DAILY FROM: AHMEDABAD, CHANDIGARH, DELHI, JAIPUR, KOLKATA, LUCKNOW, MUMBAI, NAGPUR, PUNE, VADODARA JOURNALISM OF COURAGE SATURDAY, MAY 22, 2021, NEW DELHI, LATE CITY, 16 PAGES `6.00 (`8 BIHAR & RAIPUR, `12 SRINAGAR) WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 SHOPPING FOR SHOTS THE EDITORIAL PAGE Jaishankar in US next week on vaccine mission for India and neighbours BY BHASKAR CHAKRAVORTI PAGE 10 WORLD Minister will meet UN chief, US Secy of State Blinken, and business forums MEDIATED BY EGYPT, ISRAEL AND HAMAS BEGIN TENSE TRUCE NEPAL’S OPPOSITION WILL STAKE CLAIM UNDER EX-PM DEUBA SHUBHAJIT ROY NEW DELHI, MAY 21 PAGE 14 Police kill 13 WAITING IN LINE Maoists in Gadchiroli, Twitter marks BJP leader’s post In bad shape, 7 of them are women on Cong ‘toolkit’ manipulated; IT Stan Swamy, 84, seeks bail GADCHIROLI DISTRICT Ministry steps in, calls it biased to go home People wait to receive a dose of Covid-19 vaccine at Moti Lal Nehru Medical College in Prayagraj on Friday. PTI LIZ MATHEW, AASHISH ARYAN & MANOJ C G NEW DELHI, MAY 21 Boria-Kasnasur Kotmi in Etapalli tehsil Gadchiroli VIVEK DESHPANDE NAGPUR, MAY 21 IN A major anti-Naxal operation, Gadchiroli police Friday gunned down 13 Maoist cadres, including seven women, in the forests of Kotmi in Etapalli tehsil of the district. The early-morning encounter, lasting about 90 minutes, was its second-biggest against Naxals, Gadchiroli police said, after a 2018 shootout in which 41 cadres were killed. Gadchiroli Additional Superintendentof PoliceManish Kalwania said the encounter happened while elite C60 commandopartieswereoncombing and search operations in the forests, 15 km north of Kotmi. “It started around 6.30 am when Naxals, who were probably on the move in a group of about 6070, started firing from a hilltop. Four C60 commando parties comprising over 100 men retaliated, killing 13 Naxals,” he said. Kalwaniasaidallthedeceased Naxals had been identified with CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 THEMINISTRYof Electronicsand Information Technology (MeitY) haswrittentoTwitterobjectingto ittaggingsomeof thepostsonan allegedCongress“toolkit”against theModigovernment,as“manipulated media”. In a letter seeking thatthetagberemoved,theministryhassaidthemovebyTwitter appears “prejudged”, “prejudiced”, and “arbitrary”. Among those whose posts was tagged is BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra. TheBJPitself isyettoofficially respondtoTwitter,althoughleaderscomplainedthattheplatform was “biased” against the party. TheCongresssaidthetagging had “vindicated” its stand that the “toolkit” allegations were a forgery and fraud by the BJP. Sources said that in its letter, the IT Ministry said Twitter had “unilaterally drawn a conclusion inthismatter”andhad“arbitrarily tagged” tweets and their content as “manipulated media”. “SuchtaggingbyTwitterappears prejudged, prejudiced and a deliberate attempt to colour the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Tarun Tejpal acquitted in sexual assault case, Goa says will appeal EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE MAPUSA, MAY 21 A DISTRICT and Sessions Court in Mapusa Friday acquitted Tarun Tejpal (58), former editorin-chief of Tehelka, of charges of sexually assaulting a then colleague in the elevator of a fivestar hotel in 2013. The detailed order is awaited. Tejpal was acquitted of all charges, including under IPC Sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement), 354 (assault or criminal force with intent to outrage modesty), 354A (sexual harassment), 354B (assault or use of criminal force on woman with intenttodisrobe),376(2)(f)(person in position of authority over women, committing rape) and Tejpal speaks to reporters after the verdict on Friday. ANI 376(2)(k) (rape by person in position of control). Arrested on November 30, 2013, Tejpal got bail in July 2014. Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said his government, which had filed a case following surfacing of the allegations, would challenge the decision in the High Court. “This is injustice meted out to a woman. In Goa, CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 May possibly die very shortly, Fr Swamy told court SADAF MODAK MUMBAI, MAY 21 FATHER STAN Swamy, the 84year old Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist arrested in the ElgarParishadcase,submittedto the Bombay High Court Friday that his condition has seen a steady regression since he was jailed in October last year. Swamy refused the court’s suggestion to be shifted to staterun JJ Hospital stating he did not want to be hospitalised there and would “rather suffer” and “possibly die very shortly” if things were to go on as they were.Herequestedtobegranted interim bail and allowed to go to his home in Ranchi. Swamywasproducedbefore the division bench of Justice S J Kathawalla and Justice S P Tavade through video-conference from Taloja central jail where he has been lodged in the hospital ward since his admission.Swamyhasapproachedthe High Court seeking interim bail after the special NIA court rejected his plea made on grounds including his health and the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 FACED WITH a massive shortage of vaccines in a raging second wave of the Covid-19 epidemic, the Government is sending ExternalAffairsMinisterSJaishankar to the US next week to meet topofficialsandvaccinemanufacturers to firm up deals for supply. President Joe Biden announced five days ago that the US will begin shipping 20 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech,Modernaand Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-vaccinestoneedycountriesbyJuneend, in addition to 60 million shots of AstraZeneca. There is no clarity yet on the distribution details but India is likelytobeoneof thebeneficiaries.AstraZeneca’svaccine,which is being manufactured and distributed in India as Covishield, has not yet been authorised for use in the US with several irregularitiescomingtotheforeatthe Baltimoreplantwhereitismade along with the J&J vaccines. SourcestoldTheIndianExpress that Jaishankar’s mission, during his visit from May 24-28, will be In US from May 24-28. Archive to “persuade the US to send as manyvaccinesaspossibletoIndia and its neighbours”. Recently, Bangladesh Foreign Minister A K AbdulMomenhadreachedoutto Jaishankar for lobbying with the USinthisregard.Nepal,SriLanka andMaldiveshavealsobeenasking for vaccines. Inastatement,theMinistryof ExternalAffairssaid:“InNewYork, he(Jaishankar)isexpectedtomeet UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. In Washington DC, he will hold discussions with his counterpart US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. He will also be CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 NOT ENOUGH DOSES, YET GOVT OPENED JABS TO ALL: SERUM OFFICIAL PAGE 7 DINESH MOHAN 1945-2021 ROAD SAFETY EXPERT WHO PUT PEDESTRIANS FIRST PAGE 4 PAGE 1 ANCHOR MAY16.Itwasanormalnight.We had dinner and wanted to go out to the deck, but it was too windy. Despitethewarningsregarding Cyclone Tauktae, everyone onboard barge P305 was sure they would ride out the rough weather,consideringthevessel’s size and its eight strong anchors. The weather reports suggested waves could rise up to 9 metres, which later became 12, Varghese Sam Eralil was on board barge P305 when Cyclone Tauktae hit. Express and passports, wearing coveralls and ditching our heavy safety shoes, we went to the office. The newswasterrible:sixofoureight anchorshadsnapped,whichmeantthevesselwasprettyunstable. Our biggest fear was it swaying a little too much and hitting a rig platform around 200 metres away. A platform has a lot of CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 MORE REPORTS PAGE 8 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, MAY 21 THE SUPREME Court Friday stayed the May 17 order of the Allahabad HighCourt askingthe UP government to consider a series of Covid measures after the state contended that most of the directionswere“unrealistic”and “incapable of being performed in the timelines granted”. An apex court vacation bench of Justices Vineet Saran and B R Gavai said High Courts should consider the possibility of execution of their directions, and they may not be passed if they cannot be implemented. “The doctrine of impossibility is equallyapplicable tocourts,”the bench said. When the UP government pointed to suggestions in the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Vijayan defends dropping Shailaja: all-new Cabinet to ‘face future challenges’ Judges split on bail to TMC leaders, larger bench P 6 will decide LIZ MATHEW NEW DELHI, MAY 21 WITH THE historic return to power of the CPI(M)-led LDF in Kerala being overshadowed by theexclusionof KKShailajafrom thenewgovernmentafterheracclaimed performance as Health Minister amid the Covid crisis, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the decision to form an allnew Cabinet was long-pending but could not be implemented “due to various factors” — it has been done now considering the “conducive political situation”. “Thedrivingspiritbehindthis norm is to equip the party and theadministrationtofacefuture challenges,” Vijayan told The Indian Express in his first interview after taking oath of office. Stressing that it was not a recent decision, Vijayan said: “In fact, it was there for long. But we ATRI MITRA KOLKATA, MAY 21 THE EXPRESS INTERVIEW ‘AMONG GOVT’S PRIORITIES IS EASING WOMEN’S WORKLOAD’ PINARAYI VIJAYAN CHIEF MINISTER OF KERALA could not implement it totally due to various factors. This time, the party decided that this norm will be implemented without any exception considering various factors, including the conducive political situation. The CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ‘It was pitch dark, the lights on my lifejacket went Covid-hit economy to out... At that point, I thought I was going to die...’ receive ` 99,122 crore VARGHESE SAM ERALIL shot of RBI dividend and then 14. We could tell the wind was picking up. At some point, the barge started shaking, things fell off shelves, and snapping sounds came from thedeck. We felt the winds were cyclonic. But, ignoring all this, we decidedtogetsomesleepandwent inside our cabins. Two or three hours later, we wokeuptoloudinstructions,asking us to wear lifejackets and “be prepared”.Eventhen,wethought this was just a precaution. Carrying our phones, wallets Doctrine of impossibility: SC stay on Allahabad HC Covid order ENS ECONOMIC BUREAU MUMBAI, MAY 21 INDIA’S COVID-hit economy is expectedtogetaleg-upwiththe Reserve Bank of India (RBI) deciding to transfer a higher amountof Rs99,122croreassurplus to the Central government fortheaccountingperiodof nine months ended March 31, 2021. This is 73.5 per cent higher than Rs 57,128 crore transferred for the accounting year 2019-20. The RBI has changed the accounting year from 2020-21. Fromthecurrentfiscal, 2021-22, the financial year starts in April and ends in March. The transfer of Rs 99,122 crore for the fiscal ended March 2021 was approved by the RBI’s Central CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 WITH A two-judge bench of the Calcutta High Court differing on whether to vacate its stay on bail to four Trinamool leaders arrested in the Narada case, the court on Friday ordered that the leaders be held in house arrest. The court also announced a larger, five-judge bench would hear the matter. Triamool leaders Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee, Madan Mitra and Sovan Chatterjee have been in judicial custody since their arrest by the CBI on Monday in the Narada case. While the CBI special court had on Monday granted bail to the four leaders, hours later, a CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 E E X P L A I NE D A DIGITAL HISTORY OFCOVID IN INDIA Reliefto ● govtfisc THE HIGHER 73.5 per cent surplus transfer from to the Central government will help it this year, given the likelihood of revenue shortages. The real economy indicators are showing signs of moderation through April-May 2021 with several states imposing strict lockdowns to stem the second wave of Covid-19. Gandhian pioneer of Indian environmentalism, spirit behind Chipko ESHA ROY & LALMANI VERMA NEW DELHI, DEHRADUN, MAY 21 SUNDERLAL BAHUGUNA, the Gandhian who was the driving force behind the legendary Chipko movement against deforestation that marked a key milestone in Indian environmentalism, succumbed to Covid at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Rishikesh at 12.05 pm Friday. He was 94. Bahuguna was admitted to the hospital on May 8, and was onlifesupport.Astatementfrom AIIMS-Rishikesh said he had comorbidities, including diabetes and hypertension, and had contracted Covid pneumonia. Prime Minister Narendra Modi described Bahuguna’s demise as a “monumental loss” for the nation. “He manifested our centuries old ethos of living in harmony with nature. His simplicity and spirit of compassion will never be forgotten,” he posted on Twitter. President Ram Nath Kovind describedBahugunaas“alegend inhisownright”who“madeconservationapeople’smovement”. Born on January 9, 1927 in BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY SUNDERLAL BAHUGUNA 1 9 2 7-2 0 2 1 Maroda village in Tehri — now a district in Uttarakhand — Bahuguna’slifewasdedicatedtosocial causes, activism, and writing. He participatedintheIndependence movementandwassubsequently a part of Vinoba Bhave’s Sarvodaya movement. Over the decades, his name became closely associated with environmental issues — in particular, the Chipko movement and protests against the building of the Tehri dam from the 1980s to 2004. Bahuguna’s Gandhian methods of protest and hunger strikes against the dam defined the Tehri move- ment for over two decades. “After the Chipko movement in the 1970s, he gave the message across the globe that ecologyandecosystemaremoreimportant. He was of the opinion that ecology and economy should go together. He was also a follower of Gandhian values in food, attire, and behaviour and celebrated January 26 and August 15 as festivals. He observedafaston ShaheedDiwas,” Dehradun-based environmentalist Anil Prakash Joshi said. Joshi, who is a Padma Bhushan awardee, had worked closely with Bahuguna in his fi- nalyears.Bahugunahimself was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 2009. In 1981, he had refused to accept the Padma Shri over the government’s refusal to canceltheTehridamprojectdespite his protests. HistorianDr ShekharPathak, founder of People’s Association for Himalaya Area Research and author of the recently released The Chipko Movement — a People’s History, said he first met Bahuguna in 1974. Four years earlier, a flood along the Alakananda river had triggered discussions on mass tree-felling, 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.