eye THE SUNDAY EXPRESS MAGAZINE The Time of Our Singing KOLKATA,LATECITY APRIL11,2021 Amit Chaudhuri and Pratap Bhanu Mehta discuss the idiosyncrasies of Indian classical music PAGES 10, 11, 12 16PAGES,`5.00 (EX-KOLKATA `7, `12 IN NORTH EAST STATES & ANDAMAN) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA PAGE 8 Battleground Chhattisgarh The lessons not learnt, and why Naxals continue to hold out in the state EC frowned on this but uses martyr icon in its Bengal ad RITIKA CHOPRA NEW DELHI, APRIL 10 THE ELECTION Commission Saturday invoked the armed forces in its print advertisement urging West Bengal’s electors to come out and vote, even as it advises political leaders and candidates to desist from making any reference to Defence personnel in their poll campaign. The ad that appeared on the dayof thefourthphaseof polling displays the silhouette of the 'Amar Jawan Jyoti' and a sketch of cartoonist RK Laxman's 'Common Man' as paying homage to the fallen soldier. The ad asks the reader: "They sacrifice for their country. Can't you even vote for the country?" It then goes on to state, "Vote is not only your right, but also your duty. Cast your vote fearlessly." The Amar Jawan Jyoti was constructed after the 1971 war to commemorate the martyred and unknown soldiers of the Indian armed forces who died during the war. In the past, the EC has advised political parties to “desist from displaying photographs of Defence personnel or photographs of functions involving CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 WORLD STALLED AT FIRST JAB: VACCINE SHORTAGES HIT POOR COUNTRIES PAGE 6 VIOLENCE DURING FOURTH PHASE, EC bars leaders from Cooch Behar DECISION 2021 WEST BENGAL MAMATA & MODI TRADE CHARGES, Phase 5 campaign curtailed by a day Bengal on edge: Four killed in CISF firing after mob storms polling booth Two attacks, mob tried to seize weapons, polling booth, says CISF Police: Rumour led to mob attack in Cooch Behar, bid to snatch rifles RAVIK BHATTACHARYA & RITIKA CHOPRA COOCH BEHAR, NEW DELHI, APRIL 10 IN A violent turn to the Assembly elections in West Bengal, four persons, including an 18-year-old, were killed in firing by CISF personnel at a polling station in Sitalkuchi in Cooch Behar district where voting was underway for the fourth phase Saturday morning. Police said local residents stormed the polling station following rumours in the area and tried to snatch weapons of the security personnel who retaliated by opening fire. The dead have been identified as Hamidul Mian (31), Monirujjaman Mian (28), Noor Alam Mian (20) and Samiul Haq (18),allfromJorpatkivillage.The firstthreeweremigrantworkers who had returned home to vote while the fourth worked at a cyber cafe in the village. Four others, including one with a bullet injury, are at the Mathabhanga hospital. In a separate incident in Sitalkuchi, a first-time voter, Anand Barman (18), was shot dead, allegedly by miscreants, CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 DEEPTIMAN TIWARY NEW DELHI, APRIL 10 Security personnel at the polling booth in Sitalkuchi, in West Bengal’s Cooch Behar district, on Saturday. Partha Paul 76% POLLINGIN4TH PHASE PAGE3 In run-up, Mamata slammed Central forces, urged voters to ‘gherao’ them RAVIK BHATTACHARYA COOCH BEHAR, APRIL 10 THE DEATH of four people in firing by the CISF in "self-defence", during polling at Cooch Behar in northBengalonSaturday,comes after days of trading of charges between the Trinamool and BJP over the presence of Central forces for the elections. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjeehasrepeatedlyaccused theCentralforcesof actingatthe CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Hamidul Mian’s grieving family on Saturday. Partha Paul THE CENTRAL Industrial SecurityForce(CISF)saiditsmen were forced to open fire near a polling booth in Cooch Behar in West Bengal on Saturday, leading to the death of four, as an attempt was made to snatch their weapons. According to CISF sources, a violent mob tried to disrupt polling in the Sitlakuchi Assembly segment at least twice. It was after the second attempt that CISF personnel fired, leading to the casualties. The CISF, which said some of its men also suffered injuries, is preparing an incident report to be sent to the Election Commission, which suspended polling at one of the two booths involved in the violence, Booth No. 126. Sources said the CISF will hand over CCTV footage and otherelectronicevidencetosubstantiate its claims. Sources said the first clash happened at around 9.35 am when a Quick Reaction Team (QRT) of the CISF was attacked by a mob of around 50-60 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Maharashtra braces for 15-day lockdown, CM gets parties on board VISHWAS WAGHMODE MUMBAI, APRIL 10 AS MAHARASHTRA OBSERVED the first day of a weekend lockdown after five days of daytime restrictions and night curfews, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray Saturday indicated the state government would likely impose a longer lockdown of upto 15 days to break the chain of infection, starting Monday, April 12. At a meeting of representatives from the ruling three-party Maha Vikas Aghadi, and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, at which he sought the cooperationof allpartiesforanydecision that the state will take in this regard, Thackeray was assured support by all those present, including former Chief Minister and leader of opposition Devendra Fadnavis. Fadnavis demanded the government to spell out a detailed plan to allay the fears of people about job losses and livelihood issues during the lockdown. “As an opposition party, we are willing to lend our support to thegovernmentandreachoutto all constituents affected by lockdown.Butatthesametime,while explaining the reasons for extreme measures, we have to give them some options to reconcile with the challenges. The economic concerns cannot be dismissed,” he said at the meeting. Maharashtra on Saturday recorded 55,411 fresh Covid-19 cases with 9,330 cases in Mumbai. Both the state and city have seen a marginal drop in fresh infections due to CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Empty streets in Mumbai on Saturday amid a weekend lockdown in the state. Ganesh Shirsekar Five Maharashtra dists US note echoes 8 earlier Punjab wheat procurement begins with high caseload ones but its no-consent as arhtiyas end stir, agree on DBT drive vaccine demand clause for China, India SHUBHAJIT ROY NEW DELHI, APRIL 10 THE US Navy’s controversial public statement on its freedom of navigationoperation(FONOP) in India’s Exclusive Economic Zone echoes its previous statements as per a new Standard Operating Procedure beginning November 2020 – with one telling change. The US Navy’s Seventh Fleet issued statements after nine Freedom of Navigation CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 EXPLAINED SUNDAY STORY E Bad optics given Quad ● spotlight THE US Navy’s new SOP has created concern in India especially given the Quad grouping. Delhi’s view is that underlining “without India’s consent,” is counter-productive and “bad optics.” More so, since this language has been used with China, not Japan. RAAKHI JAGGA KAUNAIN SHERIFF M PROCUREMENT OF wheat crop commenced in Punjab after ahrtiyascalledoff theirstrikeand agreedtotheDBT(DirectBenefit Transfer) of the minimum supportprice(MSP)intofarmers’accounts. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, on his part, said the state would immediately release Rs 131 crore to the arhtiyas pending for over 18 months without waiting for the Food Corporation of India to release funds. The FCI had withheld the AS INDIA opened up vaccination on April 1 for everyone above 45 years, Maharashtra — which is now reporting a shortage of vaccines at several sites — had administered 31.74 lakh doses in thefirstninedaysof Phase3.This was a staggering 96.39 percent increasecomparedwiththepreceding nine-dayperiod,scrutiny of official data reveals. Significantly, the increase in Maharashtra was higher than the national trend — which stood at 89.48 percent for the same period. This exponential LUDHIANA, APRIL 10 NEW DELHI, APRIL 10 At a grain market in Ludhiana on Saturday. Gurmeet Singh dues since many arhtiyas had not fed farmer details on the Punjab Financial Management Service Portal. Interacting with arhtiyas through video conferencing Saturday, Amarinder Singh said CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 increaseinthestateatthebeginningof Phase3indicatesthatthe sudden demand for the vaccine is a key reason behind certain vaccination centres facing a shortage of stock in the state. In fact, a granular analysis of dataforthefivetophighcaseload districts—alsointhelistoftopsix highcaseloaddistrictsinthecountry — reveals that these centres have been driving the demand of the vaccines in the first nine days of the third phase; it also reveals that except for Mumbai, the four other districts — Pune, Thane, Nagpur, and Nashik — have reportedanincreasemorethanthe state increase of 96.39 per cent; CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Kerala medical students dance their way to healing hate and hearts PAGE 1 ANCHOR VISHNU VARMA KOCHI, APRIL 10 TILL TWO weeks ago, Janaki Omkumar and senior Naveen Razakwerejustregularstudents at Thrissur Medical College in Kerala, busy with exams. Today, they are social media stars and fast becoming mascots for communal harmony in a state that just finished voting in a bruising election with sharp overtones of religion and a lingering undertone of alleged "love jihad". It started with a 30-second video that Janaki and Naveen posted of them dancing, in their navy blue scrubs, to Boney M's classic Rasputin, in the empty corridors of their college, that went viral. This week, a lawyer put up a Facebook post referring to their different religious backgrounds and cautioning Janaki's parents. The outrage across the state in response has seen student unions in colleges organise similar dance competitions as their message against hate; a 'Rasputin Challenge' by the stu- dents' unit of the Indian Medical Association inviting video entries on Instagram; and Milma, Kerala's biggest milk cooperative,featuringJanakiandNaveen in a Facebook post titled "when you set hearts on fire". An overwhelmed Janaki, who has been besieged by phonecallsandrequestsforselfies, as well as gained thousands of followersonsocialmedia,says she and Naveen never anticipated this reaction. Speaking on the phone from Thrissur, the third-year medical student says, "I read his (the lawyer's) comments just when our exams had A video grab of Janaki Omkumar, Naveen Razak started and we didn't take it seriously. Later, we realised that it had snowballed into a huge controversy. But right from the beginning,wewereverycoolabout it and so were our families. The remarks show his (the lawyer's) thinking." In his Facebook post on their video, lawyer Krishna Raj wrote: "There's something fishy. It wouldbegoodif Janaki'sparents are careful. They won't have to be sorry later as the case of Nimisha's mother proves. Let us pray for Janaki's father Omkumar and his wife." (A native of Thiruvananthapuram, Nimisha had converted to Islam and joined the Islamic State in Afghanistan in 2016 with her husband.) Among those who have responded to Krishna Raj in kind is thestudents'unionatJanakiand Naveen's institute, Thrissur Medical College, which posted a video of more students dancing to Rasputin, with the title, 'If you are planning to spread hate, we intend to resist it'. At the end of thevideo,JanakiandNaveenappear,thistimetheonlyoneswho are not in scrubs. Listing the names of the students who danced in the video, the union added in a remark alluding to Raj'scomment,"If yougoaround searching the head and tail of names of these students (implying names and surnames), you will get more reasons to put up a post on Facebook." The students' union at the CochinUniversityof Scienceand Technology in Kochi, led by the CPM's Students' Federation of India, announced a dance challengewithcashprizesinsolidarity with Janaki and Naveen. A member of the union, Abhinav Krishna,said,"Wealsoborrowed the term 'Entho oru panthikedu (there's something fishy)' from the lawyer's comments for our dance challenge. We want to register our protest at those making such hateful comments to show that these have no place in Kerala." Inviting entries, Krishna added, "Anyone irrespective of age can send in videos of them dancing to the Rasputin song to us till April 14. The best video, to be judged by Naveen and Janaki, will get a cash prize of Rs 10,000." Janaki says she was thrown at first by the fact that Raj mentioned her father in his post. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Kolkata
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