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 MONDAY, APRIL 5, 2021, MUMBAI, LATE CITY, 14 PAGES `5.00, WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 WORST ATTACK IN CHHATTISGARH IN FOUR YEARS Day after Maoist ambush: bodies of 20 personnel recovered, toll 22 How a massive security op was planned, how it went wrong BUSINESS AS USUAL GARGI VERMA & DIPANKAR GHOSE BY UNNY BIJAPUR/KOLKATA, APRIL 4 MAHARASHTRA In Bastar village, bodies of securitymen with multiple bullet wounds; police say at least 12 Maoists killed GARGI VERMA JHIRAGAON (CHHATTISGARH), APRIL 4 DOCUMENTS SEIZED BY NIA MAY LEAD TO PARALLEL PROBE BY ANOTHER AGENCY MAHARASHTRA DAMS SEE HIGHER WATER LEVELS PAGE 4 THE HUTS were shut and the bodies laid out on the ground outside, one of them on a bed of dry leaves dull red in colour like the caked blood, dotted with small mahua flowers. Twenty-four hours after a group of security personnel were ambushed by Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar district, Jhiragaon village in the jungles along the borders of Sukma and Bijapurborethescarsof thegunbattle: 22 dead, 30 injured, one still missing — the highest casualty in such an attack over the Raipur CHHATTISGARH Bijapur district Tarrem past four years. Two bodies had been found Saturday. On Sunday, the bodies of 20morepersonnelwerefound alongwiththatof awomanfrom the Maoist ranks and an INSAS rifle. The 22 bodies of security personnelwereretrievedaround noon by squads of the District ReserveGuard(DRG)andSpecial Task Force (STF) who had escaped the ambush. Chhattisgarh Police said in a statementthatatleast12Maoists were killed and 16 injured in the gunbattlefollowingtheambush. “On the basis of our sources and technical information, we have reasonstobelievethatourforces caused damage to the Maoist forces... We have information that they had to carry their injured in trucks towards Jabbamurka and Gomguda villages (in Bijapur),” police said. According to officials and CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 E EXPLAINED Security personnel carrying out a combing operation in the forests of South Bastar on Sunday, a day after the Naxal attack. Reuters LYING ON a bed on Sunday morning at the Bijapur district hospital, a shrapnel injury on his leg and a shallow gun wound on his arm, the Chhattisgarh Police jawan can't stop going over the events of the previous day in his mind. He has now come to an overwhelming conclusion: he and his colleagues had walked into a trap laid out by the Maoists. "We didn't find anything when we reached the spot we were asked ● to reach. Once we started returning, they ambushed us. There were so many of them, so suddenly... it had to be planned," he said. Sources in the know of the operational plan told The Indian Express that 10 teams were launched in all — two from Sukma district and eight from three camps in Bijapur. It was a massive operation that included the STF, DRG and DistrictForceof theChhattisgarh Police, the CRPF and its elite COBRA unit, with close to a 1,000 personnel from Bijapur alone. Sixof theeightBijapurteams CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 EC rejects Mamata complaint: ‘Factually wrong... misdemeanour’ EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, APRIL 4 BJP’s Himanta Biswa Sarma at a rally in Hajo on Sunday. PTI Five rallies, one road show, minor blip: Sarma’s extra day out ABHISHEK SAHA GUWAHATI, APRIL 4 WITHTHEElectionCommission cutting down the ban on him campaigning from 48 hours to 24, senior BJP leader and Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma counted down the end of Assam'spollcampaignwithaseries of rallies. The ban, following Sarma's threat to put Bodoland People’s Front chief Hagrama Mohilary behind bars on an NIA case, had been announced on Friday.After itendedonthecompletionof 24 hours,onSaturdayevening,with the EC accepting his apology, Sarma took to the streets almost immediately, with a massive rally in the state capital PAGE 1 ANCHOR Guwahati. One of the key leaders of the BJPcampaign,andapossibleCM candidate, Sarma spent Sunday addressing a road show at Bijni, followed by public meetings at Dudhnoi, Borkhetri and Hajo. Finally, in the afternoon, Sarma called it a day with a rally at Jalukbari, his own constituency. Accused of making polarising statements during his campaign, he said in Jalukbari, “We don’t do communal politics. We have worked equally for the development of Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Jains, Christians, everyone over the last five years. We have been successful in upholdinganewillustrationof secularism in Assam.” However, Sarma continued CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 STRONGLY REJECTING West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee‘s allegations of irregularities at a polling booth in Nandigram on April 1, the Election Commission of India Sunday called her complaint “factuallyincorrect”andclaimed that her “narrative” construed “misdemeanor.” On April 1, Banerjee, who is contestingfromNandigram,was Mamata had complained to EC on April 1 heldupformorethantwo hoursatapollingboothin Boyal,assupportersof the ruling Trinamool and BJP nearlycametoblows.The wheelchair-bound CM couldmoveoutonlyafter a large contingent of THE EDITORIAL PAGE COMMISSION & OMISSION PAGE 8 DECISION 2021 Centralforcesandpolice personnelreachedthe site. Later, Banerjee blamed outsiders for creating trouble and accused the EC of not acting on CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 At Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, Kurla, Sunday night. Officials said there was a rise in numbers of passengers in the last two days in anticipation of new curbs in the state. Pradip Das COVID SURGE Weekend lockdown in Maharashtra, new curbs through April VISHWAS WAGHMODE MUMBAI, APRIL 4 WITH MAHARASHTRA recording its highest single-day jump in Covid cases of 57,704 on Sunday, the state announced fresh restrictions to last through April, including a total lockdown on weekends. The restrictions announced bytheChief Minister'sOfficewill include daytime prohibitory orders on assembly of more than five people and daily night curfews from 8 pm to 7 am. Named 'Break the Chain', the curbs are to come into force from 8 pm on Monday and remain in force until April 30. The weekend lockdown will begin 8 pm Fridays and continue until 7 am Mondays. Section 144 will be imposed prohibiting the assembly of more than five people from 7 am to 8 pm. All types of shops, malls and markets, except those selling groceries,medicinesandvegetables, will remain closed until April 30. This means closure of all cinemas, multiplexes, theatres, video parlours, clubs, swimming pools, sports complexes,auditoriums,waterparks, salons,beautyparloursandspas. Restaurants and bars will be completely closed, except if a restaurantispartof ahotel,when it can be opened for the guests staying at the hotel. Takeaway or parcel service will be available only from 7 am to 8 pm. THE CITY MIGRANT WORKERS CONSIDER GOING HOME, SOME FEAR TRAIN SERVICES MAY BE STOPPED PAGE 3 SECTION144 DURINGDAYTIME ■ Total lockdown 8 pm Fridays to 7 am Mondays ■ Daily night curfew 8 pm to 7 am ■Sec 144 during daytime ■ All markets shut except essentials ■ Malls, cinemas, spas, restaurants shut ■ Staff of essential shops to get vaccines ■ Schools, colleges shut ■ Private offices to work from home ■ Limit on passengers in autos, taxis Shopkeepers and staff of essential goods and services have CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 In Kerala’s din, a mother seeking justice, a wife calling for an end to violence AMRITH LAL DHARMADAM, VADAKARA, APRIL 4 ‘Preventing crowding very, very difficult... Need strategies on what to do despite people not following Covid norms’ RANDEEP GULERIA DIRECTOR, ALL INDIA INSTITUTE OF MEDICAL SCIENCES PAGE 10 FROM THE distance it looks like a cross. But it’s just a long pole with a crossbar, on both sides of which hang two small, white frocks with marks that look like blood stains. Accompanying it are half-a-dozen people who make up the campaign team of the woman who has been dubbed the ‘Walayar mother’, and who is contesting as a candidate from Dharmadam, the CPM fortress from where Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is RMP’s K K Rema is fighting from Vadakara. Amrith Lal standing for re-election. Long way from home, in Walayar, a town near Palakkad on the Tamil Nadu border, she handsoutpamphlets—toeveryone,inshops,thosewalkingpast her.Theystop,listen,butfewengage with her. Making a halt at a bus stop on the highway connecting Dharmadam to Kozhikode in the south and Mangalore in the north, she says in simple, clear Malayalam: “I wantjustice.Iwaspromisedjustice by the CM, but the government is protecting the police officers who subverted the investigation into the rape and murder of my two children aged 9 and 11.” Three months apart in 2017, her two daughters had been found dead under dubious circumstances. Following protests, arrests were made, but the men were later acquitted, with the courtsayingtheprosecutionhad failed to prove its case against them. In January this year, the Kerala High Court found serious lapses in the probe and ordered a retrial. The state government has since handed over the case to the CBI. The mother (her name is being withheld due to POCSO curbs) had tonsured her head to protest against the alleged shielding of the police officials, and has been travelling across the state to highlight her case. She is now one of the candidates for the April 6 election, with the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 India breaches 1-lakh daily mark, PM directs officials to send teams to hotspot states AMITABH SINHA & KAUNAIN SHERIFF M PUNE, NEW DELHI, APRIL 4 INDIA'SDAILYCovidcountscaled a new peak Sunday, with more than 1 lakh cases being reported forthefirsttimeever.Over57,000 positivecaseswerereportedfrom Maharashtraalone,anewrecord for the state that has now imposed a weekend lockdown, as the national tally crossed 1.01 lakh, according to latest reports available — a few states like Odisha and Telangana report theirnumbersthenextmorning. The previous high was achieved on September 16 last year, when 97,894 positive cases werereported.Thenumbershad startedslidingafterthat,andthe decline continued for five monthsbeforeasurge,described as a “second wave”, started. The 1-lakh mark was breached on the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a review meeting and directed senior officials to send teams comprising public health experts and clinicians to Maharashtra, Punjab CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 WORLD UK TO UNVEIL 'COVID PASSPORT' FOR MASS EVENTS EXPATS STRUGGLE TO GET VACCINES IN KUWAIT PAGE 12 Teacher, mountaineer... now, first cricketer from Ladakh in J&K team SHAHID JUDGE MUMBAI, APRIL 4 HE HAS trained as a monk, worked as a physical education teacher, been a sales manager at aDecathlonsportsoutlet,andoften taken up the job of managing trekking camps during the tourist season. But that's not what Skalzang Kalyan Dorje is excited to talk about over the phone from his home in Leh's Tukla village, shielding his voice from the cold wind howling outside. “Therewasevenatimewhen I used to run after goats as a herder. Now I’m the first person from Ladakh to play domestic cricket...I represented Jammu and Kashmir at Syed Mushtaq T20 Tournament,” says the 31year-old allrounder. Had it not been for the pandemic that caused the cancellation of the 2020-2021 Ranji Trophyseason--theT20tournament was held instead -- Dorje may also have become the first player from Ladakh to become a First Class cricketer. There’s a strong chance that it may still happen -- J&K and Ladakh are two separate Union Territories now, but the Cricket Association of Ladakh (CAL) is not yet affiliated with the BCCI. Says the J&K team's captain, ParvezRasool:“Lastseason,Ihad travelledtoLadakhtoseethetalent and there were four-five good players. Dorje was one of them. We played a few practice gamesandhedismissedafewof our good batsmen. He’s a decent left-arm spinner, a great fielder andahandybatsman.Hehaspotential but at the same time he has to work hard.” DorjesportedtheJ&Kcolours for the first time in January, adding “professional cricketer” tothelonglistof vocationsonhis bio-data. In fact, he even took up mountaineering courses in Skalzang Kalyan Dorje in Leh’s Tukla village. Express Darjeeling where he won a gold medal and an award for being the best ‘Technical Climber’. “From my childhood days, I used to run after goats at this high altitude and that gave me the foundation to do well in all these things,” he says. Dorje's cricketing journey started in the summer of 1999, at the age of 10, when his uncle, a monk at the Maha Bodhi Society in Bengaluru, decided that the boy should join him. “The World Cup was on in England, and all my seniors in the hostel were very excited about it. I didn’t know anything about cricket. Goat-herding was all I knew and loved. But then I started playing with them. We broke so many windows, we got beaten up for it, but we still played,” he says. A few years later, he was sent to Mysore to continue his education -- and cricketing exploits. But once he graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Physical Education, he had to start earning and took up a teacher’s position at the school he studied at in Mysore. By2011,hehadstoppedplaying cricket competitively, busy shuffling between his jobs as a trekking camp manager during thepeakseasonandaPEteacher in the off-season. In 2015, however, a stadium came up in Ladakh at the site of what was once a dumping ground, and opened space for CAL to host local tournaments. “Ourtournamentswerefrom March to May, and I’d almost alwayswinthemanof thetournament award. So I’d come home with lots of prizes. I’ve won a television, refrigerator, a washing machine...somyfamilywasvery happy,” he says. But as Rasool watched Dorje win another 'man of the series' award during the 2020 edition of the tournament, which was CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
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