PTI PM: Votebank politics in Budgets earlier, we didn’t burden people MAULSHREE SETH LUCKNOW, FEBRUARY 4 THE UNION Budget did not put any burden on the people, and it was different from Budgets of previous governments which converted the exercise into a “bahi khaata” (ledger) of vote bank calculations and a vehicle for making promises that were not fulfilled, Prime Minister NarendraModisaidonThursday. Thethinkingandapproachof thisgovernmentwasverydifferent, he said. “Budget ke pehle kayi diggaj yeh keh rahe the ki desh ne itne bade sankat ka saamna kiya hai, isliye sarkar ko tax badhaana hi padega, desh ke aam nagrik pe bojh dalna hi hoga... Lekin is Budget mein deshwasiyon par koi bojh nahin badhaaya gaya, balki desh ko tezi se aage badhaane ke liyesarkarnezyadasezyadakharcha karne ka faisla kiya... (Before the Budget, many experts were sayingthatthecountryhasfaced such a crisis (due to the pandemic), and the government would have no option but to tax common citizens more... But the Budget did not put any burden on the people of the country, instead the government took the decision to spend as much as possible to take the country CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 WHILEINDIA’Soverallmerchandise exports have fallen 15.5% year-on-year during AprilDecember, the same period has seen its farm exports register a 9.8% growth. This is thanks to agricultural production being relatively unaffected by the Covid-19-induced lockdown, and to a steep surge in global commodity prices. Commerce Ministry data show the country’s exports of all goods during April-December 2020 stood at $201.30 billion, down from $238.27 billion in April-December2019.Incontrast, exportsofagri-commoditiesrose Greenshoots AMID THE farm protests, the Commerce Ministry data have two bright spots. The first is bumper crops, aided by good rains and extended winter. The second is global agri-commodity prices rising to a six-and-ahalf year high, making exports competitive and imports costlier. Both should help boost farm realisations and incomes. from $26.34 billion to $28.91 billionforthisperiod.Withimports simultaneouslycontracting5.5%, the agricultural trade surplus widened from $9.57 billion in April-December 2019 to $13.07 billion in April-December 2020 (see table on page 2). The increase in agri exports is largely courtesy favourable world prices. The United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization Thursday released its Food Price Index (FPI) for January. That number, at 113.3 points (base year: 20142016=100),wasthehighestsince 116.4 in July 2014. Between May 2020 and January 2021, the FPI soared from a 48-month-low to a 78-month-high. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 RAJIV CASE CONVICTS CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 MUMBAI, FEBRUARY 4 TEAMS BEING put up by their owners, year after year, despite lack of a viable business model. An owner with no clear source of income owning teams in differentleagues.Chargeheetsfiled against owners, players and coaches for spot-fixing. Investigators in the Indian cricket board's Anti-Corruption Unithavehadenough.Theyhave PAGE 1 ANCHOR told the BCCI that it's time to crack down on these largely unregulated mini-IPLs — or franchise-based T20 leagues being run in seven states now by the board's associations, including heavyweights Mumbai, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The Indian Express has learnt that ACU chief Ajit Singh has spoken to BCCI officials to find a solution to curb corruption in these leagues. One solution being considered by the board strikes at the roots of these Opposition MPs including Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Saugata Roy and Kanimozhi were stopped from meeting protesters at the Ghazipur border on Thursday. Amit Mehra FIR over ‘toolkit’ shared by Greta; Khalistani link, Jan 26 ‘copycat’: police EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE ARUN JANARDHANAN CHENNAI, FEBRUARY 4 THREE DAYS after the Centre assured the Supreme Court that TamilNaduGovernorBanwarilal Purohit was set to take a call on release of Rajiv Gandhi assassination convict A G Perarivalan, theGovernor's office, onJanuary 25, left a decision on pardon of Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit all the convicts in the case to President Ram Nath Kovind. OnThursday,theCentreconveyed the same to the Supreme Courtinanaffidavit,saying,“The proposal received by the Central governmentwillbeprocessedin accordance with the law." On January 22, hearing Perarivalan's plea for release, the Supreme Court Bench had called the long delay on deciding the matter as "extraordinary". The Centre had then said Governor Purohit would decide the matter THE CYBER-CRIME cell of the DelhiPolicehasregisteredanFIR on charges of "sedition", "criminal conspiracy" and "promoting hatred" against the creators of a 'toolkit' on farmer protests, whichwas shared byclimate activist Greta Thunberg. The 18year-old deleted the original tweet on Wednesday but tweeted another toolkit on Wednesday night. The police said that the sequence of events in the farmer protests,includingtheJanuary26 violence during the tractor rally, wasa"copycat"of theallegedaction plan shared in the toolkit. Special CP (Crime Branch) CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 At a T20 Mumbai League match organised by the Mumbai Cricket Association. Express file leagues: end private ownership of teams and hand them over to stateassociations.“Afinalcallon the future of T20 leagues in states will be taken soon,” a senior official said. Apart from the three big states, these leagues are being run by the Jharkhand, Andhra, BengalandSaurashtracricketassociations. “We don't know the backgroundof mostof theteamowners, where they are getting so CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Officialssayangerwillmountif farmers returnempty-handed,pressureathome KANCHAN VASDEV CHANDIGARH, FEBRUARY 4 WARY OF the protracted farmers’ agitation in the capital and the Republic Day incident at Red Fort,thePunjabgovernmenthas stepped up efforts to reach out totheCentretoworktowardsan earlyresolution,sourcestoldThe Indian Express. Some top state officials have been camping in Delhi and are in constant touch with both the protestingfarmersandtheCentre. There were concerns in the state government that after the Nishan Sahib was hoisted at Red Fort,the agitation would fizzle out and farmers would return empty-handed. “Everybody here knows that if farmers come back without getting anything after these weeks and months of protests, Still stand with farmers: Thunberg NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 4 Buck passed again, Governor says Punjab reaches out to President ‘appropriate authority’ Centre and farmers, Former SC judge slams Purohit’s ‘dereliction of duty’ proposes longer pause BCCI anti-graft unit wants crackdown on mini-IPLs DEVENDRA PANDEY A DAY after the Ministry of External Affairs slammed “celebrities and others” — in the wake of comments by pop icon Rihannaandteenageclimateactivist Greta Thunberg in support of farmer protests — the Biden administration, making its first diplomatic intervention with New Delhi after assuming office, waded into the issue of protests and Internet restrictions in and around the protest sites. Stating that it “encouraged” differences between the parties to be resolved “through dialogue”, the US administration “welcomedstepsthatwouldimprove the efficiency of India's markets and attract greater private sector investment” — a reference to the three farm laws at the centre of the protest. The remarks were seen by New Delhi as an endorsement of the laws. OnInternetrestrictionsatthe protestsitesalongtheDelhiborder,theUSadministrationsaidit recognises that “unhindered accesstoinformation,includingthe Internet, is fundamental to the freedomof expressionandahallmark of a thriving democracy.” New Delhi too did not hold back and responded to the US administration by drawing parallels between the vandalism at RedFort on January26 andwhat took place at Capitol Hill on January 6, and said how these anger will mount in the state. That would be a perfect breeding ground for resentment and wecannotaffordthat,”saidatop state government functionary. That’s why, sources said, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh invoked Operation Blue Star at the all-party meeting this week and warned that Pakistan could “exploit”the situation to foment trouble. “Thanks to Rakesh Tikait, the agitation has got a new lease of life. If another Red Fort-like incident happens, it will be difficult for the leaders to sustain the agitation. Wisdom lies in taking it to a logical conclusion and save Punjab from any after-effects,” saidasourcewhoisawareof discussions between the state and the Centre. He said the state is trying to impress upon the Centre to CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Praveer Ranjan said a preliminary enquiry indicated that the toolkit in question was created by"pro-Khalistaniorganisation" Poetic Justice Foundation. When asked if Thunberg had been named in the FIR, Ranjan said it was filed against unknown persons. "We have not namedanybody.Itisonlyagainst the creators of the toolkit, which is a matter of investigation." Ranjan said that with the farmers' protest going on for CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 THE EDITORIAL PAGE BARRICADED DEMOCRACY BY SUHAS PALSHIKAR PAGE 12 BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY IN PARLIAMENT LEARN FROM PUNJAB PAST, DON’T PUNISH FARMERS: OPPN LS DISRUPTED FOR THIRD DAY, UNEASE IN CONGRESS PAGE 8 Iconoclast scholar who made ancient history contemporary DEVYANI ONIAL DEHRADUN, FEBRUARY 4 A HISTORIAN whose work on India’s ancient past often found itswayintoitspolarisedpresent, Prof D N Jha was never afraid to speak his mind. A former professor and chair at the Department of History at Delhi University specialising in ancientandmedievalhistory,Jha consistently called out what he saw as distortions of Indian history. Whether it was challenging the notion of the Gupta age as being the “golden age” of Indian history, or showing that the sacred status of the cow was a much later development than is frequently claimed, or documentingreligiousviolenceinancient India, Jha's works and words played out in the battlefield of politics in modern India. Jha passed away on Thursday. He was 81. “He was a stickler for historical facts, for empirical evidence. Hewouldn’tmakeanystatement without sound empirical basis. Because of his empiricism, he wasconstantlychallengingwhat he would call the distortions of Indian history,” historian Harbans Mukhia, who taught at JawaharlalNehruUniversity,said. Jhagraduatedinhistoryfrom Presidency College, Kolkata, and did his post-graduation from Patna University. In a career spanningoverthreedecades,Jha remained a life-long crusader against communal readings of ancientandmedievalhistory,repeatedly taking on ideological readings of the past. In May 1991, Jha and three other historians prepared a document titled 'Babri Mosque or Rama's Birthplace? Historians' Report to the Indian Nation', whicharguedonthebasisof textualandarchaeologicalevidence that there was no Hindu temple D N JHA 1940-2021 under the Babri Masjid. This ran countertofindingssubmittedby the ASI, and the Supreme Court in2019dismissedthehistorians' report as an “opinion” at best. “From 1986 onwards, the momentum on Ram Janmabhoomi was gaining groundandhewastheSecretary of the Indian History Congress, I was the treasurer then, and we faced the heat,” said Prof T K Venkatasubramanian, former Head of the Department of History at Delhi University. “But he was a very bold man, he wrote on the contentious issue of the holy cow... His writings were considered anti-Brahmin, but he never minced his words.” In 2001, Jha published The Myth of the Holy Cow, which argued that “the flesh (of the cow) wasverymuchapartof theearly Indian non-vegetarian food regimen...though attitudinal divergences to beef consumption are also reflected in Indian religious andseculartexts”.Hestucktohis argumentthrough afirestormof hostility, abuse, and threats, and repeated it in summary in numerous interviews and articles for years afterward. In his personal life, Jha was easily accessible and sociable, several people who knew him closely said. “I knew him very well for a long time. He was a very affectionate man. I had neverbeenhisstudentorhiscolleague but as a fellow historian, hewouldalwaysappreciateyour work,” said historian S Irfan Habib, former Maulana Azad Chair at the National University of Educational Planning and Administration, New Delhi. “For such a senior historian, he would never feel constrained to calland checksomefactswith you. He was a very popular teacher and a courageous man. This was an old generation, people who came from Bihar, a whole bunch of them Professors K M Shrimali, R S Sharma, RL Shukla — all came from Patna,” Habib said. Audrey Truschke, associate professor of South Asian History atRutgersUniversity,said,“Imet Dr D N Jha once, in August 2018 in Delhi, for a delightful Sunday brunch.Irecallthathisdrivergot a bit lost on the way to the restaurant, which gave us an extra 30-45 minutes to talk about Indian history. I have always been impressed by Dr Jha's scholarly work, integrity, and strength. I also recall that he brought me a stack of books, some of his books and some by other people. One of his legacies CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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