DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE WEDNESDAY, APRIL 7, 2021, AHMEDABAD, LATE CITY, 12 PAGES `4.00 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 “those who require it”, not those who “want it”. Stating that the cases were “spreadingfasterthanlasttime”, 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 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Night curfew imposed in 20 cities across Gujarat EXPRESSNEWSSERVICE GANDHINAGAR, APRIL 6 AMID A sharp rise in Covid-19 cases,theGujaratgovernmenton Tuesday announced a curfew from 8 pm to 6 am in 20 cities in the state. The curfew, it said, will comeintoforcefromWednesday and continue till April 30. Withthestatereporting3,280 Covid-19cases,itshighestsingle- day spike, and 17 fatalities, the Gujarat High Court had, earlier in the day, expressed concern that the situation in the state was getting “out of control” and suggested a curfew or lockdown couldbeimposedforthreetofour days to contain its spread. In a video message late Tuesday evening, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said the night curfew would be imposed in four CONTINUEDONPAGE2 ‘Situation going out of control’: HC suggests lockdown for short period EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE AHMEDABAD, APRIL 6 TAKING SUO motu cognizance of the rising Covid-19 cases across the state, a division bench of Gujarat High Court (HC), headed by Chief Justice Vikram Nath, on Tuesday suggested that the state government should consider imposing a lockdown or curfew for three to four days to control the spread of the infection. Thecourt’sobservationcame after Advocate General Kamal CONTINUEDONPAGE2 NEW DELHI, APRIL 6 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 “continuousandrelentlesscampaign 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 Queuing up to vote at a booth in Guwahati on Tuesday, during the final phase of polls in Assam. PTI 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 EXPLAINED SHUBHAJIT ROY E 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. 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 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 THE WORLD His term ends in Aug 2022 India, Justice Ramana will have a tenure of over sixteen months — until August 26, 2022. Justice Ramana takes over at a time when the judiciary is adjusting to function in the virtual mode while ensuring un-interrupted access to justice to citizens. As Chairperson of the National Legal Services Authority,JusticeRamanaledefforts to ensure training to CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 PAGE 1 ANCHOR NOWSHERA, APRIL 6 PAGE 10 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 cause this Government fromatopfunctionaryof stoodwiththepeoplein the Nair Service Society crisis”. He was referring (NSS),aprominentoutfit to the state governrepresenting upperment’s welfare meascaste Nairs, that “a government that protects DECISION ures to tide over the floods and the Covid faith” should be elected, 2021 lockdown. Vijayan told reporters: KERALA Vijayan was speak“The people of Kerala will 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 conisbelievedthatthosepeoplewill testing from. Taking a cue from the Chief support the LDF.” ReferringtotheSabarimalais- Minister,CPI(M)politburomemsue, Vijayan said that the deity at ber Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said: Sabarimala,“Ayyappa,andthele- “If Gods had votes, LDF would CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 gionofDevasarewiththeLDFbe- VOTER TURNOUT WEST BENGAL (Phase 3, 31 seats) 77.68% ASSAM KERALA (140 seats) 74.02% TAMIL NADU (234 seats) 71.79% PUDUCHERRY (30 seats) 81.64% CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 At party event, BJP MP accuses colleagues of ‘graft, oppressing poor’ (Phase 3, 40 seats) 82.33% 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 Indianvoters.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 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE VADODARA, APRIL 6 NOT KNOWN to mince words, Bharuch BJP MP Mansukh Vasava on Tuesday accused party leaders of embezzling Rs 5 crore in the 1995 Narmada dam canal work and during the construction of the Statue of Unity (SoU). At an event to mark the BJP’s 42nd foundation day in Garudeshwartalukaof Narmada district, the sixterm MP also targeted several party colleagues for “oppressing the poor” and Mansukh said he will be “fighting for the Vasava truth” even if the party asked him for an explanation. “WhenIspeakthetruth,they (party colleagues) do not like it. They say, he talks too much CONTINUED ON PAGE 5 Maoists ask govt to Citing lack of due process & glaring gaps name interlocutors in FIRs, HC struck down 20 of 20 orders for release of abducted CoBRA constable QuotingSC,HCunderlined:govt’s B U EXPRESS INVESTIGATION - PART TWO ‘bald’claimthataccusedwouldrepeat crimeif givenbailnotenoughforNSA 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 SUAL 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 USINESS AS 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 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 mustdeclarethenames of 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 WORLD POWERS BEGIN INDIRECT TALKS TO REVIVE IRAN NUKE DEAL GLOBAL COVID-19 TOLL CROSSES 3 MN 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 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 Police did 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 Ahmedabad
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.