DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE WEDNESDAY, APRIL 7, 2021, NEW DELHI, LATE CITY, 16 PAGES THE WORLD WORLD POWERS BEGIN INDIRECT TALKS TO REVIVE IRAN NUKE DEAL GLOBAL COVID-19 TOLL CROSSES 3 MN PAGE 12 THE EDITORIAL PAGE A RELOOK AT MYANMAR BY SANJOY HAZARIKA PAGE 8 `6.00 (`8 BIHAR & RAIPUR, `12 SRINAGAR) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 96,982 NEW CASES IN 24 HOURS Next 4 weeks critical... vaccine first to those who need it, not want it: Centre Cases spreading faster than last time, says Covid task force head KAUNAIN SHERIFF M NEW DELHI, APRIL 6 AMID DEMANDS from some sections to open up Covid-19 vaccination in view of rising cases,theCentresaidonTuesday that the aim was to protect the vulnerable population and to vaccinate “thosewho require it”, not those who “want it”. Stating that the cases were “spreading fasterthanlasttime”, Dr V K Paul, who heads India’s Covid-19taskforce,saidthenext four weeks will be “critical”. With 96,982 new cases reported across the country in the last 24 hours, the total active caseload is now 7,88,223. Addressing a press briefing, DrPaulsaid:"Theintensityof the CAPITAL CURBS: WHO IS EXEMPTED ■ Healthcare, govt staff ■ Those travelling to and from airports, railway stations and interstate bus terminals ■ Delivery personnel ■ People going to get Covid vaccination ■ Patients CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Delhi govt imposes night curfew till April 30 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, APRIL 6 THEDELHIgovernmentTuesday imposed night curfew, from 10 pm to 5 am, till April 30 in the wake of rising Covid-19 cases in the national capital. The city reported 5,100 new cases in the last 24 hours — the highest sin- gle-dayspikesinceNovember27 (5,482 cases). Healthcareworkersandgovernment officials on essential and emergency duties will be exempt, as will those travelling toandfromairports,railway stations and interstate bus terminals. Those travelling inter-state by private vehicles will not be CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 NEW DELHI, APRIL 6 Queuing up to vote at a booth in Guwahati on Tuesday, during the final phase of polls in Assam. PTI REPORTS PAGE6 NEW DELHI, APRIL 6 IN A bid to iron out divergences and build on the common “resilient” ground ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit later this year, Indian and Russian Foreign Ministers Tuesday sought to address each other’sconcernsonawiderange of issues — from defence supplies to the S-400 air defence system, India’s role in Afghanistan and Taliban’s involvement in power-sharing to cooperation on Covid vaccines and Delhi’s participation in the Quad grouping. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 E E X P L A I NE D SHUBHAJIT ROY Russia’s tightrope ● walk INDIA HAS been cautious in dealing with Russia over the past year given its dependence on Moscow for defence supplies. Moscow’s proximity to Beijing is being watched in Delhi. Russia also has misgivings about Quad diplomacy. Lavrov’s visit is part of the diplomatic tightrope both sides are walking as he heads to Islamabad from Delhi. As CBI begins probe on HC orders, Maharashtra govt, Deshmukh move separate pleas in SC EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, APRIL 6 ON A day that the Maharashtra government and its former home minister, Anil Deshmukh, moved the Supreme Court separately, challenging the Bombay High Court’s direction to the CBI to probe the allegations levelled against him by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Parambir Singh, the CBI on Tuesday formally initiated a preliminary enquiry. DeshmukhresignedasHome Minister on Monday, hours after UP GETS MUKHTAR ANSARI CUSTODY P6 Deshmukh resigned on Monday the Bombay High Court directed the CBI to probe the allegations against him. Calling the case “unprecedented,”theHighCourthadasked the CBI to complete the probe “preferably within 15 days”, after whichitsaid the CBI director was at liberty to take “further CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 PAGE 1 ANCHOR BJP Foundation Day: Modi warns against ‘false narratives’ on CAA, farm & labour LIZ MATHEW Moscow plays down Beijing, pledges deeper Delhi ties: S-400 to Afghanistan External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in New Delhi Tuesday. PTI PM Modi addressing party workers on Tuesday. Praveen Khanna On Kerala voting day, Sabarimala in focus, CM says ‘Gods with LDF’ SHAJU PHILIP THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, APRIL 6 THE SABARIMALA temple issue, which had become a flashpoint in Kerala during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, took centrestage again on voting day for the Assembly elections Tuesday, with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’sremarkthatthe“legion of Devas (Gods)” is with the ruling CPI(M)-led LDF, drawing a heated response from Congress and BJP leaders. Responding to a comment fromatopfunctionaryof cause this Government the Nair Service Society stoodwiththepeoplein (NSS),aprominentoutfit crisis”. He was referring representing upperto the state governcaste Nairs, that “a govment’s welfare measernment that protects DECISION ures to tide over the faith” should be elected, floods and the Covid 2021 Vijayan told reporters: lockdown. KERALA “The people of Kerala Vijayan was speakwill bestow a historic verdict on ing to reporters after casting his the LDF. The Government had vote in Kannur's Dharmadam stood with the people in crisis. It constituency, where he is conisbelievedthat thosepeoplewill testing from. support the LDF.” Taking a cue from the Chief ReferringtotheSabarimalais- Minister,CPI(M)politburomemsue, Vijayan said that the deity at ber Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said: Sabarimala,“Ayyappa,andthele- “If Gods had votes, LDF would gionofDevasarewiththeLDFbeCONTINUED ON PAGE 2 VOTER TURNOUT WEST BENGAL (Phase 3, 31 seats) 77.68% ASSAM (Phase 3, 40 seats) 82.33% KERALA (140 seats) 74.02% TAMIL NADU (234 seats) 71.79% PUDUCHERRY (30 seats) 81.64% EXPRESS INVESTIGATION - PART TWO Citing lack of due process & glaring gaps in FIRs, HC struck down 20 of 20 orders QuotingSC,HCunderlined:govt’s ‘bald’claimthataccusedwouldrepeat crimeif givenbailnotenough forNSA KAUNAIN SHERIFF M it ruled in — almost 80% — the High Court struck down the orders and ordered the release of the detainees. But when it comes to communalincidentsalone,thiswent up to 100% — between January 2018 and December 2020, this is the only category where the court has struck down all NSA BY UNNY NATIONALINSECURITYACT TAKEN together, cow slaughter cases and communal incidents account for over half of all cases adjudicated by the Allahabad High Court in which the Uttar Pradesh administration invoked the draconian National Security Act (NSA) over the last three years — 61 of 120. In as many as 50 of these habeas corpus cases BUSINESS AS USUAL NEW DELHI, APRIL 6 COMMUNAL INCIDENTS detention orders it adjudicated on: 20 out of 20, all on habeas corpus petitions. All the accused were from the minority community — and in at least four cases, the court took on record submissions that flaggedthisfact,aninvestigation by The Indian Express of police and court records show. On Tuesday, responding to thefirstpartof TheIndianExpress investigation, a UP government spokesperson sent a break-up of NSA cases and related proceedings between January 2018 and December 2020. According to this break-up, the NSA was invoked in 534 cases out of which it was revoked in 106 cases by the advisory board and in 50 cases by the High Court. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 MARKING THE BJP’s 41st Foundation Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday hit out at those who call the party a mere “election winning machine” and accused them of adopting“doublestandards”.He also warned party workers againstwhathecalled“falsenarratives” on the CAA (Citizenship AmendmentAct),farmlawsand labour laws ïn order to “create political instability”. Modi described the BJP as a “continuousand relentlesscampaign to win the hearts of the people in the country”. “We see these double standards,” Modi said during a video address to BJP workers on the day of polling in four states and one Union Territory. “If BJPwinselections,itissaid that the party is an election winning machine. But when others win, the party is credited and its leaders are praised... Those who say that the BJP is an election winning machine do not understand the robustness of Indian democracy, they are not able to measure the intelligence of its voters. It's beyond their understanding.Theywillneverbeable to understand the aspirations anddreamsof Indian voters.The truthisthatBJPisnotanelection winning machine, but it's a continuousandrelentlesscampaign to win the hearts,” Modi said. Cautioningagainst“falsenarratives” on the BJP-led Central Government's initiatives, Modi said: “Today, false narratives are made... sometimes with CAA, sometimes on farm laws and sometimes with labour laws. Every BJP worker has to understand that there is a well-calculated politics behind it and there is a big conspiracy behind it.” He said: “Their purpose is to create political instability in the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Justice N V Ramana to be sworn in as new Chief Justice of India on April 24 APURVA VISHWANATH NEW DELHI, APRIL 6 JUSTICE N V Ramana, the most senior judge of the Supreme Court after Chief Justice S A Bobde, was appointed as the next Chief Justice of India with effect from April 24. “In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (2) of Article 124 of the Constitution of India, the President is pleased to appoint Shri Justice Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana, Judge of the His term ends in Aug 2022 Supreme Court, to be the Chief Justice of India with effect from April24,2021,”saidaMinistryof Law and Justice notification. As the 48th Chief Justice of India, Justice Ramana will have a tenure of over sixteen months CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Maoists ask govt to name interlocutors for release of abducted CoBRA constable GARGI VERMA BASAGUDA, APRIL 6 THREE DAYS since a CRPF jawan from its elite CoBRA unit went missing after a gun battle on Saturday on the Sukma-Bijapur border,MaoistsonTuesdayasked the government to name interlocutors for the release of the jawan from their custody. In a press note issued on Tuesday,Vikalp,spokespersonof the Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee (DSZC) of the banned organisation CPI (Maoists),said,“Thegovernment mustdeclarethenamesof interlocutors. After that, we will release the policeman in our custody. Till then, he will be safe under our security.” The police had Sunday said RakeshwarSinghManhas,aconstable with CoBRA unit of the CRPF, was missing. Subsequently,aseniorCRPFofficer also met the family of Manhas in Jammu, and assured hisrelativesthegovernmentwas fully behind them and trying its best to get him back. In a statement on Tuesday, Inspector General of Police of CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Her son killed 16 years ago, 74-yr-old fights a lonely battle ARUN SHARMA NOWSHERA, APRIL 6 LIKE HER kuchha room that collapsed a year ago, the chances of her getting justice in the case of thekillingof heronlysonover15 years ago are also waning. But despitefindingitdifficulttowalk and her poor eyesight, Santosh Kumari, 74, is not the one to give up, or lose hope. Now staying with her nephew Subash Sharma, what brings Santosh Kumari back to therubbleof thisroomisthepossibilityof areplyfromtheRajouri DeputyCommissionertoherapplicationrequestingthepoliceto re-investigate her son’s killing. What’smostintriguingtoher is that the Jammu and Kashmir Policedid not register an FIR into the killing of Surinder Kumar, who was allegedly shot dead by an Army sentry on October 1, 2005. Instead, it preferred to initiate inquest proceedings under Section174of CrPCandfiveyears later, closed the case under section 175 CrPC describing the death as itfakia or accidental. Since then, Santosh has been running from one office to another in Nowshera, and also to Rajouri.Shelastvisitedtheoffice of the Rajouri Deputy Commissioner in 2018, she recalled. “Nothing has been done so far. Every officer assures action, but does nothing,’’ she told The Indian Express. In police jargon, a death registered as “accidental’’ is “nor- Santosh Kumari’s son was shot dead by a sentry. Arun Sharma mal’’ and does not call for registration of an FIR. “Against whom doweregisteranFIRif,forexample, someone is killed due a bullet being fired while cleaning one’s own weapon, or when one dies slipping into a gorge or a river,’’ said an officer at Nowshera police station. However, what the official would not explain was how Surinder’s death was normal when he, even according to the Army’sownstatement,wasshot by a sentry on duty who sus- pected him to be a fidayeen. And when it was known the deceased was a local and unarmed youth, why did the police initiate inquest proceedings instead of registering an FIR. The only entry in the records of Nowshera police station by then SHO, Inspector Karanjit Singh,states,“At7amonOctober 1, 2005, Captain Rupali of 325 Field Ambulance ADS informed Nowshera police station on the phone that an unidentified CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
Indian Express Limited is an Indian news media publishing company. It publishes several widely circulated dailies, including The Indian Express and The Financial Express in English, the Loksatta in Marathi and the Jansatta in Hindi.