DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2021, KOLKATA, LATE CITY, 14 PAGES SINCE 1932 `5.00/EX-KOLKATA `6.00 (`12 IN NORTH EAST STATES & ANDAMAN) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM PRIYA RAMANI ACQUITTED IN M J AKBAR DEFAMATION CASE Congress workers celebrating win in Bathinda. Gurmeet Singh Cong sweeps Punjab civic polls; farm law heat singes Akalis, BJP CHANDIGARH, FEBRUARY 17 AMIDST WIDESPREAD support in Punjab for farmers agitating againstthenewagriculturallaws passed by the Centre, the ruling Congress Wednesday recorded a landslide victory in the civic body elections. The party won 1,399 of the 2,165 municipal wards, and six of the eight municipalcorporations,withtheresult of the Mohali corporation postponed for Thursday. The BJP’s hopes that a good performance in the urban areas would ease some pressure off it onthelawsweredashed.Having split from long-time ally Akali Dal, it lost even strongholds like Pathankot, Sujanpur, Batala and BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY ANAND MOHAN J NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 17 Abohar, winning only 49 wards. The Independents, who won from329wards,finishedsecond behind the Congress. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Toolkit case: 3-week transit bail to Jacob; HC says fear of arrest ‘fortified’ by warrant OMKAR GOKHALE Accused by Delhi Police of creating toolkit MUMBAI, FEBRUARY 17 THE BOMBAY High Court Wednesdaygrantedthree-week transit anticipatory bail to advocate and activist Nikita Jacob, against whom a non-bailable warrant was issued in Delhi in the Greta Thunberg toolkit case. Ordering bail for Jacob on a Rs 25,000 personal bond and sureties,inthecaseregisteredby the Delhi Police Special Cell, the Bench noted, “This protection is granted for a period of three weeks from today (Wednesday) to enable the applicant to approach the competent court for seeking appropriate relief.” On Tuesday, the Aurangabad Bench of the High Court had Court: Right of reputation can’t be protected at cost of right of life, dignity of woman granted 10-day transit pre-arrest bail to activist Shantanu Muluk, against whom a warrant has been issued in Delhi in the same case. Issuingthenon-bailablewarrants on February 16 against Jacob and Muluk, who are associated with the UK-based NGO Extinction Rebellion, the Delhi Police had accused them of creating the toolkit on the farmers’ protestthathadbeentweetedby Thunberg. CONTINUED ON PAGE2 UNDERLINING THAT a “woman cannot be punished for raising voice against sex-abuse on the pretext of criminal complaint of defamation as the right of reputation cannot be protected at the cost of the rightof lifeand dignity of woman” and that she has Akbar had the “right to filed case in put her griev- Oct 2018 ance” on “any platform of herchoice…evenafterdecades”, aDelhicourtWednesdayacquitted journalist Priya Ramani in a criminaldefamationcasefiledby MJ Akbar, former Minister of State for External Affairs. Ramani had levelled allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment against Akbar who sued her and resigned from the Union Council of Ministers after several women made similar allegations in October 2018. This CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 KOLKATA, FEBRUARY 17 WEST BENGAL Minister Jakir Hossain and some of his supporters were injured after some unidentified attackers hurled crude bombs at them at Nimtita railway station, in Murshidabad district, on Wednesday night, police said. According to sources, the incidentoccurredaround9.45pm. Hossain, the minister of state for labour, was waiting on Platform No. 2 to catch a train to Kolkata when he was attacked. EXPRESS NETWORK A video grab of Hossain, minutes before the attack Hospital sources said Hossainsufferedseriousinjuries in his hands and legs. All the injured were taken to the PAGE 1 ANCHOR KUNDLI, FEBRUARY 17 PAGE 9 APURVA VISHWANATH BYRULINGthat“therightof reputation cannot be protected at the cost of the right of life and dignity of woman”, the Delhi trialcourt,whichacquittedjournalist Priya Ramani in a criminal MHA DENIES NOD TO SIKH PILGRIMS TO VISIT PAK PAGE 9 Murshidabad Medical College and Hospital. Hossain is known to be close to Suvendu Adhikari, former TMCministerwhojoinedtheBJP in December. “It is not clear who has attacked him. I have asked the SP toconductathoroughprobeinto the incident and find out who is responsible,” said Abu Taher Khan, TMC’s Murshidabad district president. “The minister was attacked because he was opposed to cow smuggling and corruption in the district. He had opposed the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 NORTHERN ARMY Commander Lt General Y K Joshi said Wednesday that getting the People’s Liberation Army to withdraw beyond the Indian claim line at Finger 8 on the north bank of Pangong Tso is a “huge success for India”. In an email interview to The Indian Express, Lt General Joshi saidthepurposebehindoccupying the heights along Kailash Range on the southern bank of Pangong Tso had been achieved with the disengagement on the northern bank of the lake. He said a “misperception is being created” to say that India had lost out by accepting the nopatrolling buffer zone between Fingers 4 and 8. THE EXPRESS INTERVIEW LT GEN Y K JOSHI NORTHERN ARMY COMMANDER “The fact is that it is a huge successforus.Firstly,PLAismoving back beyond our claim line that is Finger 8. Secondly, this agreement denies them the advantage of patrolling till Finger 4. In fact, PLA will not be carrying out any activity, military or otherwise in the areas claimed byus.Thirdly,theywillberestoring the entire landform within CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 defamation case filed by M J Akbar, has extended a legal shield to women speaking up against sexual harassment, even when it happened decades ago. “The woman has a right to put her grievance at any platform of her choice and even after decades,” Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ravindra Kumar Pandey said in his 91-page verdict. Although the trial was premised on Akbar and his right to reputation, it became a platform for recording allegations of sexual harassment against him. While the court did not examine the merits of the sexual CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 17 WITH THE second phase of vaccination targeting the third priority group — the 50-plus population—settotakeoff inthenext two to three weeks, the government has decided that its flagship Co-WIN platform will be GPS-enabled, and beneficiaries, whocanself-register on theapp, will have the option of choosing the date and location of their vaccination site. Also, beneficiaries can use the app to update their age from what is reflected in the last electoral roll. These are among the key suggestions that have been incorporated in the blueprint finalisedbytheCentreforthenext round of vaccination. 2 Dalit girls found Rs 12,000-cr PLI scheme for telecom dead in a field in Unnao, third critical gets Cabinet nod AASHISH ARYAN NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 17 THE UNION Cabinet on Wednesday approved a Rs 12,195-crore Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for domestic manufacturing of telecom and networking productssuchasswitches,routers,radio access network, wireless equipment and other internet of things (IoT) access devices. “The core component of this scheme is to offset the huge importoftelecomequipmentworth morethanRs50,000croreandreinforce it with ‘Made in India’ products,bothfordomesticmarkets and exports,” the telecom ministry said in a release. Currently, India imports over 80 per cent of its telecom and wire- E Eyeon global ● firms WITH THE PLI scheme now covering 13 sectors, the Centre is looking at attracting global manufacturing conglomerates to India. State governments have been incentivised to invite global companies to set up supply chains. The focus is also on job creation through these industries over the next five years. less networking equipment. Withtheinclusionof telecom CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ASAD REHMAN LUCKNOW, FEBRUARY 17 BODIES OF two Dalit girls, aged 13 and 16, were found in the family’sfieldinUnnaodistricton Wednesday evening, along with a 17-year-old in a serious condition. The elder girls were sisters, with the 13-year-old their cousin. The police said they suspected it to be a case of poisoning, with no signs of struggle at the site and no injury marks found prima facie on the girls. The brother of the girls claimed they had been found with their handsandfeettiedup.Whilethe youngergirlsweredeclareddead onarrivalathospital,the17-yearold continues to be critical. Speaking to reporters, the brother said, “They had gone to the farm to collect grass. Today, they got late returning, so we went to lookfor them.We found them tied up, with clothes like their chunni.” IG (Lucknow Range) Laxmi Singh said they were yet to confirmif thegirlsweretiedup.“The brother has given a statement saying this, but we can’tsay anything because the bodies were removed before the police reached the spot,” Singh said. UP ADG (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar said the girls had left their house on Wednesday around 3 pm, and were found by the family members in the evening. Unnao SP Sureshrao A Kulkarni said, “Under the Asoha Police Station limits, three girls CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 On Wednesday, P K Mishra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, chaired a high-level meeting with Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba and Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan to reviewtheprogressof thevaccination programme. Topgovernmentsourcestold The Indian Express thata detailed discussion on version 2.0 of the flagship Co-WIN app — that will be used for self-registration by the 27 crore priority group of those above 50 — was discussed in the meeting. “Co-WIN 2.0 is a hybrid model which will allow people to self-register as well as allow programme managers to access electoral data. And the beneficiary can download the Co-WIN 2.0 app. The facts and data will CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Express reporter gets IPI India Award for coverage of election panel Ritika Chopra EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 17 THE INTERNATIONAL Press Institute’s Indian National Committee has named Ritika Chopra, Senior Assistant Editor, The Indian Express, as the recipient of IPI’s India Award for Excellence in Journalism 2020. ThisisthefifthIPIIndiaawardfor The Indian Express or its journalistssinceitwaslaunchedin2003. Chopra was selected, IPI said Wednesday, for her “exclusive CONTINUEDONPAGE2 DU dreams to labour activism: Nodeep’s arc that ended in arrest SAKSHI DAYAL CONGRESS LEADER AND GANDHI FAMILY LOYALIST CAPT SATISH SHARMA DIES AT 73 Verdict builds on Vishaka ruling, gives new legal shield to women SHE SAID Bengal minister injured in bomb attack at railway station SANTANU CHOWDHURY Priya Ramani with her lawyer Rebecca John after the verdict on Wednesday. Anand Mohan J NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 17 EXPRESS NETWORK MUMBAI, FEBRUARY 17 KAUNAIN SHERIFF M THE EDITORIAL PAGE Priya Ramani’s acquittal in criminal defamation case breaks the silence, empowers women PAGE 6 P9 NIRUPAMA SUBRAMANIAN Those above 50 can use Covid app to self-register, choose vaccination site E X P L A I NE D KANCHAN VASDEV ‘The woman cannot be punished for raising voice against sex abuse’ Getting China to pull back behind Finger 8 a huge success for us: Northern Army chief BEFORESHEbecameknownasa labour rights activist, following her arrest in Haryana on January 12, Nodeep Kaur (24) — now at the centre of an international campaign for her release — just wanted to complete her education. After finishing her Class 12 in 2018, she wanted to enrol for BA (Punjabi) at Delhi University (DU),butstartedworkingtosupport her family — her father and motherarelabourers,andshehas three sisters. After working at a telecalling companyinDelhifor sometime, Kaur joined a mask manufacturingunitinKundli,inSonepatdistrict of Haryana, in July last year. In October, she moved to a glass manufacturing unit in the area. ItwasaroundthistimethatKaur began her association with the Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan, a local labour rights organisation. But her sister, Rajveer (26), traces Kaur’s fight for Dalit and labour rights to their childhood. “Fighting against anything wrong” was ingrained in them, she says. According to her, eight years ago, their mother, a farm The factory in Kundli, where Nodeep Kaur (right) protested. Abhinav Saha labourer, led a fight to get justice for a Dalit girl who was gangraped by upper caste men in their village in Muktsar district of Punjab. After the men were convicted, she says, the villagers’ hostility forced them to move to Telangana. In Telangana, Kaur’s father got a job at a workshop. It was only in 2019 that the women returned to Punjab, while Kaur’s father stayed back, returning for only a few months during the lockdown. The move toTelangana led to an interruption in Kaur’s education, her relatives say. She could not go to a government school due to the language barrier, so Kaur completed her Class 12 through ‘Open School’. “Womenhavebeenmorevocal and active in our family; our motheralwaysspokeoutagainst wrong and we learned from her…ThisledNodeeptojointhe Sangathan. She knew the working conditions at the factories — lackof implementationof labour laws and the difference in wages of menandwomenfor the same work,” says Rajveer, who is pursuing her PhD from DU. While the Sangathan has CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Kolkata
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