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 THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2021, MUMBAI, LATE CITY, 16 PAGES `5.00, WWW.INDIANEXPRESS.COM SINCE 1932 CIA CHIEF BURNS TOO IN INDIA ` 95 per kilo ` 123 per kilo ` 152 per kilo ` 60 per Dozen Afghanistan, security on table as key US, Russian officials arrive in Delhi Russian NSA meets PM Modi, Doval; talks on need to coordinate for ‘enhancing regional stability’ SHUBHAJIT ROY Centre in SC: Women to be inducted into armed forces through NDA NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 8 THE EVOLVING situation in Afghanistan and its implications on regional security dominated the conversation at separate meetings that the top Indian leadership, including Prime MinisterNarendraModi,Foreign Minister S Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, held with visitingRussian NSA Nikolay Patrushev and CIA chief William J Burns. A Russian government statement said that following up on the telephone conversation between Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin on August24,an“exchangeof views took place on the military, political and socio-economic situation in Afghanistan” at Patrushev’s meetings on Wednesday. “The two sides reaffirmed their intention to strengthen coordinationinthefieldof enhanc- NSA Doval with his Russian counterpart Wednesday. PTI EXPLAINED PAGE 9 ing regional stability, including ontheAfghansituation,”saidthe statement. They discussed “deepeningbilateralcooperation in the field of security with an emphasis on further interaction on the anti-terrorist track, combatingillegalmigrationanddrug trafficking”. In contrast, Burns’ meetings with the top Indian leadership on Tuesday, especially in the security and strategic establishment on the situation in Afghanistan, was kept under EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 8 THE CENTRE told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that it had decided to induct women for permanent commission in the armed forces through the National Defence Academy (NDA). Conveying this to a bench headed by Justice S K Kaul, Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati sought status quo for the current year, saying it needs “policy changes, procedure,traininginfrastructureetc”. Earlier,thecourthadallowed women candidates to sit for the NDA exams from the current year. The bench, also comprising Justice M M Sundresh, said it would consider the plea for status quo this year “depending on what you are doing now, what is the proposal for the future, what still remains to be examined, what areas you are exploring”. “We will see if more nudging isrequiredorwearecomfortable with your pace. But we must have some timelines. We do hope that the defence forces E E X P L A I NE D CONTINUEDONPAGE2 Another step ● forward IN AN interim order last month, the Supreme Court allowed women candidates to sit for the NDA entrance exam, saying the “policy decision” to bar them was “based on gender discrimination”. This followed its February 2020 order to grant permanent commission to women Short Service Commission officers in the Army. SEPTEMBER 17 TO OCTOBER 7 BJP to roll out 3-week Happy Birthday PM booster shot for party and govt AftersecondwavedentedGovtimage, campaignaimedtogalvaniseparty, showcasePMas‘gareebon ka masiha’ RAVISH TIWARI NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 8 FROM 14 crore ration bags printed with his picture to 5 crore “Thank-you Modiji” postcards mailed from booths nationwide, from identifying 71 spots for clean-up in rivers to a high-voltage social media campaign showcasing vaccination videos and seminars on his life and work: these are among the key elements of a three-weeklong campaign the BJP will roll out to showcase Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Timed with his 71st birthday (September 17) and 20 years of his public life as an administra- tor (October 7, 2001, when he first became Gujarat CM), this unprecedented drive holds significance in the wake of the brutal second wave of the Covid pandemic. The death and distress, both in lives and livelihood, that touched countless homes is widely believed — even within the party — as having dented popular confidence in the Modi government. Since the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Modi has been the pivot — and face — of almost all major BJP political campaigns with all flagship social welfare schemes having carried his imprimatur. RATION BAGS TO VACCINE VIDEOS, SEMINARS TO RIVER CLEAN-UP ■ Thank-you videos of Central scheme beneficiaries ■ 5 crore ‘Thank You Modiji’ postcards to be mailed to PM from booths nationwide ■ Videos thanking Modi for Covid vaccination ■ Meetings, exhibitions on PM’s life and work ■ Registration drive for LIZ MATHEW NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 8 WITH UTTAR Pradesh and Punjab among states headed to Assembly polls early next year, the government and the ruling BJP have switched to election mode, deploying 13 Union ministers,includingsevenof Cabinet rank, for poll-related duties in children who lost parents to Covid and are covered under PM-CARES ■ Public mobilisation towards bidding for mementos received by PM CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 BJP in election mode: 13 ministers get poll duties, Pradhan is UP in-charge Was earlier in charge for polls in Bihar, other key states the states. In the list of names released by the BJP Wednesday, the most prominentwastheappointment BUSINESS AS USUAL BY UNNY CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 KARNAL (HARYANA), SEPTEMBER 8 With talks failing, by evening, the protesters began to pitch tents to prepare for an indefinite sit-in. Sukhbir Siwach WITH NO breakthrough in the talks held in Karnal Wednesday between the Haryana government and farm leaders protestingagainstthepolicecrackdown 11 days ago, leaders of Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) said they wouldcontinuetheirsiegeof the mini-Secretariat in the town. “The administration appears tobeworkingondirectionsfrom (state capital) Chandigarh. We are ready for the long haul,” said Rakesh Tikait, leader of Bhartiya KisanUnion(BKU).BKUHaryana chief Gurnam Singh Chaduni, too, said they would continue the siege. The key issue that led to the breakdownof talks,whichlasted three hours, was the demand for action against former SDM Ayush Sinha, according to SKM, which is the umbrella body of farmers’ unions that has been leading the movement against the Centre’s new farm laws over the last nine months. A video of Sinha asking police personnel to “break the heads” of those who made their waypastablockadehadgoneviral on August 28 when police lathicharged protesting farmers at a toll plaza in Bastara on the Chandigarh-Delhi highway near Karnal. Addressing a gathering after Wednesday’s talks, Swaraj India CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 11 faculty suspended, students rusticated, battlelines drawn on Visva-Bharati campus PAGE 1 ANCHOR SANTANU CHOWDHURY & RAVIK BHATTACHARYA KOLKATA, SEPTEMBER 8 OVER THE last fortnight, the Visva-Bharati University was again rocked by protests — this time, over the rustication of three students on August 23. WhiletheCalcuttaHighCourton Wednesday allowed them to rejoin classes, paving the way for return of normalcy, there have beenfrequentprotests—byboth teachers and students — since Vice-Chancellor Bidyut Chakraborty took charge in October 2018. Facultymemberspointtothe unusually high number of suspensions. Since November 2019, a 22 staff members – 11 faculty members, 11 non-teaching employees — have been suspended and over 150 showcause notices have been issued. Some of the suspended facultymemberssaidtheyfacedaction for various reasons includ- Besides faculty members, 11 non-teaching staff suspended in Team India dugout — as mentor for World T20 DEVENDRA PANDEY FORMER CAPTAIN M S DHONI will soon be back in the Team India dugout — this time, as a mentor for the T20 World Cup. The Indian Express has learnt that the BCCI’s announcement on Dhoni’s inclusion took some of its own office-bearers by surprise, and eventheselectors came to know about it just minutes before the press conference to announce the Surprise squad for the pick OctoberNovember tournament in the UAE. Sources said India’s dismal white-ball record in ICC events under captain Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri is one of the key factors behind the decision. The team has either fallen at the CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 of EducationMinisterDharmendra Pradhan, a veteran of many political battles, as the party incharge for elections in the key state of Uttar Pradesh. He will be assisted by Union ministers Anurag Singh Thakur, Arjun Ram Meghwal, Shobha Karandlaje,AnnapurnaDevi,former Haryana minister Captain Abhimanyu, Rajya Sabha MPs Talks fail over action against Karnal ex-SDM, siege continues SUKHBIR SIWACH Maharashtra beats its own record, vaccinates Dhoni is back 14.39 lakh people in a day CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 MUMBAI, SEPTEMBER 8 ■ 14 cr bags, each with PM picture, thanking him for 5 kg per person ration under PM Garib Kalyan Yojana ■ 71 spots (Modi turns 71) for river-cleaning wraps. Burns is learnt to have met Doval and top brass in the intelligence and security establishment. BothIndianandAmericanofficials were tight-lipped about thevisit,butseveralsourcesconfirmed his visit and agenda — to discuss the Afghanistan situation. He is expected to go to Pakistan as well. BurnshadvisitedAfghanistan last month to meet the Taliban leadership, including Mullah ing writing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi against alleged irregularities at the central university. Others alleged that they weresuspendedontrumped-up charges including negligence of duty and financial irregularities. Five have challenged their suspensions in court. While The Indian Express spoke to some of the suspended professors,bothV-CChakraborty andtheuniversity’sPRO,Anirban Sarkar,didnotrespondtocallsor text messages. “The university suspended CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE MUMBAI, PUNE, SEPTEMBER 8 MAHARASHTRAONWednesday surpassed its previous best tally of single-day vaccination by administering 14.39 lakh doses againstCovid-19tobeneficiaries. Mumbai, on Wednesday, administered 1.84 lakh doses, the highestforthecityinasingleday. Asmanyas13,1757or71percent of thetotalvaccineswereadministeredat322civicandstate-run vaccinationcentres.Theremaining52,532vaccineswereadministered at private hospitals. Withthis,thenumberof fully vaccinated people in Mumbai now stands at 29,45,437. At least 75 per cent of the adult population (72,80,431) have received one dose of the vaccine. Of the total fully vaccinated people in the city, 11.03 lakh are from the 45-59 age group and 7.37 lakh are in the 18-44 age group. In a bid to fully vaccinate more people in Mumbai, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation(BMC)plans to hold a special drive on Thursday for those eligible for a second dose. A similar drive was conducted on September 4, when civic-run CONTINUEDONPAGE2 Steady rise in cases in Mumbai & Pune cause for concern, warn experts ANURADHA MASCARENHAS PUNE, SEPTEMBER 8 WHILE THE Covid-19 numbers in Maharashtra have remained more or less stable in the last three weeks, a small but appreciable spike in cases in Mumbai, and a couple of other districts, has been enough to raise the scare of an impending “third wave”. Two days ago, state Energy Minister Nitin Raut said the “thirdwave”hadalreadyarrived inNagpur,afterthe city reported two consecutive days doubledigitincreaseinconfirmedcases. Nagpur had been reporting less than 10 cases since the start of August. On Tuesday, Mayor Kishori Pednekar made a similar statement about Mumbai, probably with a little more justification. Therehasbeenanoticeable CONTINUEDONPAGE2
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