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 12, 2021, MUMBAI, LATE CITY, 14 PAGES `5.00, WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 Oxygen,ventilators,testing:Central teamsflaggapsinkeysurgestates Mamata calls poll deaths ‘genocide,’ Shah says she instigated attack KAUNAIN SHERIFF M West Bengal BJP chief says those killed in firing were ‘bad boys’ ACTIVE CASES SURGE PAST 11 LAKH, HIGHEST EVER ` 100 per kilo ` 128 per kilo ` 158 per kilo ` 60 per Dozen NIA arrests another Mumbai Police officer in Antilia bomb scare case SAGAR RAJPUT MUMBAI, APRIL 11 ASSISTANT POLICE Inspector RiyazuddinKazibecamethesecond serving officer in the Mumbai Police to be arrested by the National Investigation AgencyintheAntiliabombscare andMansukhHiranmurdercase on Sunday morning. NIAsources saidthatKaziisa co-conspirator and involved in disposing evidence along with former Crime Intelligence Unit chief API Sachin Waze. An investigator from the NIA on the condition of anonymity said, "We have merged both the Riyazuddin Kazi Antilia bomb scare and the murder case so Kazi becomes an accused in both the crimes. Butwearestillgathering evidence against Kazi in the murder case." Since the arrest of Waze on March 13, the agency has been constantlycallingKazitotheNIA office for questioning. The NIA had called him again for questioning on Saturday and he was formally arrested at 12.45 am on Sunday. He was subsequently produced in court around 2.30 pm on Sunday. The NIA told the court that Kazi was an associate of Waze and was aware of all the developments and had also helped in disposing of evidence. "Hewaswellawareaboutthe developments,designsaswellas all the things that transpired to takeplace.Whentheagencystepped in for investigation, slowly and steadily, the accused started disposing of the articles that were material of evidence to the case that is the CPU and the DVR of CCTV footage," prosecutor Health Secy writes to Maharashtra, Punjab, Chhattisgarh; concern over testing in UP, Gujarat NEW DELHI, APRIL 11 ■ Maharashtra has very high hospital occupancy in three districts; three other districts are facing problems with oxygen supply; malfunctioning ventilators found in two districts. ■ In two districts of Punjab there is no dedicated Covid hospital; there is a shortage of healthcare workers in three districts, and no RTPCR testing lab in one. ■ In Chhattisgarh, there is a shortage of RTPCR testing in threedistricts;fourdistrictshave high hospital bed occupancy rates; the state capital has limited oxygen availability. These are among the problems identified by central teams sent by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in surge districts of three states of Migrant workers at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus in Mumbai on Sunday. Pradip Das CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 TRACKING THE SECOND SURGE 405 NEW CASES: 1,62,978 DAYS SINCE PANDEMIC BEGAN ACTIVE CASES: 11,98,377 TOTAL VACCINATION: 10,15,95,147 DAILY DEATHS 913 TOTAL DEATHS 1,71,750 WEEKLY CFR* OVERALL CFR 1.39% 1.43% TESTS TODAY: 10,65,425 | TOTAL TESTS: 25,76,92,275 WEEKLY POSITIVITY: 8.86% | OVERALL POSITIVITY: 4.85% STATES REPORTING MOST CASES STATE NEW CASES ACTIVE CASES ■ Maharashtra 63,294 5,65,587 25.20% 99,23,253 ■ Uttar Pradesh 15,276 71,241 4.60% 84,93,841 WEEKLY TOTAL POSITIVITY VACCINATION ■ Delhi 10,774 34,341 7.50% 20,62,691 ■ Chhattisgarh 10,521 90,277 23.49% 41,27,809 ■ Karnataka 10,250 69,235 6.26% 60,66,457 STATES REPORTING MOST DEATHS STATE TODAY’S DEATHS TOTAL DEATHS WEEKLY CFR OVERALL CFR ■ Maharashtra 381 59,497 0.95% 2.19% ■ Chhattisgarh 122 4,899 3.64% 1.44% ■ Uttar Pradesh 67 9,152 4.33% 1.49% ■ Punjab 59 7,507 2.28% 3.24% ■ Gujarat 54 4,800 1.69% 1.60% Note:VaccinedataasaccessedfromCovid19india.org; otherfiguresbasedondataavailable fromstatesuntilpresstime;deathsincludethosecausedbycomorbidities. Decision on lockdown likely after cabinet meet on April 14: Tope EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE MUMBAI, APRIL 11 ON A day Maharashtra reported over 63,000 new coronavirus cases in its highest ever singledaysurgealongwith349deaths, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Sunday said that a formal decision on imposition of a lockdown in Maharashtra is likely to be taken by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray afteracabinetmeetingonApril14. Tope was speaking after a two-hour meeting that Thackeray had with the State Health Minister Rajesh Tope Covid Task Force comprising senior doctors, in which various modalities of ramping up the state'shealthcaresystemtocater totherisingCovid-19caseswere discussed. During the meeting, the CM said that the present citation called for tougher restrictions to control the spread of infection. The state government has also decided that in order to tide over the shortage of Remdesivir, procurement of the drug could bedonebyprivatehospitalsonly through the district collector. On the second day of its weekend lockdown, Maharashtra registered 63,294 cases, a steepjumpoverthe55,411cases registered on Sunday. Its active case load stands at 5.65 lakh and it is the worst-hit among all states in the country. "In the next two days there will be a discussion with the Finance Department and other CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 In Gujarat, patients line up, BJP’s remdesivir stocks get a political twist EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE GANDHINAGAR, NEW DELHI, MUMBAI, APRIL 11 THE BJP on Sunday defended its Gujarat unit chief C R Paatil followingoppositioncriticismover the free distribution of remdesivir,anantiviraldrugusedinthe treatmentof Covid,whichissold on prescription and is currently in short supply. Queues for the drug were seen outside both Zydus hospitals — which renewed its sale with stricter conditions — and the BJP office in Navsari, where the party distributed it for free for the second day. In a video statement issued on Sunday, the Gujarat BJP mediaconvenerYagneshDavesaid: “BJP started providing remdesivir injections in Surat free of cost...with cooperation of local traders. As per the instructions of our president C R Paatil, local traders bought (the drug) in whichever available quantity on theirown,fromGujaratandoutside... Cases (of Covid-19) have started increasing in Surat, so to CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 PIL IN GUJARAT HC ON COVID ‘HEALTH EMERGENCY’ PAGE 7 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Covid doctor heckled by MP Congmen, quits IRAM SIDDIQUE BHOPAL, APRIL 11 THENODALofficerforCovidcare at a top government hospital in Bhopal submitted his resignation after he was heckled by a group led by Congress MLA and formerministerPCSharmaover the death of a 35-year-old man inthefacility'semergencyroom. The incident on Saturday was captured on video by a doc- PAGE 1 ANCHOR tor on duty at J P Hospital, who shared the clip online, prompting a backlash on social media and a tweet from Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan appealing for people to respect those at the forefront of the fight against Covid. However, the family of the deceased said the video did not show the full picture and that theywererepeatedlytoldtotake him away to a private hospital as CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 tributes. “Mamata Banerjee had paid KOLKATA, APRIL 11 tributes to four persons who were killed in the CISF firing but THEDAYafterfourpersonswere did not condole the death of killed when CISF personnel Anand Barman as he is from the opened fired at a mob that tried Rajbongshi community and is to snatch their not suited for her vote weapons outside a bank. It is very unfortupolling station in West nate to see appeaseBengal's Cooch Behar, a ment politics even in war of words broke out case of deaths. This is Sunday between the not Bengal's culture,” BJP and the ruling TMC DECISION Shah said. with Union Home The BJP's state chief 2021 Minister Amit Shah Dilip Ghosh described WEST blaming Mamata those who were killed BENGAL Banerjee's provocative intheCISFfiringas“dustu comments for the attack on cen- chelera (bad boys)” and said tralforcesandtheChief Minister there will be similar incidents if describing the incident as a they do not behave. “genocide”. Addressing a press confer“Mamata Banerjee had ad- ence in Siliguri, Banerjee said: vised the people to gherao cen- “This is nothing but genocide... If tral forces. Is thisnot responsible CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 for the deaths in Sitalkuchi? Her advicehadinstigated the people THE EDITORIAL PAGE to attack the CISF,” Shah said. Referring to a fifth death on Saturday, in a separate incident, Shah accused Banerjee of indulging in “appeasement poli- PAGE 10 tics” by being selective in paying EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE Day after Bihar cop killed in Bengal, his mother dies EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE PATNA, APRIL 11 BARRY O’FARRELL AUSTRALIA’S HIGH COMMISSIONER TO INDIA PAGE 8 THE MOTHER of the Kishanganj policeman who was lynched by a mob in West Bengal, died early Sunday morning, police said. Ashwini Kumar, 52, Station House Officer of Kishanganj police station in Bihar, was on Saturday lynched in Pantapara villageinBengal’sUttarDinajpur district, where he had gone with a team of eight policemen and two informers to look for a gang of alleged motorcycle thieves who operated in Bihar. On Sunday, the West Bengal police arrested two more persons in connection with the murder, taking the total arrests to five. Prime accused Firoz Alam, at whose house Kumar was attacked, had been arrested earlier along with his mother and one other person. Kishanganj SP Kumar Ashish said that on Sunday, Kumar’s CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 THE WORLD VACCINE EFFICACY LOW, ADMITS TOP CHINA OFFICIAL BLACKOUT STRIKES IRAN’S NATANZ NUCLEAR SITE PAGE 12 THEONUSOFCALM IN BENGAL BJP supporters hold up their smartphones at a public meeting in South 24 parganas. Partha Paul Phone screen is rally ground in Bengal: PM clip to Didi foot RAVIK BHATTACHARYA & AMITAVA CHAKRABORTY COOCH BEHAR, APRIL 11 ONCE UPON a time, Dipak Das was the admin of 1,124 WhatsApp groups. That was during the Lok Sabha elections in 2019. Today, in the middle of Assembly polls in West Bengal, the BJP’s social media convenor in Cooch Behar is the admin of 2,209 groups and a member of 3,500 in all. On Saturday, Das pushed a video of the CISF firing at an angry mob outside a polling booth inSitalkuchithatledtothedeaths of four people identified as TMC supporters. That was just a nuggetfromthedatadelugethat has made the smartphone the rally ground, the home visit, the campaign booth, all rolled into one — much larger in size and scale than ever before; generating and fuelling its own content, not reliant on traditional media. Over two days last week, in the run-up to voting in Cooch BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY Behar for the fourth phase, The Indian Express tracked the smartphones of several BJP and TMC workers to know what’s streaming. It found a surge of videos, messages and “news items” — some spin, some splice and a lot of slant to suit the narrative. First, the BJP, which is in the middle of a no-holds-barred bid to capture power in the state. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 For her dream, MBBS student fights her cerebral palsy and a system ANANTHAKRISHNAN G & SHAJU PHILIP NEW DELHI, THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, APRIL 11 SHE WAS born with Spastic Cerebral Palsy, a disorder caused by brain damage. Fifty-two days after her birth, she lost her mother. And with her father, a daily wage labourer in Kerala's Malappuram,strugglingtomake bothendsmeets,lifedidn’t leave AswathyPwithmuchof achoice — except to fight back. In 2020, she secured rank 3,44,859 in the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) but was denied admissiontothestate-runmedicalcollege in Manjeri under a special quota since her right arm “is involved in her disability” making herineligibleformedicalcourses. The 20-year-old didn't give up. She took her case to the Kerala High Court, which ruled in her favour. It got a separate medical examination conducted and said: She “is a person who can climb stairs with railing, though she has only minimum ability to run or jump and she has difficulty in moving with uneven surfaces. She is also a person who is able to handle most objects with somewhat reduced quality and/or speed of achievement.” Today, Aswathy is a first-year MBBSstudentinManjericollege, thankstoaninterimorderbythe HighCourtonDecember7,2020, which was made absolute on January 25 this year following the medical examination. “Classes began on February 8,” she says. Butthenextchallengelooms. The National Medical Commission (NMC) has approached the Supreme Court Aswathy is now a first-year MBBS student against the High Court order stating that the “legal issues involved...is of general and public importance,andwillhaveanimpact in a large number of cases everyacademicyearthroughout the country”. Aswathy says she will fight this, too. “I have been nurturing a dream since childhood of becomingadoctor.Istartedregular schooling from Class 3 at the age of 10...treatment consumed much of my childhood. But the several years I spent in hospital made me emotionally attached to the medical world. What will anyone gain by spoiling my dream and playing with my life?” she asks. “All the way in my life, I have been fighting for justice. The medical boards always discouraged me. But I am going ahead only because of my determination. On every occasion in life, I have had to prove before others that I can study,’’ she says. AccordingtoMedicalCouncil of IndiaRegulationsonGraduate Medical Education 1997, five per cent seats of the annual sanctionedintakecapacityingovernmentandgovernment-aidedinstitutions shall be filled by candidates with not less than 40 per cent of a specified disability undertheRightsof Personswith Disabilities Act 2016, based on NEET rank. For Cerebral Palsy, the Act providesadmissionif thedisability is not more than 80 per cent. And initially, Aswathy was provisionally allotted a seat at the Manjeri college in the second round of allotment in the allIndia quota. She also had a certificatefromadesignatedcentre, stating that she is suffering from Spastic Cerebral Palsy Triplegia (spastic movements in three limbs) and that her disability is 63.3 per cent. But then, she was denied admission because the certificate also stated that her right upper limb “is involved in her disability”. Arguing for Aswathy in the High Court, Senior Advocate Kaleeswaram Raj pointed out that she is eligible for admission asherdisabilityiswellbelowthe 80 per cent cut-off. Following its interim ruling in Aswathy's favour, the High Court ordered a medical examination to know “as to whether” her “disability of Triplegia is independent of cerebral palsy” 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.