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tuesday, march 21, 2017

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HC calls Supriyo’s remarks against Mahua Moitra ‘deplorable’

Venkaiah says RSS not behind choice of Yogi Adityanath as U.P. CM

Nawaz Sharif orders reopening of Pakistan border with Afghanistan

Gritty Handscomb and Marsh put paid to India’s hopes

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C o i m b ator e


B en g a lu ru


Hy d e r a b a d




N o i da


V i s a k h a patn a m


T h i ru va na nt h a p u r a m


Ko c h i


V i j ayawada


M a n g a lu ru


T i ru c h i r a pa l l i


Ko l k ata

Vodafone, Idea merge to create giant


$23 bn. telecom irm will be led by Kumar Mangalam Birla; will have a consumer market share of 35% Mumbai


Two days after taking oath, the new Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Trivendra Rawat, on Monday, emphasised that his government was “committed” to cow protection in the State. NEWS 쑺 PAGE 11 DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

Farooq Abdullah iles nomination SRINAGAR

NC president Farooq Abdullah, who on Monday iled his nomination papers for the Srinagar seat which is gong to the polls on April 9, called for stopping “the fast spreading ire of communalism ”. NORTH

쑺 PAGE 2


Gopal Ansal surrenders in Uphaar case NEW DELHI

Gopal Ansal surrendered on Monday before Tihar Jail authorities to undergo oneyear jail term in the 1997 Uphaar ire tragedy case. DELHI METRO 쑺 PAGE 1 DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD


Idea Cellular, the Kumar Mangalam Birla-led telecommunications major, agreed on Monday to merge with the Indian unit of the U.K.headquartered Vodafone Plc, making it a $23 billion giant. The merged entity becomes India’s largest mobile telephony and data service provider with 39.25 crore customers, ahead of the current market leader Airtel, which has a 26.44 crore user base. Both figures are provided by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

Brand strategy A joint statement issued by Vodafone and Idea said the combined company would have a 35% customer market share and 41% revenue market share. It said the brand strategy for the new firm “will be developed in due course” and “will leverage customers’ affinity for both existing brands, built up over the past decade.” Kumar Mangalam Birla will be the chairperson of the merged entity. The move, though not surprising, has stoked rumours that the current tariff war, initiated by the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio’s entry into the high-speed data market in 2016, will possibly come to an end in the near future. Rajan Mathews, directorgeneral of the Cellular Operators Association of India, said, “There is currently a


Nestling touch






tariff war in the market which may not be sustainable for long. This has also severely impacted the revenue stream of operators, not just in terms of an increase in cost but also in terms of a marked decline in the revenue stream. All these have put the financial condition of this industry at risk and increased the debt to ₹4.3 lakh crore, also leading to a severe decline in government revenues from the industry.” He said that in contrast to 13 operators a few years ago,

the Indian mobile telecom market is down to “four or five operators.” “Due to the poor financial health of the sector, we are witnessing mergers, acquisitions and combinations of companies like Idea and Vodafone, Aircel and R Comm and MTS. Other companies such as Videocon and Etisalat have already left the industry because of this hyper-competitive pressure,” he added. Investment experts said the largest consolidation in the highly competitive Indian telecommunications

Green nod for Neutrino project suspended Chennai

Shiv Sahay Singh Kolkata

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led combination won the confidence vote in the Manipur Assembly with a voice vote on Monday. Prior to the floor test, BJP

legislator Yumnam Khemchand Singh was elected as Speaker. A Congress demand for voting through secret ballot was rejected by the Speaker. CONTINUED ON 쑺 PAGE 10



Shubashree Desikan T.K.Rohit

BJP-led govt. wins trust vote in Manipur


Filling HC vacancies on war footing: Khehar

space will test the ability of both Vodafone and Idea to operate the combined entity as equal partners. S.P. Tulsian, a leading investment adviser, told The Hindu, on Monday that even as the companies claim it is a “merger of equals,” Idea will have to buy 4.9% stake in Vodafone for ₹3,900 crore ($579 million) in cash when the merger completes, to increase the Aditya Birla Group stake to 26%. “Besides, the company will have to spend another ₹9,000 crore to bring its

stake at par with Vodafone in the combined entity. So, it’s not a merger of equals.” In a statement on Monday, Aditya Birla Group chairperson Kumar Mangalam Birla said, “For Idea shareholders and lenders who have supported us thus far, this transaction is highly accretive, and Idea and Vodafone will together create a very valuable company given our complementary strengths.” CONTINUED ON 쑺 PAGE 10 ‘DEAL SHOWS OUR COMMITMENT’ 쑺 PAGE 13

Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar said on Monday that the filling of judicial vacancies in the High Courts is progressing on a war footing. Heading a three-judge Bench, the Chief Justice, however, said there was no move to increase the number of posts of High Court judges till all the existing judicial vacancies were filled. The sanctioned strength of judges across the 24 High Courts is 1,079. “We know that the strength has come down to half. But we are progressively filling all the vacancies,” he said. The Chief Justice, for the first time, confirmed in open court that the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) for the appointment of judges has been cleared by the Supreme Court Collegium. The draft memorandum had been hanging fire for over the past year following the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) judgment in October 2015, which had quashed constitutional amendments giving the political class an equal role in the appointment of judges to the higher judiciary. Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi submitted that the government has received the finalised MoP from the Collegium.

The Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal on Monday suspended the Environmental Clearance (EC) granted to the India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) that was to come up in Theni and asked the project proponent to make a fresh application. During the arguments, the Tribunal was informed that the Madhikettan Shola National Park in Idukki district of Kerala was just about 4.9 km from the proposed project site and the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border was just a kilometre away, making it a Category ‘A’ project.

New facts The Bench comprising Justice P. Jyothimani and expert member P.S. Rao said: “In the light of new facts that have come to light during the arguments, it will be appropriate for us to keep

J.S. Khehar

Discussions on the MoP had, till recently, centred around the controversial clause of national security, with the government proposing that it wanted to retain the power to veto a judicial name recommended by the Supreme Court Collegium if the person was found to be a national threat.

Right to reiterate name However, according to sources, the Collegium has reserved the right to reiterate a judicial name in case it is not satisfied with the government’s reasons for vetoing it. Disposing of a petition seeking to increase the number of judges to tide over the alarming pendency in subordinate courts and HCs, the Bench said that though there was “a large number of vacancies at various HCs, a rigorous process for filling the same is in place.” CONTINUED ON 쑺 PAGE 10

Sui clerics say fake news led to detention ‘Urdu daily linked us to Indian intelligence, MQM movement in Pakistan’ Sajid said the paper published a couple of reports, the second time in the March 19 edition with Mr. Nazim’s picture on it. “The report linked them to Indian Intelligence and the MQM movement in Pakistan. Our family had nothing to do with either,” Mr. Sajid Nizami said.

Shubhomoy Sikdar NEW DELHI



Krishnadas Rajagopal

Fresh approval is needed, says NGT

Dwindling numbers: A sparrow on a building in Bhubaneswar. World Sparrow Day is observed to raise awareness of threats faced by them. BISWARANJAN ROUT (REPORT ON PAGE 6)


‘Memorandum of Procedure cleared by the Supreme Court Collegium’

Piyush Pandey

Uttarakhand CM stresses cow welfare


the EC in abeyance.” The MoEF had called it a Category ‘B’ project, for which an Environmental Impact Assessment is not necessary, but the department processed it as an additional measure, a source said. However, under the guidelines laid down by the Ministry, any project that falls within 5 km from an inter-State boundary or within a notified national park or a sanctuary has to be considered a Category ‘A’ project that involves a number of processes before an EC is granted, the source said. Since it was near a national park, the INO was also asked to get clearance from the National Board for Wildlife. Taking into account these new facts, the Bench disposed of the petition and asked the INO to make a fresh application.

Two clerics from the Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah here returned from Pakistan on Monday after they went untraceable in the neighbouring country last week. They said they were questioned by Pakistani authorities on the basis of a “false” newspaper report. A few hours after their return, Syed Asif Ali Nizami, the head priest of the shrine, and his nephew Nazim Ali Nizami, met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. Mr. Nazim Nizami spoke to the media, but was cautious about divulging the details about how they spent the days between March 15, when the family last heard from them, and March 19, when they were let off.


Jaipur hotel sealed after beef rumours

A week in Karachi “After spending nearly a week in Karachi, we went to Lahore on March 13 by air,

Big relief: Minister Sushma Swaraj with Syed Asif Nizami (right), and Nazim Ali Nizami in New Delhi. SHANKER CHAKRAVARTY *

after which we reached Pakpattan by road to a shrine and then returned to Lahore to offer prayers at Data Durbar. After attending a few functions, we went back to Karachi and now here we are,” Mr. Nazim Nizami said.

Asked why they remained incommunicado, the cleric blamed a Pakistani newspaper, Ummat, for publishing a news report. He said they were asked about their visa and other immigration details. Mr. Asif Ali Nizami’s son

No comment The family chose not to comment on whether the clerics were questioned by Inter Services Intelligence or any other agency as they were not aware. They alleged that the paper was linked to hardliner group Jamat E Islami in Pakistan. The added that no force or coercion was used and thanked India’s External Affairs Ministry and Pakistan government both for acting swiftly and ensuring their safe return to their own country.


Ganga, Yamuna termed ‘living persons’ Uttarakhand HC names oicials to act as parents for the rivers and tributaries added. The two rivers, which are sacred for the Hindus, sustain millions of people in the country.

Kavita Upadhyay Dehradun

In a first in the country, the Uttarakhand High Court, on Monday, declared that the rivers Ganga and Yamuna were “living persons.” On March 15, New Zealand river Whanganui became the first in the world to be granted a legal human status.

Order on PIL plea Five days later, the Division Bench comprising Justice Alok Singh and Justice Rajiv Sharma, while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition filed by one Mohammad Salim in 2014, gave a landmark judgment stating that the Ganga and the Yamuna must be treated as living entities. CM YK

“…to protect the recognition and the faith of society, rivers Ganga and Yamuna are required to be declared as legal persons [or] living persons,” stated the court order. “The Ganga and [the] Yamuna, all their tributaries,

streams… are declared as juristic [or] legal persons [or] living entities having the status of a legal person with all corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person in order to preserve and conserve river Ganga and Yamuna,” it

In a state of neglect However, they have been in a state of neglect and even though several government initiatives, including the Centre’s Namami Gange programme, are aimed at restoring their health, not much has been achieved yet. The court ordered that the Director of the Namami Gange programme, the Uttarakhand Chief Secretary, and the Advocate-General of Uttarakhand would serve as “parents” for the rivers and would be the human faces to “protect, conserve and preserve” the rivers and their tributaries.

Cow protection group thrashes hotel staf in lobby and on the road


panied by Ward Councillor Nirmala Sharma, also reached the venue and sealed the hotel after asking all the guests staying there to leave. Mr. Rabbani told The Hindu from an undisclosed location that the police were putting pressure on him to surrender. “The charge of beef cooking is bogus. We do not offer any such dish to our customers,” he said, adding that he was not in the hotel when the cow vigilante activists stormed into it.

ued for six hours with the protesters raising slogans such as Jai Sri Ram, Bharat Mata Ki Jai and Narendra Modi Zindabad. The police arrived at the scene and arrested receptionist Wasim Ahmed and cleaner Qasim under Section 151 (preventive detention) of CrPC. Officers of the Jaipur Municipal Corpration, accom-

Delegation meets police A delegation of Muslim groups, which met Police Commissioner Sanjay Agarwal during the day with the demand for a fair probe, was preparing a complaint to be lodged at Sindhi Camp police station seeking registration of a case against the Gau Rakshank Seve Mandal activists.

Mohammed Iqbal JAIPUR

After the cow vigilante groups swooped on a hotel here alleging that it was cooking and serving beef, the municipal authorities sealed the place and the police arrested two of its staff members. Activists of a women’s Gau Raksha group, led by a Sadhvi, allegedly thrashed the hotel staff in its lobby and outside on the road. Police were looking for Naeem Rabbani, owner of Hotel Hayat Rabbani, after registering a case against him under Section 295-A (act intended to outrage religious feelings) of Indian Penal Code on Monday. The Rashtriya Mahila Gau Rakshak Sewa Mandal activists laid a siege to the hotel with the pledge to not let it function. Trouble started on Sunday evening when Seva

Crackdown: An oicial seals the hotel. Mandal’s self-styled president Sadhvi Kamal Didi caught a cleaner boy from the hotel throwing some garbage at a vacant plot situated nearby. A huge crowd gathered on the spot alleging that the garbage had beef pieces and demanded that Mr. Rabbani come out and hand himself over to them. The high drama contin-











Tuesday, March 21

RISE 06:24 SET 18:33 RISE 01:20 SET 12:14

NC, Cong hope to stop BJP tide in LS by-elections

Wednesday, March 22

RISE 06:23 SET 18:33 RISE 02:08 SET 13:04 Thursday, March 23

Former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah calls for stopping the fast spreading ire of communalism and polarisation, iles nomination Peerzada Ashiq

RISE 06:22 SET 18:34 RISE 02:55 SET 13:58


Time to take farmers along: Solanki SURAJKUND

Haryana Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki on Monday said the progress of the country lies in the progress of farmers and to realise the concept of a ‘New India’ we have to take them along. - PTI

Man held for allegedly raping minor niece KOTA

A 45-year-old man was arrested on Monday for allegedly raping his minor niece in Baran district of Rajasthan. - PTI


The upcoming Lok Sabha byelections to the Srinagar and Anantnag Lok Sabha constituencies will see a contest between the National Conference-Congress alliance and the Peoples Democratic Party over the Bharatiya Janata Party’s growing regional aspirations. NC president Dr. Farooq Abdullah, who on Monday filed his nomination papers for the Srinagar seat which is gong to the polls on April 9, called for stopping “the fast spreading fire of communalism and polarisation”. Terming the PDP “an affiliate of the RSS”, Dr. Abdullah said: “It will engulf our values and rob us of our rights, our sense of dignity and our special constitutional status. Unity against these forces is the need of the hour.” The NC has already taken pot shots at the PDP over the appointment of Yogi Adityanath as the UP chief minister. "Congratulations Mehbooba Mufti. Your friends & allies have chosen a man who called for the dead bodies of Muslim women to be raped as CM." NC’s prospectus in Srinagar received a shot in the arm when PDP rebel leader and former Member of Parliament Tariq Hameed Karra joined his party. In the 2014 parliamentary polls, Mr. Karra, then a PDP candidate, defeated Dr. Abdullah with over 40,000 votes, a first ever defeat faced by the NC president. Unhappy with the PDP’s

Newbie: PDP candidate for the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat and Chief Minister Mehooba Mufti’s brother Mufti Tassaduq (in glasses) meets voters. FILE PHOTO *

alliance with the BJP, Mr. Karra evoked Islam to seek votes for the NC. “It’s jehad to defeat the PDP-BJP.” Heavy-weight Dr. Abdullah is pitted against PDP’s recent-entrant Nazir Khan, a former Congress leader who gave a close fight to the NC working president Omar Abdullah in the Beerwah Assembly constituency. Fifteen Assembly segments of the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency will vote this time. Of the 15, seven Assembly seats have NC MLAs, while eight have PDP MLAs. In the restive south Kashmir’s Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency, it’s first-timer Tassaduq Mufti, son of PDP patron Mufti Muhammad

Sayeed, versus J&K Pradesh Congress Committee chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir, who is a joint candidate of the NCCongress alliance. The civilian killings and injuries to over 15,000 other during the five-month unrest in 2016 is weighing heavy over the polls in south Kashmir.

Mufti bastion The Congress hopes that the growing anger and alienation, triggered by the 2016 unrest in the wake of militant commander Burhan Wani’s killing, will turn into an antiPDP vote in otherwise a Muftis bastion. “There have been killings before 2016 too. If one traces the history of unrest in Kash-

mir, it goes as far as 1953. Our poll plank remains implementation of the Agenda of Alliance (AoA), which talks about peace with Pakistan and talks with all stakeholders including the Hurriyat,” PDP spokesman Mehboob Beg told The Hindu. The Congress has made its plan clear too. “Both parties, the NC and the Congress, have come together to defeat the RSS and the BJP. It’s not for power but a sincere effort to stop the march of communalism and bigotry from entering Kashmir,” said Mr. Mir. As a highly volatile south Kashmir is going to the polls on April 12, all parties have maintained a low-key public campaign so far. Mr. Tas-

Veteran: National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah and State Congress chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir at a joint election rally in Srinagar on Monday. NISSAR AHMAD *

saduq, a Bollywood cinematographer who worked in movies likeOmkara and Kameenay, recently asked his party workers “not to risk lives for his win”. Mr. Tassaduq, in his recent interviews, refused to talk about the larger political question of Kashmir and restricted himself to working for an “internal change” on the front of ecology, development and tourism. “I will fight for truthfulness,” said Mr. Tassaduq, whose prospects largely depend on the political capital earned by his father rather than his own image. It remains to be seen if that political capital has taken a dent in the wake of the PDP’s alliance with the BJP since 2015.

H.P. Cong changes by-poll candidate Promila Devi replaces Prem Kaushal Staff Correspondent Shimla

In a last-minute rethink, the State Congress on Monday changed its candidate for the Bhoranj Assembly seat. The party has now fielded Promila Devi from the seat instead of Prem Kaushal, who was about to fill his nomination papers. Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said he did not know the reason behind the move. Mr. Kaushal was considered very close to the Chief Minister. The bypoll in Bhoranj was necessitated after the death of former BJP Minister and senior MLA Ishwar Dass Dhiman. The State BJP has made his son Anil Dhiman, a physician, as the party nominee from Bhoranj. Leader of Opposition Prem Kumar Dhumal and State BJP president Satpal Satti accompanied Mr. Dhiman on Monday to file his papers for poll scheduled for April 9.

Discontent hits Congress Meanwhile, reacting to MLA Balbir Verma’s switchover from the Congress to the BJP, the Chief Minister said he “is not concerned about who is going where”. He claimed that his party had better candidates in the Chopal constituency of anterior Shimla district than Mr. Verma. It is believed that Mr.

Verma, who was an associate member of the Congress in the Vidhan Sabha, left the party over the Chief Minister’s decision to make Dharamsala as another capital of Himachal Pradesh. The State BJP has maintained that the Chief Minister’s move to undermine the importance of Shimlaas the capital town has annoyed many senior Congress leaders and that there might be more switchovers over the issue.

Bone of contention Dharamsala is the headquarter of the Kangra district, which has the maximum number of Vidhan Sabha seats. The Chief Minister had earlier shifted the Winter Session of the Vidhan Sabha from Shimla to Dharamsala. The smart city project was also given to Dharamsala, despite the latter not fulfilling the required conditions, said a BJP spokesperson. He added that the government, which is reeling under a debt of ₹42,000 crore and is not being able to pay the salaries of its employees, was bent upon making another capital. There is also confusion among the government employees over the probable shifting of their offices from the main capital to Dharamsala.

Punjab govt cancels tenders Press Trust of India Chandigarh

The Punjab government on Monday cancelled all labour and transportation tenders issued during the erstwhile SAD-BJP rule for the upcoming wheat procurement season. Fresh tenders have been invited, and Deputy Commissioners have been directed to personally supervise the procurement process that starts on April 1, an official spokesperson said here. In a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh it was decided that fresh tenders can be submitted by March 24. These will be opened the next day by District Tender Allotment Committees, the spokesperson said. The entire tendering process will be completed by March 31, before the procurement season starts.

Re-tendering In case re-tendering is required, the entire process shall be finalised by the committees by March 31, the spokesperson said. During the meeting held at the Punjab Bhawan here, the Chief Minister directed DCs to put in place a viable mechanism to ensure smooth and hassle—free procurement of wheat—crop.

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Published by N. Ram at Kasturi Buildings, 859 & 860, Anna Salai, Chennai-600002 and Printed by S. Ramanujam at HT Media Ltd. Plot No. 8, Udyog Vihar, Greater Noida Distt. Gautam Budh Nagar, U.P. 201306, on behalf of KASTURI & SONS LTD., Chennai-600002. Editor: Mukund Padmanabhan (Responsible for selection of news under the PRB Act). Regd. DL(ND)-11/6110/2006-07-08 RNI No. TNENG/2012/49940 ISSN 0971 - 751X Vol. 7 No. 68 ●









HC calls Supriyo’s remarks against Moitra “deplorable”


15 polluting units in Meghalaya: Sangma

Calcutta court issues stay on criminal proceedings against the Union Minister


Leaders pay tributes to Pyarimohan Mohapatra He proved his mettle as a civil servant and in politics: CM Prafulla Das BHUBANESWAR

Meghalaya CM Mukul Sangma said 15 companies, including 10 cement producing, constitute the major polluting units in the State. Three ferro alloy companies, one power plant and one brewery were also on the list, he said. PTI

< >

Special Correspondent Kolkata

Unknown disease claims 13 cattle in Odisha

Even as the Calcutta High Court on Monday issued a stay on criminal proceedings against Union Minister Babul Supriyo for six weeks, it came down heavily on the BJP MP for his unparliamentary comments against Trinamool Congress (TMC) lawmaker Mahua Moitra.

Babul Supriyo

Debate on TV During a debate on a television show, where both Mr. Supriyo and Ms. Moitra were present, the Union Minister for State for Urban Develop-

ment ments down MLA. She plaint

Justice Joymalya Bagchi High Court Judge



Outbreak of an unknown disease in agrarian areas of Odisha’s Kendrapara district has claimed 13 head of cattle over the past one week, a veterinary official said on Monday. Unofficial reports put the toll at 50. PTI

Is this the way of talking to women?

made certain comwhich did not go well with the TMC had lodged a comat a police station

which subsequently brought charges under Section 509 of IPC (Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) against the MP. Mr. Supriyo then approached the High Court. “Being a public representative, these type of comments are deplorable. Is this the way of talking to women,” Justice Joymalya Bagchi said during proceedings

of the court. The judge also pointed out that considering the standards set up by BJP leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, this “type of comments are deplorable and should not be made”. Commenting on the development, Mr. Supriyo expressed satisfaction that the court had granted stay on the criminal proceedings against him. “It was pun unintended,” he said. Ms. Moitra said she has faith on the legal system and expressed hope that she will get justice.

Forward Bloc gets State secretary after 65 years

Seized drugs set ablaze in Mizoram

Senior party leader Naren Chatterjee unanimously elected to the post


Seized drugs worth ₹12.38 crore were set ablaze in Mizoram on Monday, an official said. The drugs were torched at the instance of Rev. Lalzuithanga, chairman of the Mizoram Kohhran Hruaitute Committee, a conglomerate of 14 major churches. PTI

Press Trust of India Kolkata

The All India Forward Bloc (AIFB) has elected a new State secretary after a gap of 65 years. Naren Chatterjee, a senior party leader, was unanimously elected by the party’s

State council on Sunday. The post was lying vacant after the death of Ashok Ghosh, who was the State secretary of the Forward Bloc since 1952. Mr Ghosh had died of old-age related ailments last year. “Both the Left Front and

Forward Bloc are facing challenges. My sole aim would be to strengthen the party and the Left unity in the State. We will follow the footsteps of Ashokda and work hard to strengthen our party,” Mr Chatterjee, who is in his mid 50s, told PTI.

Mr Ghosh (95) was the longest serving State secretary of a political party after he was elected State secretary of Forward Bloc for the consecutive 15th time in 2013. The AIFB was founded by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in 1939.

Leaders cutting across party lines on Monday paid tributes to former Rajya Sabha member Pyarimohan Mohapatra who passed away at a Mumbai hospital on Sunday night. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Union Ministers Jual Oram, Suresh Prabhu and Dharmendra Pradhan, many Ministers of the State and people from different walks of life paid their last respects to the departed leader at the airport as well as his house in the city. As the mortal remains of Mohapatra arrived here, Mr. Patnaik reached the Biju Patnaik International Airport, and paid floral tributes and placed a wreath on the body. The late leader had created a niche for himself in Odisha politics through his organisational skills and political acumen, said Mr. Patnaik.

Naveen Patnaik paying tributes to Pyarimohan Mohapatra in Bhubaneswar. BISWARANJAN ROUT *

“I am distressed at the passing away of former MP Pyarimohan Mohapatra. He had a distinguished career as a civil servant and is known for his hard work and calibre. Later, he came to politics and became an MP. In politics too he has proved his mettle,” said Mr. Patnaik in a message.

Chanakya of Odisha Mahapatra, who transformed the BJD into a strong regional party, was president of the Odisha Jana

Morcha, the party he founded in 2013 in the aftermath of his expulsion from the BJD. He was dubbed as the Chanakya of Odisha politics for his decade-long nursing of the party. It is a different matter that Mr. Patnaik had dubbed Mohapatra a “traitor” while announcing the latter’s suspension from the BJD in June 2012 for making a failed coup against his government on May 29 that year when Mr. Patnaik was in the UK.


Oil tanker workers on strike for better wages Press Trust of India Guwahati

Oil tanker workers affiliated to the Assam Petroleum Mazdoor Union (APMU) on Monday began an indefinite strike demanding minimum wages and other benefits like provident fund.

Oil marketing companies, including IOC, BPCL and HPCL, have termed their demands as “illogical and baseless” as they are employed by transporters and not the PSU firms. “We have started the indefinite strike against IOC,

BPCL and HPCL. We are demanding minimum wages, PF, insurance and ESI benefits,” APMU general secretary Ramen Das told PTI here. He said APMU held talks with the three companies in November last year, but did not yield any result.



S.RAGHAVACHARI, 89, Retd. Sr. Audit Officer (P&T),Ch−87 attained Acharyan thiruvadi on 20−03−2017. Grieving− Sumathy Santhanam, Kalyani Mohan and Gayathri Ravi. Contact− 9003079204 / 7845047452

Sri R.KASINATHAN, (87) Retired, Supervisor, Platemaking, The Hindu, Chennai passed away on 20−03−2017. Address: No.2/353, Venkatesapuram Ist Street, Vandalur, Chennai−600 048 Mobile: 9840775828.


PERSONAL CHANGE OF NAME I, JINY KUMARI SINGH, D/o.Late R.R.Singh, 29−F/2,Suryavansham Apt, Mehraulli, New Delhi−110030, shall henceforth be known as JINY SINGH, Vide affidavit No.1467, dt 13.02.2017










Getting ready for Ram

Hardik Patel, 59 others booked for rioting He is facing two sedition cases in Ahmedabad, Surat; currently out on bail Special Correspondent Ahmedabad

Counting down: With a little more than a fortnight to go for Ramnavami, an artist is busy getting the Hanuman and Garud raths ready for the Ramnavami yatra in Nashik. The raths have a big wooden round rod known as Dhuri and are pulled with heavy ropes by the rath sevaks. PHOTO: AJAJ SHAIKH

The Ahmedabad police on Monday booked the Patidar quota agitation leader Hardik Patel and 59 others in a “rioting” case following a complaint by a local BJP councillor in Ramol area of the city. Mr. Patel and his supporters are accused of vandalising the BJP councillor’s house in the city and the police arrested 11 people after lodging the FIR. “They have filed a case against Hardik and others in connection with a complaint by a local BJP leader. This is meant to harass us because the BJP government is using the state machinery to break the agitation ahead of the Assembly polls in Gujarat,” said Varun Patel, a media con-

Hardik Patel




vener of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS). The Patel quota agitation leader, who is already facing two sedition cases in Ahmedabad and Surat and is currently out on bail, allegedly trespassed into the house of Paresh Patel, BJP’s municipal councillor in Vas-

tral, in the city, at around 2 a.m. along with 59 others, as per a complaint filed by him. According to the police, Hardik and his group were upset as one of their members, Kunal Patel, was arrested on Sunday for allegedly posting an

objectionable message on the social media. An FIR was filed against Hardik and others under Sections 147 (rioting), 142, 143, 149 (unlawful assembly), 435(mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to cause damage), 452 (house-trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint) and 120 (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC. The agitation, launched in 2015 to seek quota for his Patidar community, is spearheaded by the 23-year-old Hardik, who was earlier arrested and spent several months in jail before he was granted bail. His agitation turned violent in August 2015 during which over a dozen persons were killed in police firing.


Parrikar retains crucial portfolios Prakash Kamat Panaji

Retaining the crucial Home, Finance, Personnel, General Administration, Vigilance and Transport, portfolio, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday allocated portfolios to his nine Ministerial colleagues in the BJP-led coalition government. Mr. Parrikar who returned from Lucknow on Monday morning after attending the swearing-in ceremony of UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, has allocated Public Works Department to Ramkrishna Dhavlikar of MGP and Town and Country Planning to Vijay Sardesai of Goa Forward Party(GFP). Senior BJP leader and former Dy. Chief

‘Unbelievers’ who aim to dispel misconceptions of atheism City sees a gathering of rationalists, who, despite thei diferences are irm believers in the right to ‘unbelieve’ God or religion

Minister Francisco D’Souza has been given Urban Development while, Pandurang Madkaikar, who had quit Congress ahead of polls and won on a BJP ticket, gets Power. Babu Azgaonkar, also of MGP, gets Tourism. Independent MLA from Porvorim, Rohan Khavtye, gets Revune while Govind Gaude, also Independent, has been given Art and Culture. Vinod Palienkar and Jayesh Salgaonkar (GFP) get Water Resources Ministry and Housing with Housing Board, respectively. Mr. Parrikar has allotted one portfolio each to his Ministers ahead of the budget session scheduled to begin on Wednesday.

While our Constitution permits an individual the freedom to reject religion, it seldom translates in practice, said noted city-based lawyer Asim Sarode.

Shoumojit Banerjee Pune

Revolutionary freedom fighter Bhagat Singh’s ‘Why I am an Atheist’ provided the springboard for the fourth edition of the ‘Atheists’ Meet’ (Nastik Melava in Marathi) at the S.M. Joshi hall here on Sunday to thought-provoking speeches, impassioned poetry recitals and incisive social criticism. “We organise this conclave on the eve of Martyrs Day when iconic revolutionary Bhagat Singh was hanged. We are a group of rationalists, who, despite our differences are firm believers in the right to ‘unbelieve’ in God or religion,” Smitesh Joshi, one of the organisers, told The Hindu.

Lawyer Asim Sarode with members of the Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) at the fourth edition of Atheists Meet in Pune on Sunday. SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT A prime objective of the stone of our forum. At the meet was to dispel miscon- same time, we are neither ceptions associated with rude nor ignorant, but aim to disseminate our thoughts atheism, he said. “Bhagat Singh’s principle through constructive discus‘There is no arrogance in my sions held on this platform,” atheism’ forms the corner- Mr. Joshi said. *



Faith vs ideology “India, by its very nature, does not follow secularism in practice. It is vital to distinguish religion as faith or religion as ideology,” Mr. Sarode said. Dwelling on Articles 25 to 30 of the Constitution which deal with the right to Freedom of Religion, Mr. Sarode said the important rider here was ‘freedom of conscience’ “The Constitutional mandate involved maintaining a ‘principled distance’ between religion and state.


The question that arises here is whether only so-called religious leaders or political parties possess the authority to define this ‘principled distance’. We are not mindlessly excluding religion, but diluting it from public affairs,” he said.

Main culprits “Furthermore, one can exercise freedom of conscience subject only to public order, morality and health. Here, the main culprits are often found to be political parties, who encroach not only on the right to public health with their noisy propaganda rallies, but infringe on public morality as well,” he said, adding, “Article 26 stipulates the ‘freedom to manage religious affairs’, but as often



happens, this is dictated by religious outfits or godmen. Governments must come up with legal obstacles to curb these outfits. At the same time, a particular government in power cannot take a stance on whether they’ll build a temple just because it is politically expedient.” The centrepiece of the event was a spellbinding two-hour performance by artistes from the Kabir Kala Manch (KKM), who with their traditional verve and trenchant social criticism, belted out poetry and songs on blind faith, Bhagat Singh, caste divide and atheism. Two more sessions of the conclave are scheduled at Nashik and Mumbai on March 26 and April 9 respectively.
















AIADMK rules loaded against Sasikala Her ‘appointment’ is disputable on several grounds; contravenes rule pertaining to GC’s election established by Jaya; ECI rules on Wednesday D. Suresh Kumar

‘No parallels with 1989’


UDF candidate iles nomination MALAPPURAM

Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) general secretary and UDF candidate P.K. Kunhalikutty on Monday filed his nomination for the April 12 by-election in the Malappuram Lok Sabha constituency. Later in the day, the United Democratic Front kicked off its election campaign.

Navanithi Prasad Singh is new Kerala CJ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

Kerala Governor P. Sathasivam on Monday administered the oath of office to Justice Navanithi Prasad Singh as Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court at a solemn function in Raj Bhavan on Monday. Justice Navanithi Prasad Singh was a judge in the Patna High Court before his elevation as Chief Justice.

Nehru Group chairman arrested in Kerala THRISSUR

The police on Monday arrested Nehru Group of Institutions chairman P.K. Krishnadas in connection with the harassment of a student at Nehru Academy of Law, Palakkad. Three other accused — public relations officer Valsala Kumar, Sukumaran, a faculty member, and legal adviser Suchitra — were also arrested.

In the ongoing battle between jailed leader V.K. Sasikala and former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvambefore the Election Commission of India for the control of the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), the party’s Rules and Regulations, as amended on February 5, 2007, appear to be loaded against Sasikala. She was “appointed” interim general secretary by the party’s general council on December 29, 2016. First, Rule 20 (ii) of the AIADMK’s Rules and Regulations states: “The general secretary shall be elected by the primary members of all the party units in Tamil Nadu and the members of the party in other States like Pondicherry, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Andaman Islands.”

Appointed, not elected Sasikala was not elected by the party’s primary members but appointed by 2,090 of the 2,141 members of the general council. In her representation to the EC, she


The Telugu Desam Party on Monday put an end to the 39-year-long winning streak of former A.P. Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy’s family in Kadapa district. TDP nominee Mareddy Ravindranath Reddy was elected Kadapa MLC Local Authorities Constituency with a slender margin of 34 votes.

V.K. Sasikala


Jayalalithaa was appointed the general secretary without resorting to Rule 20 (ii) [then Rule 19 (ii)]. Election to the post was held only in 1993. Citing this, she further argued that Rule 30 would not apply to “unanimous” appointments as general secretary. However, a second line

leader said one cannot draw parallels with the past case as the party rules were amended in February 2007. Also, the Panneerselvam camp has pointed out that MGR was not the general secretary when he died. Senior leader S. Raghavanandham was holding the post then.


has interpreted — by extension — that “the general council represents the wishes of the entire party’s primary members in as much as the branch secretary in each unit is elected by the party’s primary members and the branch secretary elects the union secretary and the town secretaries in villages and towns respectively”. However, the Panneerselvam camp has countered this in its representation, by pointing to Rule 43 of the party, dealing with “Amendments”. This rule,

brought in by late party leader Jayalalithaa, prohibits indirect election/appointment of the party general secretary. It reads: “The general council will have powers to frame, amend or delete any of the Rules of the Party Constitution. But the Rule that the general secretary should be elected only by all the primary members of the party cannot be changed or amended since it forms the basic structure of the party (emphasis added).” Secondly, Rule 30 (v), dealing with elections to the

party units, mandates that those wanting to contest for the posts of office-bearers should have been members of the party for five years “without any break”. Those who leave the party in

NEWS ANALYSIS between or are removed from the party by the general secretary upon disciplinary action will cease to be party members. Significantly, it says, “If such persons have been re-admitted into the

party, their membership will be taken into account only from their date of readmission and they will get the eligibility to contest the organisational elections only after five years.”

On five years, and more Jayalalithaa had on December 19, 2011, expelled Sasikala, her nephew T.T.V. Dinakaran (now deputy general secretary) and 12 others from the primary membership of the party. She re-admitted Sasikala alone on March 31, 2012. Therefore,

bearers who were nominated by the previous general secretary will hold office and continue to function till the new general secretary is elected and assumes office.” Therefore, it is being argued that the office-bearers appointed by Jayalalithaa would “operate as regents to the position of the general secretary”. Jayalalithaa, significantly, did not appoint a deputy general secretary, who shall assume the powers of the general secretary in her absence. While E. Madhusudhanan was elected presidium chairman by the general council, Panneerselvam and Edappadi K. Palaniswami (Chief Minister) were nominated by Jayalalithaa as treasurer and headquarters secretary respectively. These were the only three vital posts in the party hierarchy, excluding that of the general secretary. The EC will, on March 22, hear representatives of both camps and subsequently decide on the plea to quash Sasikala’s appointment and nullify all decisions taken by her.

Liquor ban: Sudheeran moves Bear cubs sighted at Daroji sanctuary SC against Pinarayi government Wildlife enthusiasts have a reason to cheer as cubs are spotted after 4 years Ex-Kerala Cong. chief claims Cabinet has violated SC order

Special Correspondent BALLARI

Krishnadas Rajagopal NEW DELHI

TDP wins Kadapa, ends YSR family winning streak

In her affidavit filed before the EC, AIADMK leader V.K. Sasikala has drawn parallels between the current crisis in the party with that of the split between the Jayalalithaa and Janaki factions after the death of party founder M.G. Ramachandran in 1987. She said the two factions had reunited in 1989, and

on the date she was appointed general secretary, Sasikala had not completed five years continuously as party member. In her defence, Sasikala contended that since the disciplinary proceedings were cancelled, it would mean that her original primary membership was restored and that the effect of Jayalalithaa’s communication dated March 31, 2012 “is as if Sasikala had never been expelled from the party.” Countering this, the Panneerselvam camp said her expulsion was merely terminated and “not reversed”. Thirdly, Sasikala informed the EC that after Jayalalithaa’s death that it was essential to appoint a general secretary as the party headquarters officer-bearers “cannot collectively discharge the functions of the general secretary”. Rejecting this, the Panneerselvam faction said that Para 2 of Rule 20 (v) provided for such collective leadership. It states: “If for any reason, the post of general secretary becomes vacant in between, the office-

V.M. Sudheeran, former president of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee, on Monday moved the Supreme Court alleging that the Pinarayi Vijayan State Cabinet has violated a Supreme Court ban by permitting bar hotels existing across highways to continue with their business. On December 15, last year, the Supreme Court issued a nationwide ban on sale of liquor within 500

metres of National and State highways as an antidote to fatal road accidents caused by drunk driving.

Rohatgi’s opinion However, in a recent opinion, Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi interpreted the SC verdict as only confined to retail liquor outlets and not bars, pubs or restaurants. Mr. Rohatgi was approached by the Kerala government for his opinion as the SC deadline for the ban — April 1, 2017 — was fast-approach-

ing. In his application seeking permission to intervene in a host of pending petitions on the December 15 verdict, Mr. Sudheeran submitted that the Kerala government had a liquor policy of shrinking liquor consumption by reducing its availability. Mr. Sudheeran, represented by advocate Suvidutt M.S., said the policy to reduce the number of bar hotels and retail outlets was upheld by both the Kerala HC and the Supreme Court.


Small is beautiful

Wildlife enthusiasts would cheer if they were to visit Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary, adjacent to world famous Hampi, today, for they will be able to see sloth bears carrying cubs on their back. “I was very happy to see a mother bear with two of its cubs on its back. I am seeing this after a gap of nearly four years,” said S.K. Arun, honorary district wildlife warden and wildlife enthusiast, who was happy to share the experience with

The Hindu.The sanctuary, which is the biggest in Asia, is spread over 82.5 sq km and has a bear population of over 100.

Haven for birds This apart, the sanctuary is also a haven for leopards, wild boars, peacocks and over 200 species of birds. It is a favourite spot for nature lovers too. Forest officers, who were concerned over cubs not being sighted earlier, are also pleased that breeding has been taking place.

New entrants: The sloth bear and her cubs in the Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary in Hampi. S.K. ARUN *

Satyagraha on parched tank bed Telangana farmers demand release of Nagarjunasagar water into irrigation tank The precarious water situation warrants urgent steps to fill up the tank by releasing water from the NSP canal, he said. He demanded that the authorities should clear the encroachments on the tank bed areas to protect and rejuvenate the water body.

Special Correspondent KHAMMAM

Mini wonder: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and his wife Bhuvaneswari watching micro art at the Aakruthi Vastra exhibition in Vijayawada on Monday. V. RAJU *

BJP activists’ bid to gatecrash into collectorate foiled Party workers were opposing religion-based reservation NIZAMABAD


Strong protest: Police jostling with BJYM and BJP activists in Nizamabad on Monday. K.V. RAMANA *

their agitation and police jostling with them. With the police foiling their efforts, the protesters staged a dharna in front of the gate for a while. Speaking on the occasion, the BJP and the BJYM leaders said they would not allow

the TRS government to move the Bill, relating to 12% reservation to religious minorities in education and employment, in the Assembly. They also called upon the people to take part in the Chalo Assembly to be organized on March 24.

All for water: Farmers staging a sit-in demonstration on the dried up tank bed at Basvapuram on Monday. G.N.RAO *

tended their support to the protest.

Precarious situation Talking to media persons before launching the stir, Mr. Kondala Rao deplored that the peripheral areas of the tank, the prime source for irrigation in Basvapuram and

Ramakrishnapuram villages, were encroached upon by unscrupulous elements in the past. The tank has gone bone dry ahead of peak summer depriving farmers of water to meet the irrigation needs and quench the thirst of cattle.

‘Storytelling can efectively train employees’ When tales are told in person, it has a positive impact, says Eric Miller fessional storytellers to train employees in various professional aspects. Even to deal with a not-so-friendly taskmaster at workplace, there is a technique to communicate and that’s what we try to teach people through role plays in our storytelling sessions,” Dr. Miller told The Hindu when he came to the city to conduct a storytelling workshop.


Are you unable to get along with your ‘Kadoos boss’ who perpetually drives you crazy at workplace? Have you ever come across a tricky situation that prompts you to say ‘no’ but you actually end up saying ‘yes’? How many times have you thought of giving a befitting reply to a colleague who gets on your nerves quite frequently but you only managed to give a wry smile?

Special Correspondent

Police arrested some 250 BJYM and BJP activists when they tried to gatecrash into the collectorate premises, protesting against the proposed 12% reservation to religious minorities, here on Monday. BJP district president Palle Ganga Reddy, party leaders Dhanpal Suryanarayana Gupta, Aluri Ganga Reddy, Yendala Sudhakar, Kotapati Narsimha Naidu, BJYM State president V. Bharath Goud, district president Nyalam Raju and town president Roshan Bora, were among those arrested. High drama went on for a brief period with the BJYM activists scaling the collectorate entrance gate to jump into the premises as part of

Braving the blazing sun, a young farmer staged a sit-in demonstration on the parched bed of the Peddacheruvu tank in Basvapuram village of Chintakani mandal on Monday to draw the attention of the district administration to the plight of farmers and to press for filling up of the dried up tank with Krishna waters. V. Kondala Rao, a farmer of Basvapuram, sat on an indefinite fast on the dried up bed of the tank on Monday morning demanding release of water from the Nagarjunasagar Project (NSP) main branch canal at Chintakani into the parched Peddacheruvu to fill it. Several farmers from Basvapuram, Ramakrishnapuram and some other neighbouring habitations flocked to the tank and ex-

Effective tool Telling tales is no more considered just a source of amusement, but has become an effective tool to train professionals to be tactful in dealing with certain situations. Director of World Storytelling Institute Eric Miller says that the art of

Eric Miller



storytelling has caught the attention of multinational companies and institutions for varied reasons. “From imparting management skills to learning to be assertive and improving oratory skills, several organisations are now keen on engaging pro-

Real situations The Chennai-based professional storyteller with a PhD in Folklore says that many workplaces have identified multiple benefits of storytelling. “Today, the ancient art form made inroads into a number of institutions and companies as many consider it a customised tool to train teachers, parents, professionals and entrepreneurs. What makes the session in-

teresting is how we weave real situations into stories and convert them into role plays, connecting with the present situation,” said Dr. Miller. Storytelling sessions help employees come up with better strategies to meet management demands in a more efficient manner. However, even in the digital world, Dr. Miller feels that the traditional method of storytelling continues to assume greater significance. “When tales are told in person, it has a positive impact and sticks with you for a long period. That is why a professional storyteller has a larger role to play these days,” he stated. Dr. Miller added that storytelling has become a regular feature at workplaces as the medium is used as a technique to develop competencies as well.

Official responds He called off his fast later in the day after Chintakani Tahsildar K. Srinivas arrived at the dried up tank bed and held talks with the NSP and Irrigation Department officials over phone to address the water issue. The Tahsildar assured the agitated farmer that the matter would be taken to the notice of the higher ups to ensure release of water from the NSP canal into the tank at Basvapuram next week. He told him that the tank was already desilted under the tank restoration project.

Law for self-inancing sector soon Special Correspondent THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

The Kerala government would bring in legislation to govern admissions to self-financing medical colleges in the State. It was announced here on Monday by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who chaired an all-party meeting on the issue. The need for such a law arises consequent on the Supreme Court’s rulings on admissions in the sector.

Unified fee Health Minister K.K. Shylaja briefed the participants about the situation that had arisen from the verdict, which mandates that all admissions be made only from the NEET rank list and that only unified fee be charged from all students. A ND-ND








Five Rajasthan villages vote to close liquor shops This is the second instance of referendum in the State against the ban

Manipuris hypnotised by politics: Sharmila

Mohammed Iqbal



Human rights activist Irom Sharmila, who had a disastrous debut in the Manipur Assembly polls, said on Monday that people of her home State were “hypnotised” by money and muscle power of electoral politics. Ms. Sharmila, who is in Kerala for a month-long sojourn, said she would no more be in electoral politics but would continue her fight against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) by gaining support from people across India. PTI

In a collective show of strength, residents of five villages including Rojda, located about 30 km from here, voted overwhelmingly in favour of closing liquor shops in their panchayati samiti area. Residents of Sindolai, Harchandpura, Jaitpura and Sardarpura turned up at Rojda village, which is located in Amber tehsil of Jaipur district, on Sunday to make use of the provision for referendum in the Rajasthan Excise Act, 1975, which has rarely been used.

Sikhs seek probe into Chattisinghpora killings

Only 170 votes in favour Of 2,581 votes, 2,270 or nearly 87% rejected a main liquor shop and its four branches operating for quite some time in the area. Only


A Sikh body on Monday demanded fresh probe into the Chattisinghpora massacre, which claimedlives of 35 Sikhs in 2000. “After 17 years, the people of Jammu and Kashmir, especially the Sikhs, are still waiting for justice. We urge the State and Central governments to nab the culprits of the massacre,” said Jagmohan Singh Raina, chairman of the All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee, in a statement. PTI

Couple, infant mowed down by truck in Kota KOTA

A 22-year-old man, his wife, and three-month-old daughter were killed on Monday after a speeding truck hit them near the Central Jail here, the police said. Ramavatar Mehra, a resident of Baundhan village in Bundi district, was riding on a motorcycle with his wife Natibai (20) and their daughter when the truck hit them from behind around 1 p.m. The accused driver has arrested and a case has been lodged against him. PTI


‘Remove Mujibur Rahman’s bust from Kolkata hostel’ Minority body says Islam does not permit setting up of idols more objectionable” as there is a large mosque inside the hostel premises. Claiming that he was also a resident of the hostel when the museum came up, he said that he was not aware of the statue until he saw media reports on the birth anniversary of Mujibur Rahman on March 17.

Soumya Das Kolkata

Reforming addicts: Villagers kept up a 363-day agitation before iling a public interest litigation. SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT *

170 votes were in favour of the liquor shop, while 141 were invalid. Rojda sarpanch Jairam Kumawat told The Hindu that the district administration would issue a notification soon on the basis of the referendum for permanent closure of all liquor shops in the cluster of five villages.

“No liquor shop can be opened in future...We’re reforming liquor addicts in our village,” Mr. Kumawat said. The day-long referendum was conducted under the supervision of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate. Besides long queues of men and women in traditional clothes, the “voters” proudly showed

off their inked fingers after stamping the ballot papers. This is the second instance of referendum over liquor ban in Rajasthan. Last March, 90% of villagers in Kachchbali panchayat of Rajsamand district had voted against keeping the only licensed liquor outlet open. The referendum in Rojda village was conducted on the orders of the Rajasthan High Court following a public interest litigation moved by villagers after their 363-day anti-liquor agitation, comprising demonstrations and dharnas, failed to make an impact on the State government. Welcoming the outcome of referendum, Nashamukt Bharat Andolan State convener Sawai Singh said the villagers had set an example for others.

Ahead of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India next month, minority organisation All Bengal Minority Youth Federation (ABMYF) has demanded that the bust of ‘Bangabandhu’ Sheikh Mujibur Rahman be removed from the government-run Baker hostel.

‘Anti-Islamic’ Calling it “anti-Islamic”, the ABMYF’s State general secretary Md. Quamruzzaman told The Hindu that “Islam does not permit setting up of idols. Baker Hostel being a hostel for Muslim students, we think the statue of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman here is anti-Islamic.” A white marble bust of Mujibur Rahman is installed at the entrance to the museum on the hostel’s third floor. It was inaugurated by then Bangladesh Foreign

A white marble bust of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman has been installed at the Baker Hostel. SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT *

Minister, Dipu Mani, in 2011. The 110 year-old-Baker hostel, which is located in central Kolkata’s Janbazar area, was home to Mujibur Rahman from 1945 to 1946. The well-maintained statue and museum here stand in stark contrast to the dark and damp corridor of the hostel. Mr. Quamruzzaman said the statue becomes “even

Not aware, says TMC MP Trinamool Congress MP and minority leader Idris Ali, meanwhile, said he was “not aware of the matter.” The hostel authorities, too, did not offer a comment. The ABMYF now plans to write to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. “We will write to the Chief Minister and communicate with Ms. Sushma Swaraj through email. We have also sought an appointment with Zaki Ahad, Deputy High Commissioner of Bangladesh,” said Mr. Quamruzzaman.


Eforts at sparrow conservation pick up pace across Odisha Rural craftsmen designing artiicial nests presented awards on World Sparrow Day Staff Reporter BERHAMPUR

Rural craftsmen who designed artificial nests for sparrow conservation were honoured on World Sparrow Day at Purunabandh village in Ganjam district on Monday.

Villagers involved Purunabandh is a coastal village near Rushikulya rookery, where sparrow conservation efforts were taken up by locals way back in 2007. It was the first place in Odisha where community efforts were made to save these tiny birds, said Berhampur Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Ashis Behera. Local villagers involved in the protection of olive ridley

turtles during their mass nesting at the coast were involved in the sparrow conservation activity. Successful experiments in sparrow conservation at Purunabandh have been replicated at several other places in Odisha like Banei, Tensa, Rourkela, Athagada, Sonepur, Balugaon. It has enthused sparrow conservators of Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam. At the function organised at Purunabandh on Monday, Berhampur DFO, environmental activists attended as guests. During the function, Gangadhar Muduli of Biripur village and M. Simadri Rao of Purnabandh were honoured. Mr. Muduli had designed an

artificial earthen nest for saving the sparrows. Mr. Rao had later experimented and designed sparrow nests using cheap plywood.

Nests made with plywood According to Rabindranath Sahu, an activist involved in protection of olive ridleys and sparrows from Purunabandh, another artisan, Batakrushna Behera, who has crafted sparrow nests from coconut shells, could not be honoured as he was not present. With drastic reduction in the number of thatched houses, sparrows were not able to build nests. Experiments were then carried out to prepare artificial nests, which would

be acceptable to the birds by using specially-designed earthen pots, plywood boxes and coconut shells. “Mr. Muduli, Mr. Rao and Mr. Behera studied sparrow habits to design these artificial nests, which are now accepted by sparrows,” said Mr. Sahu. Success of these artificial nests can be gauged from the fact that in 2007 there were only seven sparrows in Purunabandh. Recent enumeration says over 425 sparrows coexist with humans at Purunabandh now. Most of them inhabit different types of artificial nests hung in front of concrete houses. In most villages where sparrow conservation has

picked up, children are most friendly with the tiny birds. “We feed and protect the sparrows,” said Jhili Behera and Bharati Behera, two children from Purunabandh. A quiz among students was also held at Purunabandh as part of World Sparrow Day celebrations. World Sparrow Day was also observed at Padarbali village in Ganjam district where the Berhampur DFO was the guest. Worried over the decline in sparrow population in the area after the Phailin cyclone in 2013, the youth wing of a civic organisation named Anchalika Vikas Parishad had started sparrow conservation in villages of Gunthabandha panchayat.

Flying high: Recent enumeration says that over 425 sparrows coexist with humans at Purunabandh village in Odisha’s Ganjam district. LINGARAJ PANDA *









Circular worries medical institutes Government hospitals, last hope for the poor, may have to hike user charges Afshaan Yasmeen BENGALURU

Bihar Governor appoints three new V-Cs PATNA

Bihar Governor and Chancellor of Universities Ram Nath Kovind on Monday appointed three new ViceChancellors of different institutions. S. K. Singh was appointed as the new V-C of Lalit Narayan Mithila University Darbhanga, a Raj Bhawan statement said here. Nalini Kant Jha was made the new V-C of Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur University at Bhagalpur. Kaimer Ahsan was made the V-C of Magadh University, Bodh Gaya, the statement said. PTI

Police seize 18 skeletons, arrest four persons BURDWAN (WB)

The police have seized 18 human skeletons from a house at Purbasthali in Burdwan district and arrested four persons, a police officer said on Sunday. A police team raided a house at Nanda colony in Purbasthali and seized the skeletons and arrested four for illegally running a business of supplying skeletons, Kalna SDPO Nitin Singhania said. PTI

The Union Finance Ministry’s circular to all centrally-funded autonomous institutions asking them to generate 30% of the additional financial impact incurred on implementing the 7th Pay Commission has left healthcare institutions wondering how they would do it without burdening patients. Most institutions have now written to the Union Finance Ministry’s Department of Expenditure explaining the difficulty. The circular, issued on January 13, will impact nearly 600 autonomous bodies in the country, including major hospitals such as the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research ( JIPMER) and the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience (NIMHANS), apart from around 200 commodity bodies, an equal number of research organisations and educational institutions, including the Kendriya Vidyalayas and Navodaya Vidyalayas. The worst affected are hospitals for whom it may be inevitable to hike patient user charges if they have to generate the funds. In NIMHANS, the country’s premier mental health organisation, which has

Sea change: Hospitals like the AIIMS will have a tough task in generating more funds. V.V. KRISHNAN *

close to 800 employees including 200 faculty members, nearly ₹165 crore of the total ₹370 crore annual government grant is spent on salaries and other employee benefits. Although there are no figures available on the additional financial impact of the 7th Pay Commission’s recommendations, sources said it would be a difficult task to generate 30% of the additional requirement. NIMHANS collects over ₹20 crore every year as user charges of ₹20 per patient.

Waiting for direction Hoping that the Union Ministry will allow implementation of the 7th Pay Commission recommendations from next month, the institute has saved a portion of its annual grants for the purpose. “We can use the amount if we get any directions in the next few days. If not, we will have

to explain why we have not spent the total annual grants,” the sources said. “It will be impossible to generate any additional funds without passing it [the financial burden] on to patients. When nearly 80% of those with mental disorders are not receiving any treatment due to associated stigma, mental healthcare should be made affordable at least for those who seek treatment,” a senior doctor from NIMHANS said. NIMHANS Director B.N. Gangadhar said it was a new challenge for the institute. “Keeping in mind patient welfare, we will discuss and come out with innovative ideas to generate funds. Although it is difficult, it is not impossible,” he said. The situation is the same in hospitals across the country. Although institute heads are not expressing their ap-

prehensions openly, the issue has become a matter of concern for all. Sources in JIPMER, Puducherry, and AIIMS, New Delhi, said that the institutions will be left with no option other than to collect more charges from patients. Making optimum use of highend diagnostic equipment such as MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and CT (computed tomography) scan machines is another option for generating additional funds, sources said. However, JIPMER Faculty Association President Gopalakrishnan M.S. said the move asking hospitals to generate funds is a double-edged sword. “While it will definitely hurt poor patients, it will also create accountability for optimal use of equipment in institutions,” he said. He also expressed concern that doctors might now hesitate to do the full set of investigations. “Earlier, a doctor would advise an MRI or a CT scan or any other investigations for a patient without a second thought as it could be done at subsidised rates at the hospital based on which we could take an informed decision. However, if the charges are hiked, it will mean out of pocket expenses for the patients and we will have to think twice before prescribing any tests,” he said.

Internships may soon be a must for technical degrees AICTE efort to make students more industry-ready Vikas Pathak NEW DELHI

Technical education institutions in India will soon have internships as a mandatory requirement for the award of degrees. The All-India Council for Technical Education — the regulator for maintaining norms and standards in technical education — has set the ball rolling to make internships a mandatory part of technical education in the country. “For a beginning, we are asking institutions providing technical education to arrange for internships for 75% of their students. We will also help by trying to get industry bodies and MSMEs on board for this. The institutions can then contact these bodies to facilitate internships,” said a senior official of the AICTE who did not wish to be named. “Once we get this process streamlined, we will in about three years make internships a mandatory requirement for the award of degrees.” In other words, while the onus would first be on the technical educational institutions to put in place systemic arrangements to facilitate internships, it would

Developing skills: A ile picture of a summer internship programme at a college at Paritala in Andhra Pradesh.

soon transform into a regime where the onus would also be on the students to intern somewhere to become eligible for the degree. “The final vision is to ensure that those who pass out have interned and thus have experience of industry pace and requirements,” an official said.

Vast purview The purview of the AICTE is vast: it covers programmes of technical education, including training and research, in engineering, technology, architecture, town planning, manage-



ment, pharmacy, applied arts and crafts, hotel management and catering technology, etc. The Ministry of Human Resource Development – under which the AICTE is an autonomous institution – has also been in the loop regarding this change. Internships, it is felt, would make the students more industry-ready, providing a set of hands-on skills and experience of the work environment in the industry to complement their academic and theoretical insights into their discipline.

Pramod Mittal booked in fraud case

Maharashtra doctors skip Maj. Rohit Suri awarded Kirti Chakra The young oicer was part of the surgical strikes last year work after attacks

Special Correspondent

Say they feel threatened after constantly facing attacks

Special Correspondent NEW DELHI

The Central Bureau of Investigation has registered a corruption and cheating case against Pramod Mittal, the then Global Steel Holdings Limited (GSHL) chairman, along with the former CMD and 18 other officials of the State Trading Corporation (STC), for allegedly causing a loss of ₹2,112 crore to the exchequer. Among the others named as accused in the case are former STC CMD Arvind Pandalai, three then Chief Marketing Managers, eight Directors, three General Managers and other former officials; and former Chief Executive Officer of its subsidiary Global Steel Philippines Inc, Lalit Sehgal. The two companies have also been named.

Payments not cleared According to the complaint lodged by the State Trading Corporation, Mr. Mittal did not clear the payments for the export of raw material supplied to the new steel plants of Global Steel Philippines Inc in Philippines and Bosnia, on the letters of credit opened by the STC. It has been alleged that despite irregular clearance of the dues, the accused STC officials renewed the line of credit to the company.

Special Correspondent Mumbai

As many as 4,000 resident doctors across Maharashtra stayed away from work on Monday, individually submitting a letter of leave to their seniors stating that they feel threatened to work after the constant attacks on them. The Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) that has to abide by a court’s order refrained from using the word ‘strike’ even as the doctors collectively struck work. In the last 10 days, three doctors have been attacked in various hospitals across Maharashtra, one of them so brutally injured that he stands to lose his vision. On Monday, two stray incidents were reported from the Government Medical College in Aurangabad and Wadia Hospital in Parel but authorities did not provide any confirmation. Representatives from MARD and other doctors had a meeting with Mayor V. Mandeshwar who asked them to join work immediately. But doctors said they wanted some concrete measures to be taken this time.

Safety to work: KEM hospital doctors during their mass casual leave against the attack on a resident doctor in Sion Hospital, Mumbai, on Monday. PTI *

surgeries were cancelled and several patients were turned away from the Out Patient Department (OPD) as well.

Surgeries postponed While most planned surgeries were postponed, only emergency cases were handled by senior doctors who were on duty. Parel’s KEM Hospital that has an OPD of over 6,000 patients saw merely 1,400 patients on Monday and conducted 98 major and minor operations. A 52-year-old stroke patient from Ghatkopar who had fallen unconscious was sent back after preliminary treatment. “We have undergone some tests. But now since there are no doctors, we have been asked to come

Patients inconvenienced The mass casual leave led to inconvenience of thousands of patients across the public hospitals. More than 500

back after two days,” said the patient Phukan Pandey’s wife who had a tough time lifting him to the stretcher and then back to the cab. Mr. Pandey is paralysed from the right side since his stroke. Another patient from Sion Hospital, Sumanbai Shinde, who underwent cataract surgery was discharged even as her eye was swollen. “They had first said that she will require two more days in the hospital as the swelling is large. But they suddenly gave discharge on Monday as there was no doctor available,” said Ms. Shinde’s husband Ram. Lack of security at hospitals and inefficient security guards is one of the main reasons behind the attacks, say doctors.


The military investiture ceremony held in the Durbar Hall of the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Monday marked both the high and low points of the military under the Narendra Modi Government. While the second highest peacetime gallantry award ‘Kirti Chakra’ went to a young officer, Major Rohit Suri, who was part of the surgical strikes last year, the seniormost Lieutenant General Eastern Army Commander Praveen Bakshi, who was side stepped in the appointment of the Army Chief, was awarded the Param Vishisht Seva Medal, the highest Distinguished Service Medal. “Major Rohit Suri was the mission leader of the team which was tasked to carry

Military honour: President Pranab Mukherjee presenting the ‘Kirti Chakra’ to Maj. Rohit Suri on Monday SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT *

out operations against terrorist’s hideout in J&K,” the citation read. Sources said he led the team of the Army’s 4 Para Special Forces which conducted surgical strikes on terrorist camps along the LoC. The citation stated that, by his decisive thinking, professional approach, warrior ethos, exemplary leadership

Such a measure will be in the spirit of fundamental rights, it says Legal Correspondent NEW DELHI

Noting that it has been “championing the cause of decriminalisation of politics,” the Election Commission has endorsed a public interest litigation petition in the Supreme Court seeking life-long bar on convicts from contesting polls and entering the legislature. In an affidavit filed recently before the Supreme

Court on a petition filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, the Election Commission agreed with the petitioner that such a uniform ban would be in the spirit of fundamental rights of the Constitution, including the right to equality. As of now, a person, on conviction, is debarred from contesting any elections for the period of his or her prison sentence and six

7 Naxals held

Amicus curiae had submitted that they were illed with ilth and priests were inding it hard to take a dip


coming monsoon in mind when it decided on a tight deadline for finishing the cleaning project. Mr. Subramanium had submitted that the temple tanks were filled with filth and the priests were finding it increasingly hard to take a dip before participating in the temple rituals. “How can the priests bathe in such water... this is injustice,” Mr. Subramanium said. At one point during the hearing, the amicus submitted that money would “pour in” from devotees all over the world once the Supreme Court gives a direction to clean up the tanks.


The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Kerala Water Authority to clean the water tanks of Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple and take measures to stop sewage and construction debris from flowing inside the temple premises. A Bench of Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar and Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul ordered the authority to complete the work by May 15.

Speed is key: court The court asked amicus curiae and senior advocate Gopal Subramanium to coordinate to keep tabs on the timely completion of the cleaning work and report fortnightly back to the Supreme Court on the progress made. The government has fixed an estimate of ₹28 lakh CM YK

Unholy situation: A ile photo of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram. REUTERS *

for the cleaning work. The court said speed was of the essence and that was the exact reason why it

wanted a government body itself to do the work instead of inviting tenders from outside. The court had the on-

Expressions of interest The court further ordered the temple’s administrative committee to issue notices within a week to invite expressions of interest from experts who can restore the

Shaurya Chakra Another member of the surgical strikes team Nb Sub Vi-

Poll panel backs life ban on convicts

Clean Padmanabhaswamy temple tanks by May 15: SC Krishnadas Rajagopal

and courage beyond the call of duty, Maj. Rohit Suri ensured the execution of the task flawlessly with clockwork precision and eliminated four terrorists in close quarter combat.

jay Kumar was conferred the Shaurya Chakra for the “vital role during the close recce carried out prior to the assault which gathered crucial information about the hideout and facilitated the mission planning.” In all, Mr. Mukherjee conferred 13 Shaurya Chakras on military personnel, who were also involved in operations against terrorists in the Pathankot Air Force station and the government institute near Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir. Six of the 13 Shaurya Chakras were conferred posthumously. Mr. Mukherjee also conferred Distinguished Service Medals on senior military officers which included 15 Param Vishisht Seva Medals, three Yudh Seva Medals (YSM) and 23 Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM).

Padmanabhaswamy temple deity made of Katu Sarkara Yogam, the structure of the roof of the sanctum sanctorum and the temple tanks. The court said the committee should invite the offers for the three works separately, although the three could be granted to a single person. In a short submission, the Kerala government said reparations and management of the temple property and premises should be brought under a legislative framework similar to the Guruvayoor Devaswom Act of 1978, governing the upkeep of yet another famous temple, Sri Guruvayoorappan Temple in Thrissur district of Kerala. As far as the cleaning of the temple tanks, the government said it was ready to do the work as a one-time measure.

years thereafter. The Election Commission said it had already submitted detailed proposal for electoral reforms, which include decriminalisation of politics, making bribery a cognisable offence and prohibition on advertisements 48 hours before elections and a strict ban on paid news as recommended by the Law Commission in its 244th and 255th reports.

The poll body said the plea for a lifetime ban on convicts was not adversarial and it fully supported the cause espoused by the petitioner. On the plea for fixing the maximum age criteria and minimum educational qualification, the Election Commission said that the issue was in legislative domain and would require amendments to the Constitution.

Press Trust of India

Seven Naxals, two of them carrying cash reward on their heads, were arrested from separate places in Bastar division of Chhattisgarh, the police said on Monday.








Sound, fury, but not much clout As it courts Pakistan and wades into Afghan diplomacy, the question is whether Russia is truly a world power

Mandate for renewal

Pakistan’s headcount

shashank joshi


trategy is the central political art,” writes Lawrence Freedman in Strategy: A History. “It is about getting more out of a situation than the starting balance of power would suggest. It is the art of creating power.” If this is so, consider the case of a country that is economically smaller than Italy, Australia, or South Korea. Its economy has indeed shrunk over the past two consecutive years, and income per capita sits below that of Malaysia or Slovakia. Male life expectancy is worse than in North Korea. Worse still, the country has been sanctioned by ive of its six biggest export markets, and its currency has lost half its value over the past three years alone. And yet, this country — which is, of course, Russia — has somehow succeeded in projecting itself as a great power in virtually every corner of the world stage. But as Moscow turns its attention to South Asia, courting Pakistan and wading into Afghan diplomacy, we should ask whether it has truly created power, or merely spun an illusion.

Aggressive diplomacy Reasonable people can disagree on the strategic balance sheet. Territorially, Russia is in the black. It has annexed Crimea, controls a swathe of eastern Ukraine through proxy rebels, and enjoys access to military facilities in Syria, Iran, Egypt, and soon enough Libya. Diplomatically, it has driven a formidable wedge between Turkey and NATO, while deepening ties with Western allies from Israel to Japan. It has also persuaded China to sign an agreement on “global strategic stability”, while the two sides hold naval exercises in the South China Sea. All this has come at a cost. As long as Russia continues to fuel a Kargil-type war in Ukraine, it will continue to be battered by



The South Asian game plan In South Asia, by contrast, Russia’s presence is largely smoke and mirrors. Its lurry of activity in the region is by now well known. Last September, Moscow batted away Indian objections to hold its irstever joint drills with Pakistani special forces, having earlier agreed to sell four attack helicopters to Pakistan. In next-door Afghanistan, Russia’s moves have been even starker. In December 2015, Russia’s special envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, declared that “Taliban interests objectively coincide with ours”, while both

Steady economic slide Meanwhile, Russia is poorly endowed in other key respects. In economic terms, it is an irrelevance. Its trade with India, Pakistan, and Iran has actually fallen in recent years. Russian aid to Afghanistan is trivially low, and it is no position to ofer concessionary terms for signiicant defence sales to Pakistan. While Pakistan hungrily absorbs Chinese investment and India looks globally for an infusion of capital, Russia has almost nothing to ofer, beyond the politically opaque machinations of state-

dominated energy companies. Much more meaningful is Russia’s defence engagement with India. Russian arms sales continue to be a strategic factor in Indian defence policy. One key aspect is the lease of a second nuclear submarine. A second is the sale of the advanced S-400 air defence system. These are signiicant long-run contributions to India’s subsurface operations and air power, respectively. Russia’s most advanced defence technology is certainly a rare and valuable asset. But these deals provide limited leverage. They are commercially important to Russia’s frail defence industry, and Russia’s market share is being ruthlessly shrunk by Israeli and American competition. Meanwhile, in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar, it is Chinese arms — built on a Soviet legacy, Moscow would note, ruefully — that are cornering the market. Where does all this leave Russia? To some extent, prestige is itself a currency of power. If Russia appears ascendant, thanks to landgrabs in Europe and air strikes in Aleppo, it will be so. It will be sought by friends, consulted by neutrals, and discussed by all. But these eforts must have some solid foundation. There must be the possibility, if not the promise, of some economic, political, or military effect. In an age of geopolitical uncertainty — the rise of China, the growth of nationalism, and the erosion of U.S. leadership — hedging is prudent. Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India all have good reasons to reinforce ties to Russia, though each is diferently placed to weather the potential consequences. But even if it had the resources, Moscow’s room for manoeuvre would be very limited. NATO is not going to pull out of Afghanistan entirely, China looms far larger in Pakistan and in the region more generally, and Russia’s Afghanistan-Pakistan gyrations have hardly endeared it to New Delhi. What are we left with? Sound, fury, but not much clout. Shashank Joshi is a Senior Research Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London

Framing the right prescription Strategic shifts are needed in the level of government control on the inancing and provision of health

The Sharif government must conduct a census despite the resistance from various groups akistan’s decision to launch a national census, after much delay, is a welcome step that would allow it to formulate realistic policies to address the challenges it faces. The data are critical as key federal decisions such as resource allocation for provinces and delimitation of electoral constituencies are taken based on demographic numbers. This would be the irst census in 19 years. The government is supposed to do it every 10 years, but Pakistani authorities, under pressure from political parties and ethnic groups, have delayed the process. The Nawaz Sharif government actually moved into action after a Supreme Court order set a March deadline to start the process. The army has provided 200,000 personnel for security for the 70-day campaign. It is not diicult to see why traditional political parties and ethnic leaders oppose the data-gathering. Since the last census was conducted in 1998 by the second Sharif government, Pakistan has undergone major changes. There has been a massive inlux of people into Sindh, while the population growth in Punjab is slowing down. But political parties in Sindh say many Sindhis in rural Sindh may not be counted as they do not have national identity cards. Punjabis fear the current edge they have in Pakistan’s politics on the strength of demographics may be diminished. In Balochistan, local political groups had demanded that the process be delayed till hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees are returned to Afghanistan. The refugees have been excluded from the process following a ruling by the Baloch High Court. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, tribal groups have opposed the census citing reverse migration of locals and inlux of Afghan refugees. But such challenges will always be there, given the inluence of ethnic groups and provincial satraps in Pakistani politics. What is more important for Islamabad is to not give in to pressure to delay critical administrative decisions. The census is not merely an exercise of counting heads. It provides information on key indicators such as population density, gender ratio, literacy rate, inancial conditions and employment numbers. As the 19-year-old census data are obsolete, it is crucial for the government to obtain an updated picture of the country’s socio-economic composition to make the right policy choices. The government’s announcement that it will go ahead with the census, even if under pressure from the court, also suggests an increasing sense of conidence in Islamabad. Pakistan is going through a relatively stable phase, economically and politically. The Sharif government doesn’t face any existential challenge and is set to become the second elected government in Pakistan’s history to inish its full term next year. Economic growth has also picked up. This allows Mr. Sharif to take some risks for longterm reforms. He should stay the course towards working out a realistic reallocation of resources and parliamentary seats to the provinces based on the new census data.

In Ukraine, Moscow’s initial arm’s-length low-proile intervention faltered until Russian troops looded in. Russian advisers in Syria, who were present long before 2015, could not stop the rot — until Russian air power showed up. Russia has been lirting with renegade Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar for some time, hosting him aboard the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov in January as an eyecatching gimmick. But it is Russia’s deployment of special forces to Libya’s borders this month that’s far more important. In all these cases, from the Atlantic to the Persian Gulf, Russia is a bigger part of the conversation because it has taken risks, and put down chips.

European and U.S. sanctions. Yet Russia’s trade with Europe is still four times larger than that with China, suggesting that Beijing offers a rather limited safety net. Russian defence expenditure is likely to fall this year and next, with nuclear modernisation taking a larger slice of the budget. Meanwhile, Russia’s ‘victories’ have also prompted the irst-ever deployment of NATO forces at the Russian border, without the presence of the Cold War-era Warsaw Pact bufer. Even neutral states are alarmed, with Sweden to reintroduce conscription next year. Meanwhile in Washington, Russia’s audacious election meddling has made it a toxic quantity in Congress and in parts of the administration, making it hard to envisage a grand bargain, even setting aside the serious diferences over Iran and arms control. In short, Russia has gained diplomatic inluence at the cost of goodwill and growth, while enmeshing itself in several open-ended wars. But whether or not one judges this trade-of to have been worthwhile, there is a deeper point: inluence demands investment. Russia has created power only where it has been able to change facts on the ground, usually by force of arms, and only where larger, richer, and more cohesive Western forces have dithered or abstained.

saachi bhalla & nachiket mor


ndia spends close to 5% of its GDP on health. While this may appear low when compared to 18% of the U.S., data show that Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries spend 8-11%, middle-income countries close to 6%, and India’s peers, the lower-middle-income countries 4.5%. By these measures, India’s health-care spending, while still somewhat low, is not unusually so. However, on an index measuring country performance on the healthrelated Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators, India ranks poorly at 143 out of 188 countries. If we look in terms of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), a measure that more accurately corresponds with our actual standard of living, India is the third largest economy in the world, at almost PPP $8 trillion.

Given the large size of our population, our 5% allocation to health translates to a mere $267 per individual, a number far lower than the OECD average of $4,698. Yet, countries with comparable or even lower per capita health expenditures, including Indonesia, Thailand, and Ghana, are ranked better on the SDG Index at 91, 112, and 141, respectively, out of 188, and ofer us hope and a few lessons. Interestingly, two of the most important diferences between India and these countries are the extent of pooling of health expenditures and the level of government control of the health system.

Pooling of expenditure First is the pooling of health expenditure: India has among the lowest pooled expenditure for health care; between 2004-2014, approximately 4-7% of households fell below the poverty line as a result of high out-of-pocket expense. Prepayment and pooling of resources are critical to ensure inancial protection against catastrophic health shocks. The extent of pooling is determined by the government’s tax allocation to health and insurance

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR CM Adityanath The Editorial, “Wag the dog” (March 20), was not objective. The Constitution does not bar a yogi in safron attire from assuming the role of Chief Minister. Why should Yogi Adityanath be labelled as a Hindutva irebrand who is unit to hold high oice? His rhetoric was often divisive but it was chiely in response to the equally incendiary outbursts of leaders from other communities who never lose opportunities to sow the seeds of discord in our society. This is not dissimilar to the negative reporting in the American media about Donald Trump. Mr. Adityanath has said that development will be his main plank and there is no harm if he is given a chance. Kangayam R. Narasimhan, Chennai

Are we again witnessing

datory insurance scheme only for low-wage earners in the formal sector in India — to all employees. Gradually the informal sector, both in upper and lower income, can be included by making it mandatory for all residents to buy into national or state health insurance schemes as has been successfully done in Kyrgyzstan, China, and South Korea. GETTY IMAGES


eading into Assembly elections in Uttarakhand, the Bharatiya Janata Party had a clear edge after months of political turmoil in the State, that included a spell of President’s Rule and the Supreme Court’s intervention. Chief Minister Harish Rawat had sought to turn the elections into a referendum over the tribulations that his government was subjected to by both the BJP and its government at the Centre. At the same time, his government had struggled to defend itself against allegations of graft. In the event, the BJP managed to repeat its performance of the Lok Sabha election in 2014, when it won in all ive parliamentary constituencies and led in 63 out of 70 Assembly segments. By winning 57 seats in the Assembly elections, the BJP has for the irst time managed a decisive majority in a State that has traditionally returned close verdicts. By all indications, it reaped the beneit of anti-incumbency due to issues such as migration from the hills to the plains and out of Uttarakhand as well, lack of adequate employment opportunities and infrastructure, and persisting problems relating to the 2013 loods. In 2014, the BJP’s pitch on “development” received signiicant support and it has now promised to focus on the issue. Conversely, the Congress’s lament that it did not receive adequate Central support in both lood relief and reconstruction apart from developmental work in the State clearly found few takers among the voters, who simply chose the party in power at the Centre. The Congress also made the mistake of limiting the election campaign to a personality contest centred on Mr. Rawat. Stung by the defection of many leaders to the BJP, especially from the Garhwal region, and faced with the formidable challenge of overcoming the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the party came up short. The success of the BJP must also take into account the fact that 11 of its 57 MLAs are defectors from the Congress. By appointing Trivendra Singh Rawat as the Chief Minister instead of its hopeful former Chief Ministers, the BJP has sought to empower a loyal RSS hand who is close to party president Amit Shah and Mr. Modi. Despite the overwhelming majority for the party which should allow the new Chief Minister to concentrate on administrative tasks instead of constantly managing MLAs to defend narrow majorities in the House, he faces an uphill battle. Since the separation from Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand saw high economic growth till around 2012-13, justifying the bifurcation. But the loods had a devastating impact on its economy, and the long-time decline of the agrarian economy in the hills and the consequent migration of people to the plains have deepened the challenges facing the State. It will take a concerted efort to overcome them.


Uttarakhand’s unique challenges demand a concerted efort by the new BJP government

Afghan and Western oicials decried Russian support to parts of the insurgency. At the Heart of Asia conference a year later, Mr. Kabulov followed this up by playing down Pakistan’s role and rebuking an Indian journalist who had asked about this. Contrast this to the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, who told Congress in February that as long as insurgents’ “senior leaders remain insulated from pressure and enjoy freedom of action within Pakistan safe havens ... they have no incentive to reconcile”. Then, in the same month, Russia infuriated Kabul by holding a trilateral summit with Pakistan and China. Russia’s intentions are plain. In systematically exaggerating the Islamic State’s presence in Afghanistan, the aim is to weaken the U.S. and discredit what, in actual fact, have been remarkably successful U.S.-Afghan counterterrorism eforts. Meanwhile, Russia can pose as a powerful regional broker. But a campaign of disinformation, bluster, and summitry can only take Moscow so far in the absence of any actual leverage. NATO countries have 14,000 troops in Afghanistan, while Russia has none. Indeed, even Italy (over 1,037 troops), Germany (980) and Georgia (870) are all more important than Russia on the ground. If the new U.S. administration increases troop numbers in Afghanistan, as seems possible, this will further constrain Moscow’s ability to persuade Kabul to attend similar summits which cut out the combatant powers.

Government control

coverage in the country. India’s low tax to GDP ratio and allocations of around 5% of general government expenditure to health impact the total quantum of funds available. Countries such as Thailand which have a comparable tax to GDP ratio have prioritised health within their budgets and allocate 13% of it to health care. To increase pooled funds for health care, India needs to both provide a signiicantly higher level of allocation to health care in its annual Budgets, as in Thailand, as well as extend schemes such as the Employees’ State Insurance Scheme (ESIS) — currently a man-

Second is the control exercised by the government on the health system: Successful health systems, the world over, including in entirely free market developed economies such as Germany, Switzerland, South Korea, and Japan, do not necessarily have the government as a provider. Nevertheless, they all have a high degree of direct government control on the services that are ofered; the pricing of health services, referral pathways, and treatment protocols that are followed. Governments such as those of Japan and Switzerland exercise direct price controls on services like how much physicians and hospitals may charge. Similar to the control in some mandated drug pricing, set-

ting a price control on what hospitals and physicians may charge for their services, are critical elements that India may consider. The other area could be instituting licensing processes for hospitals, similar to the Certiicate of Need process in the U.S., which can help a regionally-equitable distribution of hospitals by incentivising the setting up of facilities in poorly served areas. It is clear that signiicant, strategic shifts in the level of control that the government exerts on both the inancing and provision of health are urgently required. India can build on learning from core design principles from global experiences, including prioritising resources for health within government budgets, pooling existing resources, and greater government control over the health sector. It can also allow for a customised approach based on its context. Such a path will allow India to deliver on quality health care and equitable health outcomes to all of its people. Saachi Bhalla and Nachiket Mor are with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s India Oice. The views expressed are personal

Letters emailed to [email protected] must carry the full postal address and the full name or the name with initials.

an unwarranted outcry similar to that when Narendra Modi was elected Prime Minister (“The Yogi and the magic of numbers”, March 20)? Much has been written about there being no Muslim candidate put up by the BJP. But how many Muslims are party members of the BJP in U.P.? And how many Muslims actually share the ideology of the BJP? Parties select candidates because they will win and elections are not an exercise in social engineering. The ground reality is that Indians have started voting for those who will deliver results in accordance with their aspirations. Ravindra Ramaro, Bengaluru

■ Gopalkrishna Gandhi does raise some pertinent questions on the elevation of Mr. Adityanath as the Chief Minister of Uttar

Pradesh, but his selective reference to the RP Act 1951 reveals a kind of elitist hypocrisy. If Mr. Adityanath is unit for the top job, why doesn’t Mr. Gandhi pose similar questions to politicians such as Ms. Mayawati? Her politics is all about caste. Practising politics of alienation of the majority is what has led to the situation Mr. Gandhi has described. Aditya Shikhar, Lucknow

■ It is clear that there are some who are upset and have disdain for a leader chosen by the people. If it is a “mistake”, let’s remember that such things are a part of democracy. Mr. Adityanath should not be judged before he is given an opportunity to perform. Let us not forget that the BJP won even in Muslim-majority constituencies.

Sweety Kumari, New Delhi

■ Mr. Adityanath has no doubt worked his way up from ‘the base to the pinnacles of our legislative architecture’, but as far as the chief ministership is concerned he was airdropped, thereby subverting due democratic processes. In making its choices, the BJP has foisted a few by-elections on the country. It is time the law is amended to prevent such irresponsible acts. Another pernicious practice is of contesting from more than one constituency. Why should the taxpayer bear the burden of such capricious acts?

Manohar Alembath, Kannur, Kerala

Discordant notes The stand adopted by Ilayaraja is upsetting but I am sure he knows that he is not the sole proprietor of any movie song (“The songs are mine, Ilayaraja tells SPB”, March 20). The

producer who inanced the ilm, the poet who wrote the lyrics, the composer, and the singers are sure to have an equal share. Why must he spoil the spirit of the art? K. Sivasubramanian, Bengaluru

■ Every fan of Tamil ilm songs is bound to be shocked. No one can deny the fact that it is the

beautiful renderings by S.P. Balasubrahmanyam and Chitra which have played a great role in making several of Mr. Raja’s compositions become superhits. SPB has been extremely graceful in his reaction. Music lovers will be the losers. K.D. Viswanaathan, Coimbatore

more letters online:

corrections & clarifications: Some readers had called up to ask whether Yogi Adityanath is the 21st or the 32nd Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh — upon reading the report on March 20, 2017 headlined “Development is my priority: U.P. CM” and the report headlined “Yogi Adityanath is CM of U.P.” (March 19, 2017). Uttar Pradesh has had 21 diferent Chief Ministers so far and Mr. Adityanath is the 21st Chief Minister. However, considering that some of the Chief Ministers have had multiple terms, this is the 32nd time a Chief Minister is being sworn in in the State. The Editorial page article headlined “The Yogi and the magic of numbers” (March 20, 2017) incorrectly referred to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s birthplace as Gorakhpur. Actually, Mr. Adityanath was born in Pauri Garhwal district. It is the policy of The Hindu to correct signiicant errors as soon as possible. Please specify the edition (place of publication), date and page. The Readers’ Editor’s office can be contacted by Telephone: +91-44-28418297/28576300 (11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday); Fax: +91-44-28552963; E-mail:[email protected]; Mail: Readers’ Editor, The Hindu, Kasturi Buildings, 859 & 860 Anna Salai, Chennai 600 002, India. All communication must carry the full postal address and telephone number. No personal visits. The Terms of Reference for the Readers’ Editor are on








Yogi Adityanath’s appointment as CM cements the relation between religion and the state under the BJP

Manjari Katju Yogi Adityanath, the new Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, is a wellknown figure in the State. He made headlines in the past with his fiery brand of communal politics, promotion of the most virulent and masculinist Hindutva, the ups and downs of his relations with his party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, and the activities of his Hindu Yuva Vahini (HYV). This is perhaps the first time in India that a head of a religious institution has become the head of a political institution. This chief ministerial appointment can thus be seen as a metaphor for the cementing of the institutional relation between religion and the state under the BJP.

Lord of the east In his mid-40s and a parliamentarian since the age of 26 from Gorakhpur, Mr. Adityanath is the mahant of the Gorakhnath mutt, or peeth, which for centuries has had a large following mainly among the marginal working sections. The mutt is the seat of the Nathpanthis, who were known for their reformist bent. In the Hindutva spectrum, if the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) occupies a position to the ‘right’ of the BJP, then Mr. Adityanath occupies a position which is far to the ‘right’ of even the late VHP leader Ashok Singhal. He would be placed on the same plane as Pravin Togadia, the VHP’s current chief, but unlike him, he is not confined to the VHP but is active in electoral politics through the BJP. There are several criminal cases pending against him. He has issued bigoted and hateful statements like “if given a chance, I will install Ganesh statues in every mosque” and “if they take one Hindu girl, we will take 100 Muslim girls”. He is also reported to have said that communal tensions in U.P. are because of the rise in the numbers of the minority community. His HYV has used slogans like ‘U.P. Gujarat banega/ Padrauna shuruat karega (U.P. will become Gujarat, with Padrauna making a beginning) in Gorakhpur and Padrauna. In Gorakhpur it used to be said by his supporters, “Gorakhpur mein rehna hoga to ‘Yogi, Yogi’ kehna hoga (To live in Gorakhpur you will

Strengthening grip: “No one knows how PM Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and the RSS decide these matters, but the legacy, personality and context provide some clues.” Mr. Shah, Mr. Adityanath, and Mr. Modi in Lucknow. RAJEEV BHATT *

have to chant ‘Yogi, Yogi’).” Mr. Adityanath personifies a politics which does not shy away from coercion, intimidation, threats and a ruthless unleashing of violence against opponents — a politics that cannot be categorised as anything but criminal. He represents the institutionalisation of rabble-rousing and brute force over informed debate and showcases a distinctly pugnacious strain of public activity and politics. He is akin to a feudal lord who maintains his grip on his people and his writ runs over his territory through a mixture of religion, terror and personal loyalty. Eastern U.P. is an area where such violence and criminality is not unusual. Gorakhpur in eastern U.P., the heartland of Mr. Adityanath’s politics, is a backward region with a struggling economy. Stressed agriculture and stunted industrial development make Gorakhpur and its adjoining regions the site of an incomplete social transformation, where the mafia and ganglords made the public arena an extremely violent and crime-infested terrain. The growth of these vigilante or protectionist groups and individuals became a marked feature of eastern U.P. While growing up, we often heard elders referring to the eastern areas as the badlands of U.P. Some of this powerful mafia channelised itself into political and religious institutions, established its dominance over

them, found social legitimacy and acceptance, and strengthened its foothold in mass politics. The abundant use of money and muscle power in this process goes without saying. Eastern U.P. has seen large-scale livelihood-seeking migration driven by poverty and unemployment. Trains like Avadh Express that connect Gorakhpur to Mumbai are symbols of this distress migration to metropolises in the hope of a better future, a fact depicted most poignantly by Muzaffar Ali in his film Gaman in 1978. That was in the 1970s but even today this migration to Maharashtra, Punjab, Delhi and Gujarat is a pronounced reality as reports point out.

Steeped in Hindutva Mr. Adityanath inherits the legacy of fiery politics of his guru and predecessor Mahant Avaidyanath, who passed away in 2014 and who represented a politics that combined aggressive majoritarianism, vilification of minorities, use of muscle power and protection rackets to sustain economic activity. He had a successful political career from Gorakhpur and joined the BJP in the 1990s. The senior mahant was at the forefront of the Ramjanmabhoomi movement, ever ready to launch an agitation for the construction of the proposed Ram temple at the site where the Babri mosque once stood.

His presence in the VHP’s Marg Darshak Mandal as a prominent and vocal sadhu along with Mahant Ramchandra Paramhans of Ayodhya and some others gave weightage to the VHP as possessing religious sanctity through the blessings of sadhus. The VHP in turn gave the sadhus and sants a larger socio-political platform where they could perform their sacred role and also shape political opinion within the mould of Hindutva. They were expected to give society a ‘Hindu’ perspective on socio-political matters. The dreams of some of them that Bharat would become the ‘jagat guru’ once more and regain its ‘glorious past’ under their leadership could be actualised, as their belief went, in the VHP-BJPRSS-steered Hindu rashtra. The Sangh Parivar brought this ‘ascetic force’ to a decisive political level which was mutually beneficial. Under Avaidyanath, the Gorakhnath mutt of the Naths moved closer to the Sangh Parivar, eventually sealing the partnership between the popular mutt and Hindutva. This was a time when many monastic orders located in U.P. became politicised through their involvement in the Ramjanmabhoomi movement.

Why he was picked What can be the factors that led to the elevation of Mr. Adityanath by the BJP as Chief Minister of U.P. over other front runners? No one knows how Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and the RSS decide these matters, but the legacy, the personality, the context give us some clues. Mr. Adityanath is a fiery Hindutva ideologue who has beaten anti-incumbency and consistently led BJP to success despite, or perhaps because of, the district’s underdevelopment. What also goes in his favour is that he can wield the stick to silence ‘antinationalism’ or ‘love jihad’ more effectively, being a sadhu. His politics has highlighted the neglect of eastern U.P. in economic development and his elevation would consolidate the BJP further in eastern UP. Special mention should also be made about his ‘handling of opponents’ which he does the way he thinks right. This would be useful for his party to establish its hold over a State known for its syncretic gangajamuni culture and Dalit and backward caste assertions. Manjari Katju is a professor at the University of Hyderabad

The return of BCCI’s prodigal child This is the most unpredictable season for the IPL

Desh Gaurav Sekhri

Everything relating to cricket in India has been uncertain this past year. It seems as if there is some conflict at every corner. Lost in the epic tussle between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Supreme Court is the prodigal child which caused all this conflict, the Indian Premier League (IPL), set to return for its tenth season on April 5. Just two weeks away, the IPL can no longer be ignored nor superseded by the greater good, namely reforming cricket. The IPL is critical to the continued dominance of the BCCI and Indian cricket, even if it’s not the most favoured format of many reformists. It is emblematic of modern-day cricket and its profitability. And while it has been the cause of much grief to cricket administrators and team owners, its structure and format allow for a seamless segue into the entertainment space for the sport, bridging the gap between passion for cricket and creating commercial avenues that help sustain it. This is why the IPL as a commercial venture continues to exceed expectations and demand. And as the bridge season for the league, a lot rides on its smoothly completing this edition and reaping the expected economic profit from 2018.

The issue of media rights tender The most relevant commercial decision and predictor that currently hangs in the balance for the IPL is the media rights tender for the broadcast and digital verticals for the seasons from 2018 to 2027. Expected to easily surpass the previous media rights agreement of $1.8 billion, the benchmark it may be looking to achieve is the English Premier League’s gigantic £5.1 billion arrangement with Sky and BT for the three-year period commencing 2016-2017. Professional sports leagues with a captive audience have in recent years signed comparable long-term media rights arrangements. The National Football League of the U.S., for instance, in 2014 entered into an eight-year arrangement for $4.95 billion. The IPL, at least until October 2016, appeared to be well on track for a similar arrangement, but the recent wobbles would have made many jittery. There have been many diversions leading up to season 10. The Supreme Court ruling on the BCCI and the subsequent appointment of the Council of Administrators (CoA)


to lead the board have understandably caused a delay in major decisions impacting the IPL. There has also been significant pushback from the State associations hosting IPL matches. They have demanded, unsuccessfully, payment for hosting IPL matches upfront. At the same time, the CoA, tasked with implementing the Justice Lodha Committee reforms, has finalised the Memorandum of Association and the Rules and Regulations of the BCCI, with some significant changes, all of which will be resisted by many of the State associations. The Supreme Court is tasked with hearing some of the challenges by various State associations, and what’s clear is that despite the official handover of leadership to the CoA, the implementation by and acquiescence of the State associations, including with respect to the IPL-specific aspects, is again uncertain. The International Cricket Council (ICC) too has witnessed its own drama. With a rollback of the ‘Big Three’ reforms, the CoA is handling a pitched battle at that end as well,


The fringe goes mainstream

as it fights to retain its revenue stream over the coming years. From the IPL’s perspective, this is encouraging because the CoA has not shown any inclination to forego revenues or profits for Indian cricket, a concern that stakeholders may have had given that the COA’s mandate is to reform cricket. There may, however, continue to be concerns over whether the IPL is given a relevant window unobstructed by important bilateral series scheduled by the ICC. A relatively uneventful player auction has indicated the importance of decisions taken next season, and the return of the suspended franchises of Chennai and Rajasthan in 2018 will add some flair and controversy. Add to this the game-changing potential of the media rights agreement, and ambivalence on how the CoA will approach and prioritise the IPL during the handover phase, and this is the most unpredictable season and post-season for the IPL in its short life cycle. The on-field achievements have, at least for the time being, taken a back seat. Desh Gaurav Sekhri is a sports attorney and author of ‘Not Out! The Incredible Story of the Indian Premier League’




Death of a isherman


CIA funds: Desai, Dinesh Singh deny charges

The humanitarian dimension to the longpending issue between India and Sri Lanka is highlighted again by K. Britjo’s killing

The activities of the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States in India, its ramifications, the money it had given to certain organisations in India and the part it played in the recent general elections to defeat certain members, who were stated to be “progressive” were the subject of several critical interpellations in the Lok Sabha to-day [March 20, New Delhi]. Opposition members alleged that two Cabinet Ministers — Mr. Morarji Desai and Mr. Dinesh Singh — were connected with some of the organisations that received funds from the C.I.A. Mr. Singh emphatically denied that the Youth Congress with which he was associated received any money from the C.I.A. He said that he was not in charge of the Youth Congress as wrongly stated by Mr. Madhu Limaye but was only a member of its central advisory committee.




At the fall of dusk on March 6, K. Britjo and his colleagues had set out from the Rameswaram ishing jetty in southern Tamil Nadu. They stayed in Indian waters, ishing of the coast until nightfall, but without much of a catch. It was dark when they decided to leave the safety of the waters patrolled by the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) and try trawling the rich Sri Lankan waters for seer ish and pompano. They struck it rich immediately, working silently under the cover of darkness. But they were soon challenged by Sri Lankan Navy oficers riding water scooters. When the ishermen rammed their big vessel into one of the scooters, one of the Navy men on a water scooter was thrown over. The Navy men rescued their mate and retreated, but all hell broke loose when they returned soon. They allegedly began to ire at the Tamil ishermen, who had, meanwhile, continued ishing. Britjo, 21, the youngest of the six, took a bullet in his neck, just above the left clavicle. His captain was forced to retreat, while trying to contact through his cell phone his leader on the Rameswaram shore, to seek the Coast Guard’s help. Nearly two hours passed, but no help came. Britjo succumbed to his injuries. His death has raised many eyebrows because this is the irst time in ive years that the Sri Lankan Navy has allegedly ired at Indian ishermen. The two countries had agreed not to harm ishermen who were caught in the other’s territory. What could have been the provocation? Did the ICG not respond fast enough? Could Britjo have survived if he had got timely medical help? Britjo’s captain blamed the Coast Guard. However, security agencies, the marine police of the Coastal Security Group and those knowledgeable about the style of ishing of the Rameswaram ishermen have a diferent story to tell. They point out that the GPS set handed over by the ishermen to the CSG contained no data pertaining to 2017 — an indication that an attempt was made to obfuscate the fact that they had indeed intruded into Sri Lankan waters deliberately. Moreover, the statements by Britjo’s surviving friends were not corroborative. While one said the iring took place at around 8.45 p.m., another said it was at around 9.45 p.m. One said the Navy came in water scooters, another said they had come in inlatable boats. One said they were in the company of other trawlers, another denied it. They all concurred, however, that the ishermen were in Indian waters near “Sethukaalvai” of Dhanushkodi when the iring took place. The captain insists that Britjo could have been saved, but doctors who performed a post-mortem examination of his body at 8.30 p.m. on March 7 said that the death occurred about 10 to 14 hours earlier, which meant that the SOS call from the captain would have been made only after he had reentered the Indian maritime boundary. Whether the inquiries would throw light on this is anybody’s guess. CM YK







Bystander Effect/ Psychology

Overweight and at risk

Sickened by the reports of people casually walking past the victim in hit-andruns? Social psychologists Bibb Latané and John Darley came up with the concept of ‘bystander effect’ to explain such behaviour, based on the murder of a woman, Kitty Genovese, in New York in 1964. Genovese was stabbed outside her apartment and bled to death; bystanders did not assist, let alone call the police. Latane and Darley attributed this behaviour to a combination of two factors: the perceived diffusion of responsibility, the belief that others might help; and social influence — taking cue from the inaction of others. CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC



‘Demonetisation and Black Money’ by C. Rammanohar Reddy: an extract

On the association between BMI and liver disease R. Prasad

Men who become overweight and obese from an early age are at a higher risk of developing severe liver disease and even liver cancer, according to a new study. The risk is increased when they develop diabetes. The study, “High BMI in late adolescence predicts future severe liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma: a national, population-based cohort study in 1.2 million men”, published in the journal Gut, is based on the data of more than 1.2 million Swedish men enlisted for military conscription between 1969 and 1996. Compared with men who have normal weight, those who are overweight (BMI more than 25 kg/sq m) have about 50% greater risk, and obese men (BMI more than 30 kg/sq m) are more than twice likely to develop liver disease and liver cancer in later life. An earlier study in-

volving nearly 50,000 men showed that there was an association between high BMI at an early age and increased risk of end-stage liver disease. It was based on data collected in 1969-70, when being overweight and obese were relatively uncommon, so the study was not statistically powered to confirm an association between high BMI and increased risk of end-stage liver disease. But the latest study found that people who have higher BMI even at an early age are at higher risk of developing severe liver disease as the “duration of being exposed to a high BMI” increases the risk. The greatest risk was for those with BMI greater than 30 kg/sq m. The nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is likely to be the “main driver” of severe liver disease in adolescent men, the study says. Alcohol consumption and smoking were taken into account and those

who had developed alcoholic liver disease were excluded from the final analysis. This did not change the overall finding. But the risk of severe liver disease was “highly affected” by development of type 2 diabetes during follow-up across all BMI categories. People with high BMI are at increased risk of developing diabetes, which in turn is associated with heightened risk of developing severe liver disease. Yet, increased risk of severe liver disease was seen even in overweight men who did not have diabetes. Therefore, even if the risk is increased in overweight and obese men who develop diabetes, the association of high BMI at an early age and severe liver disease at a later date “cannot solely be explained” by type 2 diabetes, the study says. The takeaway: there should be targeted intervention to prevent diabetes and more than normal BMI at an early age.

A case of theft An interesting case of theft was disposed of to-day (March 21, Egmore) by his Worship in which the accused was one Mahammad Yusoof. He went to Messrs. T. R. Tawker & Sons on the 5th instant at about noon and was taken round the jewelry and watches. He however went out without purchasing anything. The attender immediately noticed that one of the grooves of watches was empty and came out to see the accused who was standing under the portico. On the watch being found in the possession of the accused the matter was reported to the Police who at once arrested him. The case was heard on a previous occasion when the accused was asked to admit three previous convictions, the last of which was in Kumbakonum and for 2 years’ rigorous imprisonment followed by 3 years Police surveillance. The accused having then denied previous convictions the case was taken up to-day for proving his antecedents.











Vodafone, Idea merge to create giant As per the terms of the deal, Vodafone will own 45.1% of the merged entity and Idea will have a 26% stake, while the rest will be owned by public shareholders after the merger, expected to be completed next year. Idea Cellular has the right to acquire more shares from Vodafone under an agreed mechanism with a view to equalising the shareholdings over time. Vodafone Group Plc Chief Executive Vittorio Colao said: “The combined company will have the scale required to ensure sustainable consumer choice in a competitive market and to expand new technologies — such as mobile money services — that have the potential to transform daily life for every Indian.” Vodafone India has been valued at ₹82,800 crore ($12.4 billion), while Idea has been valued at ₹72,200

crore ($10.8 billion) by independent valuers, said a company statement. It added that the new firm will enjoy substantial synergies on cost and capital expenditure synergies with an estimated net present value of approximately ₹67,000 crore ($10 billion) after integration costs and spectrum liberalisation payments, and have an estimated run-rate savings of ₹14,000 crore ($2.1 billion) on an annual basis by the fourth full year post completion. Shares of Idea Cellular declined, closed down 10.6% to ₹97.6 in a weak Mumbai market on Monday, giving the Aditya Birla Group firm a market capitalisation of ₹35,170 crore. Shares of Vodafone Group Plc. were trading marginally up at £211.5, at the time of writing, on the London Stock Exchange.

Filling HC vacancies on a war footing: CJI The petition had in the past year witnessed many a volatile hearing in the Supreme Court during the tenure of Chief Justice Khehar’s immediate predecessor, Justice T.S. Thakur, who had, in open court, accused the government of delaying the appointment of judges to bring the judiciary to a grinding halt. Dealing with another petition suggesting various measures to cut pendency in the subordinate and High Courts, Chief Justice Khehar’s Bench transferred the petition to an internal judicial committee for its perusal. “A committee was constituted recently and we have from time to time, depending on the different High Courts, adopted various measures to expedite dis-

posal of cases and their streamlining... We have invited all the Chief Justices of the HCs to sit together and devise the ways and means. Some measures have already been taken. We will site your petition to the committee for its consideration,” Chief Justice Khehar said. The total sanctioned strength of judicial officers in district and subordinate courts is 21,320 as on June 30, 2016. Out of these, 16,383 posts have been filled, leaving 4,937 vacancies as on November 2016. The National Judicial Data Grid shows that as on November 27, 2016, the pendency in district courts is 2.7 crore, and 10% of this pile-up — 23,23,781 cases — are pending for over 10 years.

Clearance for Neutrino project suspended “The claim is that the site is within 4.9 km of the Madhikettan Shola Natural Park. This is very close to the guideline limit of 5 km. So we have to verify that the project actually falls within this distance. If it does, we will surely get the clearance as instructed. We have no intention of flouting any rules,” said D. Indumathi, Spokesperson of the INO, Faculty at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences. Sekhar Basu, Chairperson of the Department of Atomic Energy said that as he had not seen the judg-

ment, he could not comment. He, however, added that if the INO cannot come up anywhere in India, the people would just lose in terms of science. Dr. Basu also dismissed fears that there was a plan to store nuclear waste in the tunnels of the INO. “It is really a pity that such a fear exists, and it is a story without a basis,” he said. Dr. Indumathi also said, “The judge has requested to conduct the case expeditiously. So we are hopeful that things will move quickly now.”

BJP-led govt. wins trust vote in Manipur

Not an RSS choice: Venkaiah Union Minister says Adityanath was chosen CM by the newly elected MLAs ted by anyone. After speaking to a large number of MLAs, the name of Yogi Adityanath was arrived at,” he said.

Special Correspondent NEW DELHI

Three days after the BJP Legislature Party made the surprise choice of Yogi Adityanath, a five-time MP from Gorakhpur, as Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, party leaders have been asserting that it is a popular choice with both its national leadership and MLAs. Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting M. Venkaiah Naidu, who was one of the Central observers appointed by the party’s Parliamentary Board to conduct the Legislature Party meeting in Lucknow, insisted that the ideological mothership of the Sangh Parivar, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, had nothing to do with the choice of Mr. Adityanath. “It is the legislators under the parliamentary board that decided the leader. That is

Venkaiah Naidu the system in the BJP. RSS never interferes or suggests any names [for the chief minister’s post],” Mr. Naidu said. “When I left for Lucknow from Delhi on Saturday morning it was with an open mind and no name sugges-

Special flight On Saturday, however, Mr. Adityanath had been brought to Delhi on a special chartered flight to meet BJP chief Amit Shah, after which his name came into contention. “He was in Delhi to be consulted on his views on the matter, whether he had any suggestions, just like other senior leaders pertaining to the State had been consulted,” said Mr. Naidu as an explanation. He asserted that Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha, who had till then been considered the front runner in the race, had not been in contention. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, sources said, had been approached as a

possible candidate, but he refused. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that if Uttar Pradesh develops, then India develops, and the focus is on sab ka saath, sab ka vikas,” Mr. Naidu said.

No caste concern “[Chief Minister] Adityanath knows the spirit of the Prime Minister’s statement. Yogi Adityanath is above caste but, unfortunately, some people are attributing caste to him. So it is very unfair on the part of anybody including our political rivals to criticise him without giving a fair opportunity to the newly elected Chief Minister,” he said. Describing the new Chief Minister as a “yogi” and above caste and creed, Mr. Naidu said, “he has left his family 22 years ago, working for the society, so how come you attribute any caste to him?”

In Bishahra, a night of revelry Kin of those arrested in Dadri case believe the CM will ‘understand their plight’ Mohammad Ali Meerut

On Sunday, when Yogi Adityanath took oath as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Bishahra, a Thakur-dominated village, danced and celebrated with a DJ in attendance late into the night. The residents believed they had reasons for revelry, and the participants included members of the Gau Raksha Hindu Dal (Save cow Hindu protection force), a cow vigilante outfit active in Dadri. The family members of the youths arrested on charges of lynching Mohammad Akhlaq, accusing him of cow slaughter and storing beef, were happy as they saw Mr. Adityanath as

someone who “would understand their plight”. “It is for the first time in the past year-and-a-half that we felt that our plight would be felt and understood by those in power. Yogiji [Mr. Adityanath] has supported Hindus, and he has been a constant source of support, always present in the background, when this incident happened,” Om Kumar, an electrician in Bishahra, told The Hindu. His sons, Saurav and Gaurav, were arrested on charges of killing Akhlaq. Gaurav, a minor, is out on bail. All the accused, except one, arrested on charges of killing Akhlaq, belong to the dominant Thakur community.

Ved Nagar, the head of Gau Raksha Hindu Dal, told The Hindu on the phone that the “family members of Akhlaq’s murder accused, had met Adityanath twice in Delhi after the incident and he had promised to extend all possible support to them”.

A matter of pride “It is a matter of pride that a cow protector like Yogiji has become the Chief Minister. Now we expect justice to be done,” Mr. Nagar said. He said Mr. Adityanath’s appointment “gives hope that the accused in the Akhlaq murder case would soon get bail”. The villagers now see a “ray of hope” because Mr. Adityanath had stood

with the accused. In the aftermath of Akhlaq’s lynching, he demanded that the 18 youths arrested in the case be released. Mr. Adityanath, who belongs to the Thakur community, had demanded that the family of Akhlaq be arrested on charges of cow slaughter and eating beef, and the compensation given to them be withdrawn. The outfit established by Mr. Adityanath, Hindu Yuva Vahini, had offered guns to “harassed” Hindus of Bishahra. Fifteen of the 18 accused in the lynching case are in jail. Two of them are out on bail as they were minors. One of the accused died in judicial custody.

The meteoric rise of Swati Singh She’s one of 5 women Ministers in U.P. Omar Rashid Lucknow

Eight months is a long time in politics and the rise of Swati Singh shows you just that. Ms. Singh (38) was one of the five women ministers who took oath on Sunday as the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government took charge in Uttar Pradesh. She was appointed as a Minister of State (Independent charge). Till July last year, little was known about Ms. Singh, a former lecturer-turnedhomemaker, till BJP leader Daya Shankar Singh, her husband, kicked off a major storm after he used derogatory and sexist language against BSP chief Mayawati while alleging that she auctioned election ticket. The incident was widely condemned and an embarrassed BJP, promptly expelled Mr. Singh for six years even as the leader later apologised for the remarks.The incident injected fresh blood into BSP’s core Dalit cadre and Ms. Mayawati’s party took to the streets in protest. However, the scenario quickly changed when senior BSP leaders, including Ms. Mayawati’s lieutenant Naseemuddin Siddiqui were accused of using sexist references for Ms. Singh and their minor daughter. That is when Ms. Singh shot into limelight and a case was also registered against the BSP leaders, including Ms. Mayawati. Since that day, it has been an upward curve for her. She was promoted by the BJP in a bid to neutralise the damage done due to Mr. Singh’s remarks against Ms. Mayawati. A Dalit-Thakur caste polarisation matrix also gained currency as Ms. Singh launched a campaign

Asks them to ensure implementation of the BJP manifesto Staff Reporter

Vijaita Singh


New Delhi

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday directed officials to declare their assets within 15 days, a day after issuing a similar order to his Ministers. At his first interaction with senior officials in Lok Bhawan, the Chief Minister also instructed them to ensure implementation of the BJP’s ‘Sankalp Patra’ (manifesto). “It was an introductory meeting with U.P. government officials. The officials were told that the Sankalp Patra has to be implemented,” Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, who was also present, told reporters after the meeting. The Chief Minister asked officials to declare both their immovable and movable assets, Mr. Maurya said. The meeting was attended by around 65 senior officials. Islamic seminary Darul

Last year, when tension between India and Pakistan was at its peak following the terror attacks at the Pathankot airbase and at an Army camp in Uri, India repatriated 10 Pakistani prisoners, according to information obtained under the Right to Information Act. The repatriation of Pakistani prisoners who have completed their sentence is not unusual and has been in practice since 2008 when the two countries signed a joint agreement. Since May 2014, when the NDA government came to power, 80 Pakistani prisoners have been deported. Last year, the BJP attacked the Congress as it was in power when Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist Shahid Latif was freed in 2010. After his release, Latif went on to plan the Pathankot terror attack on January 2 last year.

On the job: U.P. CM Yogi Adityanath, lanked by Deputy CMs Dinesh Sharma (left) and Keshav Prasad Maurya, at a meeting in Lucknow on Monday. RAJEEV BHATT *

Uloom Deoband has expressed the hope that as the Chief Minister, Mr. Adityanath will take everyone along. Maulana Qasim Nomani of the seminary said the Darul Uloom was a nonpolitical institution and had no affiliation to any political party. “Becoming the Chief Minister has increased Mahant [priest] Adityanath’s job. He needs to fulfil constitutional responsibilities as the CM and should take everyone along,” said

Maulana Nomani. Another important seminary in Deoband, Darul Uloom Zakariya, also echoed these views. “The electorate of U.P. have given an unprecedented mandate to the BJP... Yogi Adityanath has taken the oath of taking every one along. He should not do anything which hurts anyone,” Mufti Arshad Farooqui told the media. (With PTI inputs from Lucknow)

The reply also said that as on January 1, 287 Pakistanis were lodged in jails across India. “Whenever a Pakistani prisoner completes sentence, he can be sent back if Pakistan confirms that the prisoner is their citizen. There have been instances when Pakistan has refused to own up its people. The repatriations were possible only because India could prove their nationality,” said a Home Ministry official. He was arrested in 1994 in Jammu and Kashmir for an attack on the Hazratbal shrine and was repatriated to Pakistan after he completed his jail sentence. “During 2016, 10 Pakistani prisoners were repatriated to Pakistan. The Pakistani prisoners were arrested under the Official Secret Act, the Foreigners Act and the Arms Act,” said a reply by the Home Ministry to an RTI request filed by The Hindu.



gress MLA Th Shyamkumar Singh, along with the lone Trinamool Congress MLA T. Robindro Singh and Shyam Karan of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), has extended support to the BJP-led combination. The Congress, which had won 28 seats in the Assembly polls, is left with the support of 27 MLAs. Meanwhile, Mr. Robindro Singh has said his decision to support the BJP-led combine was taken after consultation with the party leadership. “ Since I am the only MLA they left the decision to me,” the 45-yearold MLA told The Hindu.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) should register a regular criminal case against Rolls-Royce and its middlemen for paying kickbacks to secure Indian defence deals, lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan has said in a letter to CBI chief Alok Kumar Verma. Mr. Bhushan drew Mr. Verma’s attention to an extensive London court judgment that captures in detail the alleged corruption perpetuated by the global engineering giant.

Independent probe “We are considering filing a PIL petition,” Mr. Bhushan told The Hindu. Mr. Verma was yet to respond to his letter sent on March 8, he said. “Once it has been con-

firmed by the Court in London that the above-named company had made payment of commissions to the intermediaries/agents while entering into defence contracts with India, it is imperative that an independent investigation by registering a regular case is conducted here to find out who were the intermediaries and beneficiaries in defence contracts of RollsRoyce with India so that consequent legal action could be taken against them,” Mr. Bhushan has said in the letter to the CBI chief. The letter comes in light of the January 17 order of the Crown Court, London which has recorded that Rolls Royce has been engaging middlemen in various defence contracts with India, in violation of rules prohibiting use of

Prashant Bhushan middlemen. The judgement is part of the Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) between Rolls Royce and Serious Fraud Office, U.K., under which the company has agreed to pay a fine of £671 million for its mistakes. The London court judg-

ment had found “concealment or obfuscation of the use of intermediaries involved in its defence business in India between 2005 and 2009 when the use of intermediaries was restricted.” The judgement listed the Indian Air Force contract for the Advanced Jet Trainers and Navy’s Sea Harrier contract among those in which middlemen were involved in India. While the DPA does not name the middlemen for the company, Mr. Bhushan points out that Sudhir Choudhrie, who figures in CBI’s ‘undesirable contact men’ list, was among those arrested by SFO, U.K. in February 2014 “for their alleged involvement as middlemen for Rolls Royce in various contracts.”

Judicial committee In 2008, India and Pakistan had set up a Judicial Committee on Prisoners. Four retired judges from both the countries were appointed and the mandate of the committee was to seek early repatriation of those prisoners in the respective countries who have completed their prison sentences and also to ensure humane treatment to all the prisoners.

Safety of Indians in U.S. irst priority: Sushma Special Correspondent

Special Correspondent

“The Opposition and ruling combination should work together in the interest of the people,” Chief Minister N. Biren Singh said after winning the trust vote. Mr. Biren Singh was sworn in as the first Chief Minister of a BJP-led government in Manipur on March 16. Before the swearing-in, both the BJP and the Congress had camped their legislators in separate locations. The BJP, which has 21 elected representatives, has the support of four MLAs each from the Naga People’s Front and the National People’s Party. One Con-

Luck smiles on Raza Another interesting story is that of Minister Mohsin Raza. The BJP did not field a single Muslim candidate in the election but picked Mr. Raza, who took oath as a Minister of State, in its Council of Ministers. Mr. Raza is a member of the minuscule but influential Shia community, and does not hold any political office. Little known in State politics, he enjoys the image of the socialite in Lucknow, and had tried his luck at modelling and acting in the past. Mr. Raza’s father-inlaw runs one of the oldest crockery shops in Lucknow —Azim Ali and Sons. The family enjoys a good rapport with Union Minister Rajnath Singh, who is Lucknow MP. The number of Muslims elected to the Assembly, however, has dropped from a significant 68 in 2012 to around two dozen this time.

This has been a practice since a pact was signed in 2008

Prashant Bhushan asks CBI to look into judgment passed by a court in London


against the BSP. Ms. Singh earned herself a ticket from Lucknow’s Sarojini Nagar, a seat the BJP had never won before. Former minister and incumbent Sharda Pratap Shukla, who fought on an RLD ticket, lost his deposit as Ms. Singh secured the seat with a handsome tally of 1.08 lakh vote.

Declare assets within 15 India repatriated 10 days, U.P. CM tells oicials Pak. prisoners last year

‘File criminal case against Rolls-Royce’ Momentous occasion: Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh addressing the Assembly in Imphal on Monday. PTI

Swati Singh


The Strategic partnership with the United States is secondary to the welfare and security of the U.S.-based Indian-origin people, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Monday. Speaking in the Rajya Sabha in response to questions from the Left parties, Ms. Swaraj did not rule out racial angle to the attacks that have taken place in recent weeks in various parts of the United States. “For us, strategic partnership with the United States is secondary and the first priority is to ensure safety and security of the Indians and members of the Indianorigin people in the United States. For the government, safety of the Indian diaspora comes first,” said Ms. Swa-

raj. “We are continuously in talks with the U.S. and our missions are in contact with local Indian communities. We will continue to remain alert to any challenges to Indians living abroad,” Ms. Swaraj said, emphasising that she was voicing the opinion of the Indian government regarding the recent attacks that killed two Indians and injured two others.

Majority sentiment “I have not ruled out racial aspect. Both in the case of Srinivas [Kuchibhotla] and others I have urged them to investigate the racial angle. But I believe that these attacks do not represent the majority sentiment of the American people to the Indian community living there,” she said. A ND-ND








Justice Karnan acting recklessly, says Rohatgi

Kishenganga of the menu in Indus talks

China irked at Dalai Lama’s meet

But India, Pak. hold ‘frank discussions’ on other schemes

China on Monday slammed India for allowing the Dalai Lama to inaugurate a Buddhist conference at Rajgir in Bihar, saying that it was “strongly dissatisfied” with the move. “Recently, India ignored China’s solemn representations and strong opposition and insisted on inviting the 14th Dalai Lama to attend an international Buddhist conference organised by the Indian government,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said. She said that the Dalai Lama—the Tibetan leader in exile—also shared the stage with Indian government officials and delivered a speech. “China is strongly dissatisfied and resolutely opposed to this,” Ms. Hua observed. Next month, the Dalai Lama is also expected to visit Arunachal Pradesh— the state at the heart of the Sino-Indian dispute in the eastern sector.



Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi on Monday said Calcutta High Court judge Justice C.S. Karnan, who has refused to present himself before the Supreme Court in in a contempt case, was being “reckless”, and was making “scurrilous” charges against fellow judges. PTI


Mayawati to move court against ‘EVM tampering’ NEW DELHI

The BSP will move court against the alleged tampering of EVMs during the U.P. Assembly elections in the next two-three days, its chief Mayawati has said. Ms. Mayawati charged that “the BJP won elections by rigging EVMs.” Earlier, the EC had rejected her charge and called her demand for a repoll using ballot papers untenable. PTI

Satellite images to check illegal mining: govt. NEW DELHI

Satellite imagery is being used to check illegal mining, which is a major problem, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar informed the Rajya Sabha on Monday. He said that river mapping through satellites and licensing of up to 5 hectares of sand mining at the district level is being undertaken. To keep track of trucks transporting sand, they are being issued bar-coded receipts, he said.PTI

Tribal areas to be opened for traffic soon SHIMLA

The tribal snowbound areas of Lahaul and Spiti and Pangi, cut off from rest of the State due to heavy snowfall during the winter for over four months, would be opened to vehicular traffic soon as the snow clearance operations are in full swing, officials said. PTI

India and Pakistan began discussions on the Indus Water Commission on Monday after 22 months amid optimism that the meeting may lead to resumption of the composite dialogue between the neighbours. After the first day of talks, officials on both sides said the meeting was held in a cordial manner, and they had frank discussions. P.P. Saxena, Indus Water Commissioner of India, is leading a 10-member delegation in talks with his Pakistani counterpart, Mirza Asif Baig.

Sanctity of treaty Prior to the meeting, Pakistan’s Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif expressed the hope that both countries would respect the sanctity of the Indus Water Treaty. Because of the Pakistani position, Kishenganga and

India’s milestone: A ile photo of the headrace tunnel of the Kishenganga hydel project at Bandipora. NISSAR AHMAD *

Ratle were not discussed in the latest round of talks. But the designs of the Pakal Dul, Lower Kalnai and Miyar hydroelectric plants were taken up. The talks will conclude in Islamabad on Tuesday, though the earlier plan was to do so in Lahore. The talks were suspended in May 2015 after the Pakistani Commissioner objected to the designs of the Kishenganga and the Ratle

hydropower projects of India. Last year, the secretaries of power of both countries agreed to third-party resolution through the World Bank. But the World Bank announced late last year that Pakistan and India should hold bilateral talks. Following the World Bank’s reluctance to pass an order, both sides would meet in Washington in April on the Ratle project.

ED seeks to attach Naik’s assets worth ₹18.37 crore

Atul Aneja BEIJING

Mutual funds, a school building, bank accounts attached Special Correspondent Mumbai

The Enforcement Directorate on Monday submitted an application to a Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court seeking permission to attach assets registered in the name of Islamic preacher Dr. Zakir Naik and organisations headed by him. The assets total ₹18.37 crore. Called a provisional attachment, the application seeks to take control of movable and immovable assets as part of the ED’s action under PMLA. According to ED sources, mutual funds worth ₹9.41 crore in the Islamic Research Foundation’s (IRF) name, a godown worth ₹68 lakh belonging to Harmony Media Private Limited and a school building worth ₹7.05 crore run by the Islamic Education Trust in Chennai were provisionally attached. “We have also provisional attached five IRF accounts in various banks with a total

Modi to fast-track his visit to Oman Nation not on PM’s itinerary so far, but recent developments have made a trip imperative Kallol Bhattacherjee NEW DELHI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to visit Oman within weeks. Planning for the visit has been under way since Oman’s ruler Sultan Qaboos on March 2 nominated his cousin Sayyid Asad Bin Tariq Al Said as the Deputy Prime Minister in charge of international affairs, sources told The Hindu on Monday. The sources said the nomination of Sayyid Asad had given a clear signal that he was the most likely successor of Sultan Qaboos,

Narendra Modi who has been the ruler of the strategically located Gulf country since taking over power in a coup in 1970. Sultan Qaboos has been ailing

for some years. A source familiar with the government’s policy on Oman said the visit was necessary to boost bilateral ties, especially since Oman had been a steady partner of India in the region. “It is true that we have moved slowly in Oman. India had set up the first bilateral infrastructure fund with Oman, but the project has not moved as fast as expected. That apart, they had asked to give them food security by signing an MoU with India for assured supplies of wheat, rice and

100 held in raids on Ghaziabad hotels

Goa, Manipur rock Rajya Sabha again

Two abattoirs sealed in Allahabad

Digvijaya says democracy murdered

Press Trust of India

Two slaughterhouses were sealed by the authorities here on Sunday night, a development that comes within hours of BJP leader Yogi Adityanath taking over as the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister. Almost an year ago, the National Green Tribunal had ordered closure of these two slaughterhouses, an official said. “We sealed one slaughterhouse each in Atala locality of the city and at Naini, last night. The NGT had ordered closure of these in May, 2016”, the district Veterinary Officer Dheeraj Goyal said. He said the step was taken “following reports that though these slaughterhouses had been shown as shut on paper, business was running there as usual.” Mr. Goyal said the NGT had recommended closure of another slaughterhouse in the area but as there have been no reports of illegal business, his department had requested the police to keep a watch.

Press Trust of India

Special Correspondent

Ghaziabad (UP)


Around hundred men and women were arrested after they were allegedly found in objectionable positions during raids on hotels on railway road in Bazariya area of the city on Monday, the police said. About 14 police officials concerned, including a DSP, of the area have been transferred post the raids and an inquiry launched against Station House Officer (SHO) of G T Road Kotwali, officials said. Acting on a tip-off, the raids were conducted under supervision of deputy superintendent of police Saloni Agarawal and SHO of Mahila Thana Aarti Soni in the hotels suspected to be running sex racket. The programme of the raids was not shared with the local police station and its officials, senior superintendent of police Deepak Kumar said. During the search, the girls and youths were found in objectionable conditions and all of them were held, he said.

Congress leader Digvijaya Singh raised the question of the role of the Governors of Goa and Manipur in government formation in the two States again in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, seeking to know the status of the substantive motion under Rule 168 that he had moved on Friday. Mr. Singh requested that the matter be taken up without delay. “We would request you to kindly look into it. How democracy has been murdered in Manipur and Goa,” Mr. Singh said amid interruptions. “The role of the Governor has been totally unjustified, has gone against the Constitution, has gone against the principles of democracy ... has gone against the guidelines of the Sarkaria Commission. In a fractured mandate, it has been the practice to invite the single largest party for the first time.” Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien said that his request was “under consideration”.

Digvijaya Singh

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad requested Mr. Kurien to take the expression “murder of democracy” off the records. It, however, stayed on the records when the verbatim proceedings were uploaded on the Rajya Sabha website. Congress leader Anand Sharma wondered if the treasury benches would now decide what the Opposition would speak. Mr. Prasad said “the in-house problem of the Congress Party should not be shifted to the Governor”. Mr. Singh raised the issue even on Friday, when Mr. Kurien had reminded him that the role of the Governor could be discussed only under a substantive motion.

sugar and they expressed willingness to invest in an Indian cooperative anywhere of our choosing. These options need to be pursued,” said the source explaining that the agenda for the visit should take these pending issues into consideration.

Strong partnership India and Oman has a strong strategic partnership and Oman was one of the first Gulf countries to warm to the Modi government in the summer of 2014. Both countries formed a joint front against terrorism in October

2014. However, Mr. Modi has not visited the country, though he has been to the UAE and Saudi Arabia and has hosted the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. India had tried to host Sultan Qaboos, who was partially educated in India, as the chief guest of the Republic Day parade in 2012 but the visit could not take place. But recent trends showed a warming up in ties as Oman hosted the IndiaOman Partnership Conference in Muscat on December 14, 2016, which was attended by Minister of State for External Affairs M. J. Akbar.

The oices of the Islamic Research Foundation in Dongri. *


balance of ₹1.23 crore under PMLA,” a senior ED officer said. In November 2016, the ED registered a case against Dr. Naik and several IRF functionaries under PMLA after finding evidence of money laundering. The ED's probe had revealed that money raised through Dr. Naik's speeches, which were found to be provocative in nature in a separate inquiry by the State and

Central governments, had been routed through several bank accounts. The money was used to create communal harmony among the youth of a specific community, said sources. The ED, based on an NIA investigation report, had conducted raids at several premises including those of the IRF last year and seized evidence, including documents and electronic devices.

ED seizes ₹3 crore in Indian, foreign currencies Accused has links with Moin Qureshi Special Correspondent New Delhi

The ED has seized over ₹3 crore in Indian and foreign currencies, in searches here on the premises of a “hawala operator” allegedly indulging in illegal transactions in several countries. The suspect is under investigation for his links with meat exporter Moin Qureshi. The CBI and the Directorate have registered cases against Mr. Qureshi, also naming former CBI director

A.P. Singh as an accused, for allegedly accepting money to get favours from public servants holding key posts. The ED searches were conducted on the premises of Damini Travel Related Services and Damini Forex Limited, located at Greater Kailash-I in the Capital, which were allegedly involved in hawala operations in India and several other countries. According to the agency, Dharminder Singh Anand is the owner of these companies.


Trivendra stresses cow welfare Says the Uttarakhand government is committed to implementing the law areas mandatory. Technologies such as radio-frequency identification must be used for the identification of cows. Mr. Rawat said he would focus on the implementation of the Modi government’s flagship programmes such as Namami Gange, of which he is the convener, and Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

Staff Reporter Dehradun

Two days after taking oath, the new Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Trivendra Rawat, on Monday, said his government was “committed” to cow protection in the State. “Our government will ensure the implementation of the Cow Protection Act that was formulated during the BJP’s previous term [in Uttarakhand] in 2007,” Mr. Rawat said in his first formal media address after becoming Chief Minister. The Uttarakhand Protection of Cow Progeny Act, 2007 prohibits cow slaughter and the sale or possession of CM YK

Trivendra Rawat beef. The Act also regulates the transport of cow progeny. The Act makes registration of cow progeny in urban

Ganga clean-up “As the convener of the Namami Gange programme I have implemented schemes for Ganga clean-up in the five States through which the river passes. Since Uttarakhand is where the

Ganga starts, it is our responsibility to keep the river clean and we will focus on it,” he said. During the day, Mr. Rawat and other Ministers took part in a cleanliness drive at different places across the State. “We wanted to give a message to the people of the State that we are committed to attaining a Swachh Bharat,” Mr. Rawat said. There would be “transparency” in the functioning of his government and he would ensure a corruptionfree and “clean” administration. A ND-ND








FBI conirms Russia probe Director Comey says Trump campaign’s alleged Moscow links being investigated

Fake news, says Trump

Agence France-Presse Washington

Mandela’s eldest grandchild shuns ANC JOHANNESBURG

Nelson Mandela’s eldest grandchild has publicly ditched the ruling African National Congress party over its damaging and seemingly endless scandals. “I will not be voting for something that does not resonate with me anymore, and does not resonate for what granddad and his comrades fought for,” Ndileka Mandela (52) told the News24 website. AFP

China warns U.S. against arms sales to Taiwan BEIJING

China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a press briefing on Monday that Beijing was firmly opposed to U.S. arm sales to Taiwan, amid reports that Washington is preparing a large shipment of advanced weaponry. AFP

Pope seeks forgiveness over Rwanda genocide VATICAN CITY

Pope Francis on Monday begged for God’s forgiveness for “the sins and failings of the Church and its members” implicated in the 1994 Rwanda genocide. The pontiff “conveyed his profound sadness, and that of the Holy See and of the Church”, the Vatican said in a statement after a meeting between the Pope and Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame. AFP

Pak.’s first woman Foreign Secretary takes charge ISLAMABAD

Pakistan’s first woman Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua on Monday assumed charge. Ms. Janjua was appointed last month in place of Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry who was appointed as Ambassador to the U.S. PTI

FBI Director James Comey confirmed for the first time on Monday that the agency is investigating Russian interference in last year’s presidential election and notably Moscow’s possible collusion with President Donald Trump’s campaign. He also rejected Mr. Trump’s claim that his predecessor Barack Obama wiretapped his Trump Tower in New York, saying both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department had no evidence to support such allegations. The explosive testimony in the House Intelligence Committee was the first public hearing into both controversies.

Probe dated to July 2016 The FBI director opened the hearing with a bombshell — confirming long-standing reports that his agency is conducting a counterintelligence probe into the Russian government’s covert effort to steer the 2016 presidential vote. “And that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia's efforts,” he said. Mr. Comey dated the probe back to July 2016, when the government became aware that Democratic party computers and communications had been broken into by Russia-linked hackers. Documents stolen in that break-in were released in the final weeks of the campaign to embarrass Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, who was the frontrunner going into the November 8 vote.

Britain to trigger Brexit process on March 29 U.K. would be the irst country in EU to trigger Article 50 Vidya Ram

On ire: A igurine representing Trump burns on the last night of the Fallas Festival in Valencia, Spain, on Sunday. AFP *

Mr. Comey told the panel on Monday that Moscow’s effort, allegedly directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, had clearly sought to damage Ms. Clinton’s bid and boost Trump. “Putin hated Secretary Clinton so much that the flip side of that coin was he had a clear preference to the person running against the person he hated so much,” Mr. Comey said. Still, Mr. Comey and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers declined to comment on whether the probe had found that contacts between Trump aides and advisers and Russian officials during the campaign amounted to collusion, citing the need to protect an ongoing investigation. Republican committee chair Devin Nunes opened the hearing by saying the panel had “seen no evidence to date that officials from any campaign conspired with

Norway is the world’s happiest country

Russian agents”. But Adam Schiff, the Democratic vice chair of the committee, detailed a list of alleged links and communications between the Trump team and Russia. “Is it possible that all of these events and reports are completely unrelated, and nothing more than an entirely unhappy coincidence? Yes, it is possible,” he said. “But it is also possible, maybe more than possible, that they are not coincidental, not disconnected and not unrelated, and that the Russians used the same techniques to corrupt U.S. persons that they have employed in Europe and elsewhere." The White House said that position supported their view that the Russian issue is being overplayed by Democrats and the media. As Mr. Comey was testifying, a senior administration official said in a written

Bangladesh to mark genocide day

Agence France-Presse



The British government is set to officially kick-start the process of exiting the European Union next week. A spokesperson for Downing Street confirmed that the process would commence on March 29, enabling the government to keep to its previously announced deadline of the end of March. Britain would be the first country in the EU to trigger Article 50 — a section of the Lisbon Treaty that sets out how a member state could commence the process, with negotiations on the European side conducted by the Council, following consent of the European Parliament. A country will cease to be a member of the EU two years after the triggering of Article 50 unless it reaches an agreement with the European Council to extend that period. The triggering of Article 50 will take place after a crucial meeting of European heads of government in Rome over the weekend, for the 60th anniversary of the

President Donald Trump on Monday shot down as “fake news” allegations that his campaign worked with Russia. Former national intelligence director “James Clapper and others stated that there is no evidence Potus colluded with Russia. This story is FAKE NEWS and everyone knows it!” he wrote on Twitter. “The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign. Big advantage in Electoral College & lost!” he added. His comments came hours before FBI chief testified before Congress. statement: “There is NO EVIDENCE of Trump-Russia collusion and there is NO EVIDENCE of a Trump-Russia scandal.” Officials also soundly repudiated the allegation Mr. Trump made earlier this month Mr. Obama had wiretapped his Manhattan base of operations and residence, Trump Tower.

No evidence of wiretap “With respect to the President’s tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, I have no information that supports those tweets,” Mr. Comey told a public hearing by the House Intelligence Committee. “The Department of Justice has asked me to share with you that the answer is the same for the Department of Justice and all its components. The department has no information that supports those tweets.”

Rome Treaties at which leaders are expected to adopt a declaration on their vision for the future of the union. Donald Tusk, the head of the European Council, said that within 48 hours of the triggering of Article 50, he would present draft guidelines to the remaining 27 member states. Britain has set out the parameters of what it hopes to negotiate in a white paper earlier this year, making it clear that it plans to end freedom of movement from the EU and would be willing to end its membership of the single market, and the European customs union to achieve this end.

Legislative challenge While the two-clause Brexit bill that allowed the government to start exit talks may have passed through Parliament smoothly, the U.K. will face a “legislative challenge” with the reams of legislation that will be necessary, leaving little space for non-Brexit related legislation, the Institute for Government said in a report published on Monday. “Making a success

of Brexit will require a large volume of legislation to be passed through Parliament against a hard deadline.” It estimates a total of 15 pieces of legislation, on top of the Great Repeal Bill, that would enshrine aspects of EU legislation that Britain wanted to retain into British laws ahead of Brexit taking place. The announcement of the timing for triggering Article 50 is likely to offer markets and businesses, preparing for Britain’s exit, a degree of certainty. “Its clear that the U.K. and the EU are now locked into the process... the ifs and buts and doubts have been put to one side, its going to happen,” said Manoj Ladwa, CEO of India Inc, and a former adviser to the electoral campaign of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “The question is now how prepared are the U.K. and the EU to have a strong and mature conversation which will result in a win win situation for people and businesses, and what Indian businesses want is certainty, clarity and ultimately that their voice is heard.”

Pakistan reopens Afghan border Mubashir Zaidi Islamabad

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday ordered the reopening of border with Afghanistan after 34 days of blockade with a two-day relief in between. The border was sealed by Pakistan following a spate of deadly attacks in the country which the officials blamed on militants belonging to banned organisations hiding on the Afghan side of the border.

Afghanistan denied the allegations. Both countries also shared a list of terrorists. Thousands of Afghan citizens were stranded in Pakistan due to the ban who were later allowed to return after border was temporarily reopened on March 8 and 9. Traders on both sides spoke against the ban and protested over loss due to the border closure. “I am ordering immediate reopening of Pak-Afghan border as a goodwill ges-

ture,” Prime Minister Sharif said in an official statement. He said Pakistan still has reservations that terrorists from Afghan soil are planning and conducting attacks in Pakistan but he did not want the people on both sides to be affected who are linked culturally, historically and religiously. Mr. Sharif hoped the Afghan government would take measures to eliminate the reasons for which the borders were closed in the first place.


‘Crime’ and punishment

Haroon Habib

UN report places it ahead of Denmark and Iceland Agence France-Presse New York

A chilly climate isn’t keeping Norway from basking in the glow of being named the world’s happiest country. It surged from fourth place in last year’s UN assessment all the way to the top spot, according to the World Happiness Report 2017 released on Monday. Other top countries on the list included Nordic neighbours Denmark and Iceland, as well as nearby Switzerland.

Freedom and health “All of the top four countries rank highly on all the main factors found to support happiness: caring, freedom, generosity, honesty, health, income and good governance,” the sum-

Children in Oslo, Norway, take part in a National Day parade. REUTERS *

mary explained. Rounding out the top 10 were Finland, in fifth place, the Netherlands (6), Canada (7), New Zealand (8), and Australia and Sweden tied for 9th. The entire top 10 were affluent, developed nations, although money is not the only ingredient for happi-

French candidates face of in irst debate Centrist Macron enjoys a narrow lead

ness, the report said. In fact, among the wealthier countries the differences in happiness levels had a lot to do with “differences in mental health, physical health and personal relationships: the biggest single source of misery is mental illness”, the report said. Another major country, China, has made major economic strides in recent years. But its people are not happier than 25 years ago, the report found. China ranked 79th in the study of 155 countries. The World Happiness Report 2017 was released by the United Nations on the International Day of Happiness. It is the fifth such report since the first was published in 2012.


Bangladesh will observe March 25 as ‘Genocide Day’ from this year, recognising the “atrocities” committed by the Pakistan army on civilians 46 years ago. The Bangladesh cabinet has taken the decision in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday . On March 11, Bangladesh’s Parliament adopted a unanimous resolution to observe the day as Genocide Day. The proposal was forwarded by the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs. The then Pakistani military ruler Gen Yahia Khan ordered a brutal crackdown on protesters in Dhaka on March 25, 1971, after refusing to hand over power to Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, whose Awami League party won the 1970 general election.

Harsh treatment:: A woman in Aceh, Indonesia, gets whipped on Monday for spending time with a man who is not her husband, considered against Shariat; (right) a man gets whipped for similar reasons. The region began implementing Shariat in 2001. AFP *

The far-right woos voters it once repelled Marine Le Pen tries to broaden her appeal to the point where a victory is more plausible Adam Nosstter Sanary-sur-Mer

Agence France-Presse Paris

France’s tumultuous presidential election battle stepped up a gear on Monday as the main candidates faced off in the first of several TV debates, gunning for every vote with just a month to go. In France’s most unpredictable election in years, far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron have been running neckand-neck for weeks, with the latest opinion poll showing him just half a percentage point ahead for the first round of voting on April 23. Monday’s debate was an unprecedented chance for French voters to compare candidates before the first round as the frontrunners shared the stage with trailing candidates Francois FilCM YK

lon of the right and Benoit Hamon of the left, along with the far left Jean-Luc Melenchon. All 11 contenders will take part in another debate on April 4. Polls currently show Mr. Fillon, the one-time favourite, crashing out in the first round behind Ms. Le Pen and Mr. Macron, following revelations of payments by Parliament to his wife and children as well as loans and lavish gifts from friends. The election, in which several veterans have already been sent packing by voters fed up with politics as usual, could hinge on turnout. Supporters of Mr. Macron, who styles himself as a progressive transcending France’s entrenched leftright divide, are among the most volatile while Ms. Le Pen’s are the most loyal, polls show.

The National Front’s leafleteers are no longer spat upon. Its local candidate’s headquarters sit defiantly in a fraying Muslim neighbourhood. “There’s been a real evolution,” Philippe RenaultGuillemet, the retired head of a small manufacturing company, said as he handed out National Front leaflets in the market on a recent day. It has long been accepted wisdom that Marine Le Pen and her far-right party can make it through the first round of the presidential voting on April 23, when she and four other candidates will be on the ballot, but that she will never capture the majority needed to win in a run-off in May. But a visit to this southeastern National Front stronghold suggests that Ms. Le Pen may be succeeding in broadening her appeal to the

Reaching out: National Front supporters distribute information about Marine Le Pen in Sanary-sur-Mer, southeast France. NYT *

point where a victory is more plausible, even if the odds are still stacked against her.

Traditional distaste With a month to go, the signs are mixed. Many voters, particularly affluent ones, at markets here and farther up the coast betray a traditional distaste for the far-right

party. Yet others once repelled by a party with a heritage rooted in France’s darkest political traditions — anti-Semitism, xenophobia and a penchant for the fist — are considering it. “I’ve said several times I would do it, but I’ve never had the courage,” Christian Pignol, a vendor of plants and vegetables at the Bandol market,

said about voting for the National Front. “This time may be the good one.” Uncertainties — and a nagging sense that mainstream parties have failed to offer solutions to France’s economic anaemia — have left the National Front better positioned than at any time in its 45-year history. But if it is to win nationally, the party must do much better than even the 49% support it won in this conservative Var department, home to three National Front Mayors, in elections in 2015. More critically, it must turn once-hostile areas of the country in Ms. Le Pen’s favour and attract new kinds of voters — professionals and the upper and middle classes. Political analysts are sceptical. Frédéric Boccaletti, the party’s leader in the Var, knows exactly what needs to be done. Last week, he and

his fellow National Front activists gathered for an evening planning session in La Seyne-Sur-Mer, a workingclass port town devastated by the closing of centuriesold naval shipyards nearly 20 years ago. Mr. Boccaletti, who is running for Parliament, keeps his headquarters here. Ms. Le Pen and her party still show little compunction over using tried and true National Front strategies that stoke racial fears. In SaintRaphael, it was her thrusts against the “mass immigration” and its supposed link to mass unemployment that drew the loudest roars. “This is our country!” the crowd chanted. “I don’t think she will be elected President,” said Joel Gombin of the University of Picardy Jules Verne, one of France’s leading experts on the Front. “But it’s not impossible any longer.” NYT

Russia summons Israeli envoy Agence France-Presse Moscow

Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Monday said it had summoned Israel’s Ambassador over air strikes close to Moscow’s forces near the historic Syrian city of Palmyra. Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told Interfax news agency that Ambassador Gary Koren was summoned on Friday and “asked about” the strikes. The Ministry “expressed concern” about the action taking place near Russian military locations, Mr. Bogdanov said. Russia and Israel have set up a “hotline” aimed at avoiding air clashes over Syria and Mr. Bogdanov said Moscow “would like this channel to work more effectively” to ensure no “misunderstanding on who is doing what”. A ND-ND








market watch 20-03-2017


Sensex dddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd 29,519 dddd -0.44 US Dollar ddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd 65.36 dddddd 0.15 Gold dddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd 29,150 dddddd 0.52 Brent oil ddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd 51.64 dddd -0.30

‘Deal shows our commitment’ India now a bigger jewel in our crown: Vittorio Colao, chief executive, Vodafone


ACC. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1408.70. . . . . . . . -2.80 Adani Ports. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 325.45. . . . . . . . . 0.05 Ambuja Cements. . . .. . . . . . 234.20. . . . . . . . . 0.10 Asian Paints. . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . 1079.70. . . . . . . . . 0.25 Aurobindo Pharma . . . . . . 704.90. . . . . . . 17.35 Axis Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 502.85. . . . . . -14.30 Bajaj Auto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2923.55. . . . . . . 11.05 Bank of Baroda . . . . . .. . . . . . 165.60. . . . . . . . . 0.70 Bharti Airtel . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . 349.40. . . . . . . . . 2.55 BHEL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 170.90. . . . . . . . . 2.25 Bosch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22674.70. . . -124.10 BPCL. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 643.60. . . . . . . . . 1.50 Cipla . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 596.30. . . . . . . . -1.00 Coal India . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 291.80. . . . . . . . . 2.55 Dr Reddys Lab . . . . . . . .. . . . 2734.35. . . . . . . . -1.90 Eicher Motors. . . . . . . . .. 25099.30. . . . . 407.90 GAIL (India). . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . 374.35. . . . . . . . -0.80 Grasim Ind . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1062.45. . . . . . . 21.05 HCL Tech. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 864.35. . . . . . . . -1.40 HDFC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1457.75. . . . . . . . . 6.55 HDFC Bank. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1436.10. . . . . . . 10.25 Hero MotoCorp . . . . . .. . . . 3340.25. . . . . . . . -5.85 Hindalco . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 196.20. . . . . . . . . 0.00 Hind Unilever . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . 898.45. . . . . . . . -4.10 ICICI Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 275.05. . . . . . . . -5.55 Idea Cellular . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . 97.70. . . . . . -10.40 IndusInd Bank . . . . . . . .. . . . 1379.60. . . . . . . . -3.95 Bharti Infratel . . . . . . . .. . . . . . 308.80. . . . . . . . -0.90 Infosys . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1021.50. . . . . . -18.80 ITC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281.90. . . . . . . . . 0.65 Kotak Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 854.60. . . . . . . . . 6.35 L&T . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1537.65. . . . . . -14.90 Lupin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1464.70. . . . . . . . . 8.15 M&M . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1300.20. . . . . . . . -3.65 Maurti Suzuki . . . . . . . . .. . . . 6158.90. . . . . . -33.70 NTPC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161.40. . . . . . . . . 1.45 ONGC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 190.85. . . . . . . . . 0.85 PowerGrid Corp . . . . .. . . . . . 193.60. . . . . . . . -0.40 Reliance Ind . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . 1280.80. . . . . . -19.90 State Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 273.90. . . . . . . . -0.25 Sun Pharma . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . 706.55. . . . . . . . -0.95 Tata Motors . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . 476.00. . . . . . . . -0.50 Tata Motors DVR. . . .. . . . . . 288.65. . . . . . . . . 1.65 Tata Power . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87.15. . . . . . . . . 0.80 Tata Steel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 496.65. . . . . . . . -5.55 TCS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2480.00. . . . . . -45.75 Tech Mahindra . . . . . . .. . . . . . 481.90. . . . . . . . -2.35 UltraTech Cement . .. . . . 3999.80. . . . . . -40.00 Wipro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 497.50. . . . . . . . -6.75 YES Bank. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1515.75. . . . . . . . . 7.85 Zee Entertainment . . . . . . 521.10. . . . . . . . . 1.85

EXCHANGE RATES Indicative direct rates in rupees a unit except yen at 4 p.m. on March 20 CURRENCY



US Dollar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . 65.16. . . . . . . 65.48 Euro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . 70.04. . . . . . . 70.39 British Pound . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . 80.69. . . . . . . 81.10 Japanese Yen (100) . .. . 57.73. . . . . . . 58.01 Chinese Yuan . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . 9.44. . . . . . . . . 9.48 Swiss Franc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . 65.32. . . . . . . 65.64 Singapore Dollar . . . . . . .. . 46.61. . . . . . . 46.84 Canadian Dollar . . . . . . . . .. . 48.79. . . . . . . 49.03 Malaysian Ringitt . . . . . .. . 14.71. . . . . . . 14.80 Source:Indian Bank


Piyush Pandey MUMBAI

Mr. Birla: I think there is some miscommunication, misunderstanding about the price at which ABG is going to buy shares from Vodafone, which, I think, is causing this. I assume that when you have such large transactions, it takes the market some time to grasp it completely. If the management had spent hundreds of hours to put together a scheme like this, obviously the market will take some time to understand it. I think it is a kneejerk reaction. We believe this is based on business fundamentals. We’ve got complementary assets in terms of presence in different markets. Vodafone is more dominant in metros ... we are more in urban and rural areas. We together will have a combined market share of about 40%, combined customer share of about 30%, and a pool of spectrum of about 1850 MHz. We hope to play a much more aggressive and significant role participating in Prime Minister’s digital India vision, and contribute more significantly to the government’s financial inclusion vision. I think it is the business logic that has fundamentally driven this combination. I believe this is something that will create immense value. ■


March 20 rates in rupees with previous rates in parentheses Retail Silver (1g) . . . . . . . . . . . 43.90. . . . . (43.70) 22 ct gold (1 g) . .. . . . . . . . . . . 2,749. . . . . (2,745)

There is speculation that the transaction was expedited because of concerns about Jio.

Delay indicates irm may be hanging up on its venture MANOJIT SAHA

Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairman of the diversified $41-billion Aditya Birla Group and Vittorio Colao, chief executive of Vodafone Group Plc., talk about the merger of Vodafone’s India unit with Idea Cellular to create the country’s largest telecom firm with 400 million customers. Excerpts: Markets have not reacted too well to the announcement, with Idea shares falling on Monday.

Vodafone yet to seek inal RBI nod for payments bank

Mr. Colao: You always talk about Jio. Poor Airtel. They are the market leaders. They are very strong and ahead of the competitors. It is not just about Jio. There is, to be honest, also Aircel, BSNL. It is not just a Jio market. It is a very competitive market that will continue to be so. Why are we going together? Over time, as Kumar said, we’ve built companies that are very complementary, different geographic focus but very well run ... very complimentary with respect to spectrum. Together, we will be number one or number two in all Indian circles with the exception of J&K. There will not be a single circle where we will have less than 10% market share. Which means that we can make money in each circle, and reinvest money in each circle. It is not Jio. It is the history of the company, which is why Mr. Birla and I have been in contact for many years, having conversations thinking about the future. I think more than Jio, it is the arrival of data — what’s happening in Europe. The same type of logic is driving our consolidation in Europe. Data is very capital-heavy and requires a lot of companies to go together. This was natural because we were so complimentary.


When Vodafone arrived in India, it had said India was a jewel in its crown. Have things changed for you to consider a merger? ■ Mr. Colao: India is a bigger jewel now. I always say

got complementary assets in terms of < > We’ve presence in diferent markets. Kumar Mangalam Birla

that India has been wonderful for Vodafone from a market point of view, from brand point of view and from customer point of view. However, it has not been good from the regulatory point of view because spectrum has been sold at prices that are too high. Also, competition and competition rules have been managed in a very erratic way. Hopefully, this move will create a better industry ratio. You have said regulatory issues remain a concern for Vodafone. Do you see regulation as a major headwind given the perception of the way TRAI and DoT are dealing with them? ■ Mr. Colao: I think regulatory issues shouldn’t be seen as a headwind in any industry. Regulation should help an industry develop in an orderly way. I am confident that by going together, now we have a strong player ... together with others and not alone in the competitive industry. The regulator has a real chance to prove that they are neutral, regulate what needs to be regulated, and they allow good sustainable competition.

SBI-Mahila bank merger okayed

‘GST law will most likely be implemented from July 1’

With the consolidation taking place in the industry, do you foresee an end to the tariff war? ■ Mr. Birla: You still have five pretty solid players. You still have a very competitive market. It still remains an intensely competitive market.

While you say you are equal partners, why is the transaction structure so complicated? ■ Mr. Birla: The fact is that we — Idea and Vodafone — have been valued equally by the valuers. Idea has promoter shareholding but we also have minority shareholders. The structure of the deal is such that Vodafone and the promoter of Idea group, which is the Aditya Birla Group, have equal shareholdings. That’s why the deal is structured the way it is. ■ Mr. Colao: Agreement starts with 45% (Vodafone), 26% (Idea) and we will meet somewhere in between because the spirit of the partnership on the first day is equal partnership. We will not go to the excess shares. And when how many shares Birla group wants, the rest will be disposed.

Vodafone m-pesa Ltd., one of the 11 entities which received in-principle approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in 2015 to start a payments bank, has not yet applied for a final licence. The deadline for obtaining final approval is endMarch. Top central bank sources confirmed that Vodafone mpesa had not yet applied for the final licence. Even if it did apply now, it is unlikely that it will receive the final approval in the next 10 days. RBI typically takes at least two months to grant its final approval. Vodafone India did not comment on the issue. All entities that received in-principle approval require to securefinal approval from the RBI, after meeting norms mandated by the banking regulator, within 18 months on receiving the inprinciple nod. The 18-month deadline – which starts from the date these entities receive letters of in-principle approval from the RBI –

Even if Vodafone applies now, it may not receive the inal nod within 10 days.

which was in September 2015 — ends in March. Among the 11 entities that had received in-principle approval, the RBI granted final approval to four. They are – Vijay Shekhar Sharma of One 97 Communications, which owns mobile wallet Paytm, Airtel M Commerce, Department of Posts and Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries. Three more entities – Fino Paytech, National Securities Depository Limited and Aditya Birla Nuvo – are expected to receive the final approval this week. Three of the 11 entities – Cholamandalam, Dilip Shanghvi, MD

of Sun Pharma and Tech Mahindra have dropped their plans. While the reason for Vodafone to, presumably, not pursue its payments bank venture in India is not clear industry sources said stricter RBI norms could be one of the reasons. This is despite its Kenya model being cited as one of the successful mobile wallet models in the world. RBI had mandated that the promoters of the payments banks should hold at least 40% of its paid-up equity capital for the first five years from the commencement of its business. The norms also said at all times at least 26% of the paid-up capital will have to be held by residents. Vodafone India is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vodafone Plc – a British firm. Interestingly, Vodafone’s India business and Idea Cellular have announced their merger to create the biggest telecom player in the India. Aditya Birla Nuvo, promoted by the Aditya Birla Group, had also received inprinciple approval.

Reliance Communications, Aircel merger gets CCI nod Combined wireless operations to be worth ₹65,000 crore Press trust of India New Delhi

Reliance Communications on Monday said it had received the approval of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for the demerger of its wireless division into Aircel Ltd. and Dishnet Wireless Ltd. “Reliance Communications Ltd. has received an approval of the Competition Commission of India for the

proposed Scheme of Arrangement for demerger of the wireless division of the company into Aircel Ltd. and Dishnet Wireless Ltd.,” the company said in a regulatory filing. Reliance Communications and Aircel in September announced the merger of their wireless operations to create a combined entity with assets worth ₹65,000 crore. “Post closing, the com-

pany and the present shareholders of Aircel Ltd. will hold 50% each in Aircel Ltd.,” Reliance Communication said. The company has already received approval from the Securities and Exchange Board of India as well as from the stock exchanges BSE and NSE for the deal and has filed an application with the National Company Law Tribunal for the same.

Cabinet approves four GST Bills

Special Correspondent

Special Correspondent



The three-year-old Bharatiya Mahila Bank will be merged with the State Bank of India (SBI) to expedite the outreach of banking services to women, the Finance ministry said on Monday. “The objectives of affordable credit to women as well as propagation of women-centric products need to be quickly achieved through a wider network and lower cost of funds,” an official statement said on the benefit of the merger for the SBI.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday chaired a Cabinet meeting which cleared the four bills to be introduced in Parliament for implementing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. “With the Cabinet approval of these four bills, the GST regime in India is in the final stages of culmination and the GST law will most likely be implemented from July 1, 2017,” according to a statement released by the Finance Ministry. The passage of the four

GST-related Bills – the Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) Bill 2017, the Integrated GST (IGST) Bill 2017, the Union Territory GST Bill 2017 and the GST (Compensation to the States) Bill 2017 – will pave the way for the biggest reform in the area of indirect taxes in the history of independent India, it said. The GST Council had given its nod for the Bills on Friday. “The timely approval of the Bills by the Cabinet ensures that the industry would have reasonable time to peruse the details of the law impacting them.The GST

plan is well on time and July 1 looks realistic,” said Abhishek Rastogi, partner at law firm Khaitan & Co. He expressed the hope that State Assemblies would also clear the State GST laws soon. The Centre was likely to introduce the bills together in Parliament this week and secure an early passage to meet the proposed July 1 rollout target date for the new indirect tax regime. Separately, States are expected to ratify the State GST Bills approved by the GST Council after getting them passed in the respective Assemblies.

New Delhi, Kabul talks soon to boost trade Islamabad to be asked to facilitate transit of goods through Pakistan ARUN S New Delhi

India will soon hold talks with Afghanistan on ways to boost bilateral trade and investment. The first such meeting since January 2014 and the first during the tenure of the NDA Government led by Mr.Narendra Modi, is also aimed at mounting pressure on Islamabad to facilitate trouble-free transit of goods from India to Afghanistan through Pakistan (Wagah-Attari route), official sources told The Hindu. This is to help in the development of Afghanistan which is a land-locked and Least Developed Country (LDC) as well as to boost trade and investment in South Asia through better regional connectivity, the sources said. They said it will also help India to improve trade ties with Central Asian nations. In this regard, the ‘IndiaAfghanistan Joint Working Group on Trade, Commerce and Investment’ meeting will discuss ways to make use of the United Nations TIR (Transports Internationaux Routiers or International Road Transport) ConCM YK

Circuitous path: In the absence of a transit route via Pakistan, India depends on others to send goods to Afghanistan. AFP *

vention to boost trade between India and Afghanistan through Pakistan. The TIR Convention facilitates trade and international road transport by permitting customs-sealed vehicles and containers to transit nations without them being generally inspected at border crossings. The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier this month granted its nod for India’s accession to the TIR Convention. Pakistan and Afghanistan are also ‘contracting parties’ to the TIR Convention. Thanks to the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit

Trade Agreement (APTTA), Afghanistan can use Pakistan’s territory for transit trade while Pakistan’s goods can move through Afghanistan to nations bordering Afghanistan. However, Islamabad has not agreed to allow using APTTA for goods to be transported from India to Afghanistan through Pakistan’s territory (via the Wagah-Attari route). India is keen to join APTTA and Afghanistan has backed India’s readiness to be an APTTA member but Pakistan has so far rejected such a proposal. The sources said while India is likely to soon make renewed efforts

to be an APTTA member, it will also look at how the UN TIR Convention can help send goods to Afghanistan through Pakistan. While there have been informal proposals recommending India and Afghanistan joining the over $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), India has strategic concerns regarding the CPEC that would cover areas including Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir. CPEC is the so-called ‘flagship’ project of China’s OneBelt-One-Road (OBOR) initiative. The OBOR is aimed at developing infrastructure in more than 60 countries.

Transit route In the absence of transit route through Pakistan, India depends on other countries, including Iran, to send goods to Afghanistan even though it increases time and costs for Indian exporters. India is also planning to strengthen air cargo links with Afghanistan as well as help expedite the development of Chabahar Port in Iran to bypass the Pakistan route to increase trade relations with Afghanistan, Iran and Central Asian countries. A ND-ND








Indian Bank stock plunges on swap of CEO with IDBI Bank


Cognizant gives target performance bonus Staf say payout lesser than last year’s


Move follows RBI report highlighting IDBI Bank’s poor inancial metrics RIL’s KG–D6 gas output slips further: Pradhan NEW DELHI

Reliance Industries’ lagging KG basin D6 block has seen natural gas output slip further, leading the government to disallow $2.756 billion in cost, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Monday. RIL and its partners — BP plc. of U.K. and Canada’s Niko Resources — produced less than 16% of the 31,793.28 million standard cubic meters (mmscm) target from KG–DWN–98/3 or KG–D6 block in 2013–14. PTI

HCL Tech buy-back for ₹3,500 crore approved MUMBAI

The board of HCL Technologies has approved a buy back plan aggregating to ₹3,500 crore. According to a stock exchange announcement, the irm plans to buy back 3.5 crore equity shares at ₹1,000 per share. The equity shares represent 2.48% of the fully paid-up equity shares of the company as on March 31, 2016. The ofer size of ₹3,500 crore is 13.62% of the company's free reserves as on March 31, 2016.

IBM unveils tech to send weather alert sans Net NEW DELHI

IT major IBM on Monday unveiled a technology that can send weather alerts to users even in limited or no Internet connectivity. “Mesh Network Alerts networking technology is designed to notify of potential severe weather events or disasters –even in areas with limited Internet connection, or cellular networks are disrupted due to an outage,” said a statement. PTI

Special Correspondent MUMBAI

The stock market has given a thumbs down to the government’s decision to make Kishor Karat, managing director and chief executive officer of Indian Bank with the stock of the Chennai-based lender plunging 4.6% on the BSE on Monday. Late on Saturday evening, the government issued notifications to appoint Kishor Kharat, MD & CEO of IDBI Bank in the same position in Indian Bank, while M.K. Jain — currently Indian Bank’s MD & CEO — takes Mr. Karat’s position in IDBI Bank. Both of them are expected to take charge of their new assignments by the end of the month. IDBI Bank, however, gained 2.2% on the BSE on Monday, while the broader indices were flat. The move to swap the CEOs follows the annual financial inspection report of Reserve Bank of India, which highlighted the poor financial performance of the bank. Central banking sources said that the report

also flagged governance related issues such as lesser than required number of directors on the bank’s board. In the previous financial year, IDBI Bank had posted a loss of ₹3,665 crore and in the first nine months of the current financial year, the

total loss was ₹1,958 crore.

Indian Bank shines Indian Bank, on the other hand, which is half of the size of IDBI Bank, is among the few that fared well in the last 12-18 quarters, in which period many banks saw a

sharp rise in bad loans following the asset quality review of RBI. According to analysts, one of the reasons why Indian Bank did well is that it went slow on pushing loans when the overall economic activity slowed down. During Mr. Jain’s tenure — who joined the bank in early November 2015 — its share price more than doubled while IDBI Bank’s share price moved up only 2% in Mr. Kharat’s tenure. The appointments of the MD & CEO in IDBI Bank and four others were made in August 2015, through interviews conducted after pubic advertisement – a first for the public sector banks. Private sector candidates were also eligible to apply for the CEO’s post. The move comes at a time when the government is preparing a turnaround plan for the Mumbai-based lender. A parliamentary panel has also asked the government to work out a transformational plan for IDBI Bank with a target of bringing down the gross NPA to 3% and net NPA to zero by fiscal year 2018-19.

Paytm rolls out insurance cover for users Firm to partner with Reliance General Insurance for the scheme Special Correspondent NEW DELHI

Paytm on Monday said it will offer insurance cover for money stored in its wallets by users. “Money lost due to fraudulent transactions as a result of theft, burglary, loss of device or unauthorised access of user’s Paytm wallet will now be refunded. This cover is being provided to

users at no additional cost,” according to a company statement.

Consumer interest “Our latest Wallet insurance scheme will maintain our seamless payment experience while ensuring greater peace of mind for millions of consumers and merchants who have embraced Paytm in their daily lives,” said

Krishna Hegde, vice-president, Paytm. Paytm wallet users will be insured up to a limit of ₹20,000 or their wallet balance whichever is lower, the statement said. The company has partnered with Reliance General Insurance for the scheme. In case of phone loss or theft, the customer needs to

report the same to Paytm via e-mail or by calling its customer care within 12 hours. Paytm claims to have about 20 crore wallet users in the country. “Paytm’s QR code-based payment solution is already powering more than 5 million merchants today and is heavily used by consumers to pay for spends at kirana stores and tolls,” it said.

National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), which developed the application for the Unified Payment Interface (UPI), has denied reports about technical malfunction or vulnerability of the app. In a statement issued on Monday, NPCI said there was no vulnerability or loophole reported in Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) application or the UPI system.

‘Robust security’ “NPCI has done intensive testing, robust design of security controls and continuous monitoring of its UPI infrastructure. The environment in which BHIM or UPI is run by NPCI is highly secure and certified with best global practices like PCI DSS ISO 27001. The packages have also been audited by reputed IT security firms. NPCI has put in place adequate governance mechanism for banks to report any fraud or system issues and its redressal,” the statement said. Earlier this month, Pune-based Bank of Maharashtra had filed a first information report in Pune against 50 people for allegedly pulling out money using the UPI app causing a loss of ₹6 crore to the bank. “The technical lacunas ...were present in the application. These were noticed by some unscrupulous elements and taken undue advantage of. However, the bank has taken all necessary steps and corrections have been made in the system so as to prevent the recurrence of similar incidence in future and MAHA UPI will continue to provide the services to the customers,” Bank of Maharashtra said in a statement.

Sangeetha Kandavel Chennai

Nasdaq-listed Cognizant has doled out target performance bonus to its employees for the calendar year 2016. The top performers got 95% of their target bonus while the ones who fell in the next bracket got 75%. Employees who were in the third bracket got 50%. “Cognizant has a performance-based culture and our variable payout is a function of company and individual performance,” the company said in response to an e-mail query. “In previous years where we outperformed our goals, we paid significantly above the target payout. In 2016, we missed our original goals and our variable payout is reflective of that.” Employees, however, said this was a little less as compared with last year. “Last year, the variable payout was more than 150% for me. Even 2014 and 2013 were good and our bonuses touched 200% then. This year, I expected it to be less as the industry on the whole looks gloomy,” said a Cognizant employee, who works out of one the facilities in Chennai.

Trimming workforce The company is also reportedly in the process of trimming its workforce. While employees indicated that the number could touch 6,000, the company said it had not decided on the numbers yet. In an email response, a Cognizant spokesperson said: “As part of our workforce management strategy, we conduct regular performance reviews to ensure we have the right employee skill sets necessary to meet client needs and achieve our business goals.”

Cognizant said it missed its original goals in 2016. “This process results in changes, including some employees transitioning out of the company. Any actions as the result of this process are performance-based and generally consistent with those we’ve made in previous years.” The statement further said, “In any given year, the numbers may bounce a percentage here or there but this is part of our standard practice. “At the same time, we continue to enhance our capabilities and hire for roles across all our practice areas in the company.”

Layoffs A senior manager from Cognizant’s Chennai office said, “There has been no communication or e-mail regarding the layoffs. We are getting information from social media and online articles. There is no formal communication on this.” Another employee, who has worked with Cognizant for eight years now, said, “This happens every year in all IT firms and for that matter any other sector too. It’s only the people who fall in last bucket fall into this category. The last bucket does not mean the employee is bad or poor. There are various parameters under which they are evaluated,” he added.

StanChart sells 4% in Redington The irm is a distributor for Apple products in India Special Correspondent CHENNAI

Standard Chartered Private Equity has sold almost4% stake in Redington (India) Ltd. for ₹176 crore in an open market transaction on Monday. Standard Chartered Private Equity (Mauritius) Ltd. sold 1.6 crore shares at ₹110 a

share. It was bought by Dahlia Commodities Services Private Ltd, According to bulk deal data on the stock exchange. According to stock exchange data, Standard Chartered Private Equity held almost 14% stake in Redington, the distributor

of Apple products in India. The private equity firm held the stake through two entities: Standard Chartered Private Equity (Mauritius) Ltd. (9.94% stake) and Standard Chartered Private Equity (Mauritius) III Limited (4.05%).

Tech honchos write to Home Minister on Stayzilla controversy Special Correspondent BENGALURU

Top technology entrepreneurs and start-up founders including Vijay Shekhar Sharma of Paytm, Bhavish Aggarwal of Ola Cabs and former Infosys director T.V. Mohandas Pai have written an open letter to Home Minister Rajnath Singh expressing concern over the manner in which Yogendra Vasupal (Yogi), cofounder of Stayzilla, was arrested.

Fair probe It said the founders were standing together as a community and believers in the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “Startup India Stand-up India” to call for a free and fair investigation into the dispute and strongly opposed any abuse of power to subvert the law of land. “We humbly request you to look into this matter and ensure that expeditious justice is provided to Yogi (Mr. Vasupal),” said the letter. Mr. Vasupal, the chief executive of the online homestay aggregator, was arrested last week in Chennai on the charges of non-payment of dues to its vendor Jigsaw Advertising. The letter, posted on a website ‘,’ has been signed by 73 entrepreneurs, including Shivakumar Ganesan of Exotel, Vinod Muthukrishnan of CloudCherry, Harshit Agarwal of AppKnox and Amuleek Singh of Chai Point. The letter said when Mr. Vasupal was walking on a Chennai street, a couple of policemen in plain clothes drove past, snatched his mobile phone and asked him to come to the police station. It said that they assured him they were aware of all the intimidation by Aditya C.S., owner of Jigsaw Advertising. By the time he reached the police station, things changed. “He started getting pressurised to confess to ‘a crime’ he never committed. His refusal to confess to a crime he never committed only made the things worse for him,” said the letter. The letter said that the Stayzilla case and its locked-up founder underscored the hardships of being an entrepreneur in India. In a blog post on Medium, Mr. Vasupal of Stayzilla had claimed that he and co-founder Sachit Singhi were ‘under duress’ from authorities. CM YK








Aussies enact an extraordinary escape

‘Jadeja was outstanding’

Handscomb and Marsh’s resilience salvages a draw as Indian spinners fail to deliver on a inal-day pitch S. Dinakar

More controversy!


Close-in cordon breathing down on batsmen, two leading spinners on the hunt, and a Test to be saved on a fifth-day pitch with variable bounce — the Australians needed to unlock this subcontinental conundrum. The pressure was immense, much of the appealing was vociferous, but the Australians came up with an extraordinary escape act of skill and character to draw the third Test at the JSCA Stadium here on Monday. Australia, once again, found its heroes when many expected the side, 129 runs behind India with eight wickets remaining overnight, to fold up on a surface with a significant rough. All that pre-series preparation on low, turning tracks in Dubai paid off as Peter Handscomb’s influential 200-ball unbeaten 72 and Shaun Marsh’s determined 197-ball 53 shut out the host. The right-left pair kept India wicketless in the middle session, added 124 runs, and importantly, ate up 374 balls for the fifth wicket. And despite India striking twice in the mandatory overs, the match of fortune swings had essentially been saved by Australia. Cheteshwar Pujara’s Man-of-theMatch award would have come as little consolation for India.

Man of the moment For Australia, Handscomb was the man of the moment. A natural strokemaker who relishes stepping out to spinners, he displayed his defensive attributes, grinding it out in the middle. When he moved forward, he went full stretch, often breathing down on the ball. When Handscomb played back, he travelled deep into the crease. There were also occasions when he, handsomely, coaxed the ball through the

Kohli’s pat for Pujara and Saha Special Correspondent

Special Correspondent Ranchi

Yet another controversy is casting its shadow on the series. India captain Virat Kohli revealed he found it rather unusual that some Australian cricketers kept mentioning Indian physio Patrick Farhat’s name on the field. Kohli received treatment for his sore right shoulder during the Test. “These things happen on the field. They started taking Patrick’s name. I don’t know why. He’s our physio. His job is to treat me. I don’t find the reason behind it. I could not understand. You must

Plenty of pluck: Peter Handscomb consumed 200 deliveries for his unbeaten 72 which went a long way in the visitors reaching safety. K.R. DEEPAK *

off-side field or whipped through mid-wicket. Marsh’s temperament under stress has been questioned in the past but the southpaw did not wilt here. He picked the length early and played the ball late. While his defence was firm, he also stepped out to ondrive Ashwin and forced Jadeja past mid-wicket. On those occasions when he hit the rough outside right-hander’s leg-stump, Jadeja posed a threat, particularly to the southpaws.

Lack of variation But in constantly attempting to target the rough, the other aspects of his bowling suffered. There was not much variation of trajectory on view. Jadeja is quicker through

the air and tends to land quite a few of his deliveries just short of a good length and gets them to hurry off the pitch; some turn, while others go through straight. But the Australians stayed back and handled him capably off the backfoot. Against the right-handed Handscomb, in particular, Jadeja needed to pitch the ball up more and spin the ball away from the middle-and-off stump in the manner of a classical left-arm spinner. And since a right-left pair was at the crease, Handscomb played a fair share of deliveries from Jadeja putting the bowler at a disadvantage as he aimed for the rough. Ashwin was under-bowled in the first session — he sent down just one over, the pen-

Handscomb’s innings is worth 140, says Smith

ultimate one before lunch.

Intriguing decision The pair of Jadeja and Ashwin had momentum from Sunday evening going into the final day’s play and it was intriguing why India opted for a pace-spin combination straight up when the spinners were a greater threat with a harder, new ball on this pitch. The off-spinner received longer spells in the following two sessions, got a few offspinners to go sharply, made a couple of carrom balls to hiss off the track, but generally lacked consistency. He also needed to bowl an offstump line to the left-handed Marsh. Some of the Indian tactics seemed baffling. Keeping seven men on the off-side

and having the pacemen bowl outside Steve Smith’s off-stump appeared a rather defensive ploy when India was attempting to win. Finally, the dogged Smith was dismissed after not stretching his front leg to pad away a Jadeja delivery that pitched outside leg and crashed into the off-stump from the rough. Left-handed opener Matt

ask them why they started taking Patrick’s name,” said Kohli. Australia skipper Steve Smith had said earlier he had been disappointed that some made it seem as if he was grabbing his shoulder, seemingly mocking Kohli’s injury, after holding the catch to dismiss the Indian captain. Smith said, “I was a bit disappointed. I didn’t actually do anything. Virat was having a go at me saying I was disrespecting Patrick Farhat. If anything, he [Farhat] did a terrific job to get Virat out on the field. He’s a terrific physio.” Renshaw shortened his backlift to counter the pitch’s low bounce and displayed tenacity. He fell lbw to a delivery that cut into him from Ishant Sharma. The seamer was fired up after an exchange with the Australians. Talismanic former India skipper M.S. Dhoni followed the action on his home ground but that could not lift the Indians.




Australia captain Steve Smith said he was proud of his team’s fightback on the final day. “They [Handscomb and Marsh] backed their defence for long periods of time and to see the game out for as long as they did was an outstanding performance. “That’s one of the things we’ve been talking about — being resilient and sticking out the tough times. The two were magnificent.” Smith said his team had the momentum going into the decider at Dharamshala. “If there’s anything called momentum it’s with us at the moment. India coming today would have expected to bowl us out. I am sure they’re hurting a little bit in

their change room.” Dwelling on Handscomb, Smith said, “He’s looked very good in every game so far without going on to make a score. Today the way he did that, his innings is worth 140 in my eyes.” Smith said the pitch played better than it looked and added, “Pujara and Saha batted exceptionally well. It was a long time in the field. “Credit to our boys the way they came out today after having such heavy legs to be able to hold out for the draw.” On Ishant Sharma getting annoyed on the field, Smith revealed, “Vijay, at midwicket, moved a few steps to his left as the bowler was running in. It put Renshaw off and he was entitled to

< >

He [Handscomb] has looked very good in every game so far without going on to make a [big] score

— Steve Smith

back away. I’m not sure what happened with Ishant, he wasn’t happy overall. “He got angry and bowled fairly well after that.” Smith said the India-Australia matches were invariably hard fought. “There’s always a little bit of tension when Australia and India are playing in Test matches. “As far as I’m concerned it’s being played in the right spirit on the field, it’s been a tough hard grind. “That’s how I would explain it, no issue with that.”

Nannes praises Cummins Sees marked improvement in Umesh Yadav with a lot of bounce, there would be no respite for the batsmen. I can’t wait to see that happen.”

S. Dinakar RANCHI

Dirk Nannes is a blithe spirit who loves conversations and laughter. For the batsmen though, he was not a pleasant sight.

The 40-year-old was rather disappointed that Starc had to return owing to fitness concerns. “With his pace, angle, ability to pitch the new ball up and get it to move both ways and reverse the old, Starc is very, very good.”

He could bowl real quick during his playing days. Nannes made them duck and weave with his left-arm thunderbolts. An interesting character, Nannes, in fact, was a professional skier before turning his attention to cricket. The former Aussie fast bowler, watching the cricketing action here, was impressed with the injury-returned Pat Cummins. “What strikes me about Cummins is his hostility, accuracy and his variations. He uses the crease very well. He has been exceptional here,” Nannes told The Hindu here during the third Test. CM YK

Dirk Nannes.



Nannes elaborated, “As you can see, he has a nasty short ball. And he has been able to send a lot of overs here. He’s looking fit and strong.” The Melbourne-born Nannes was looking forward to Cummins teaming up with Mitchell Starc. “That would be something, isn’t it? I don’t think a lot of batsmen would appreciate that. Right-arm, left-arm, both genuinely fast

Nannes has seen a marked improvement in Indian paceman Umesh Yadav. “I played with him for Delhi Daredevils but he has come on a lot since then. Previously, there used to be a jerk in his action. Now his action is a lot smoother. And he is bowling a better line too, around off. Earlier, there were times when he bowled down leg-stump.” A relentless traveller, Nannes will be off to another destination after this series.

Hardness of ball On how the pitch played here, the Indian captain observed, “I think the hardness of the ball was a big factor. When the ball was new last night, it spun well off the rough. “Even this morning, it was spinning well. But in the middle session, the ball was not hard, so could not gen-

Composed player “He is the most composed player in the team. He is willing to grind for his runs.” Asked about Wriddhiman Saha’s performance, Kohli said, “Saha’s knock was brilliant for us. He always stood up for us whenever the team needed him.” Queried about Ashwin being brought in so late in the first session, Kohli replied, “There was more help for the spinners from the commentator’s end, so we gave Jadeja a long bowl from there and had pacemen from the other end where there was more encouragement for them. “Ashwin bowled a lot in the subsequent two sessions.”






David Warner b Jadeja ddddddddddddddddd ddd 14 dddddd 16 dddddddd3 ddddddddd Matt Renshaw lbw b Ishant ddddddddddddd ddd 15 dddddd 84 dddddddd1 ddddddddd Nathan Lyon b Jadeja dddddddddddddddddd ddddd2 dddddddd7 ddddddddd ddddddddd Steve Smith b Jadeja ddddddddddddddddddd ddd 21 dddddd 68 dddddddd2 ddddddddd Shaun Marsh c Vijay b Jadeja ddddddddddd ddd 53 ddddd197 dddddddd7 ddddddddd Peter Handscomb (not out) dddddddddddd ddd 72 ddddd200 dddddddd7 ddddddddd Glenn Maxwell c Vijay b Ashwin dddddddd ddddd2 dddddd 15 ddddddddd ddddddddd Matthew Wade (not out) ddddddddddddddd ddddd9 dddddd 16 dddddddd2 ddddddddd Extras (b-9, lb-4, nb-3) ddddddddddddddddd ddd 16 ddddddddd ddddddddd ddddddddd Total (for six wkts. in 100 overs) dddddddd dd 204 Fall of wickets: 1-17 (Warner, 5.1 overs), 2-23 (Lyon, 7.2), 3-59 (Renshaw, 28.4), 4-63 (Smith, 29.1), 5-187 (Marsh, 91.2), 6-190 (Maxwell, 94.4). INDIA BOWLING: Ashwin 30-10-71-1, Jadeja 44-18-54-4, Umesh 15-2-36-0, Ishant 11-0-30-1. Man-of-the-match: Cheteshwar Pujara.

Prize wicket: Skipper Steve Smith succumbs to the guile of Ravindra Jadeja. K.R. DEEPAK

Match drawn, series level 1-1.


ICC reforms: CoA BCCI seeks members’ response sticks to its stand Wants State associations to reply ‘within 10 days’ Amol Karhadkar

Draws the attention to MPA of 2014 G. Viswanath

Special Correspondent

India captain Virat Kohli said his side did well to put itself in a position from where it could attempt to force a win. “After the situation we were in, we did very well. We could not win and they deserve credit for batting very well to save it. “They were four down at lunch and credit to them for not losing a wicket between lunch and tea.” he said. About the team composition for the final Test, Kohli said: “We sent Mohammed Shami to play in domestic cricket. “We wanted to give him match practice. I’ve not spoken to selectors but there are all kinds of possibilities approaching the next Test.”

erate that kind of pace from the wicket.” The India captain said, “We’re happy with our effort. Jadeja was outstanding, his economy on this wicket was impressive. He proved why he is joint number one bowler in the world.” Asked about the rise of Cheteshwar Pujara, Kohli said, “Sometimes I feel really bad for him that people don’t understand his importance in this team.

603 for nine decl.


‘We have the momentum going into the inal Test’




The Committee of Administrators (CoA) has reiterated its position that it will oppose the changes in the ICC constitution and financial models at the ICC meeting in Dubai on April 26 and 27. The committee had told Shashank Manohar also the same thing, a day before he resigned as ICC chairman. Explaining its reservations on many aspects of the changes, the CoA (read BCCI), in a communication to the ICC late on Sunday, said: “We draw your attention to the Members Participation Agreement (MPA) dated 12th October 2014 entered into between the BCCI and ICC Business Corporation FZ LLC (IBC) relating to ICC events between 2015 and 2023. “The proposed new ICC Constitution and financial model will, if adopted, entitle us to exercise certain rights under the MPA and also to avail remedies under applicable law.” Cricket Australia and England and Wales Cricket


Members Participation Agreement (MPA) was entered into between BCCI and ICC Business Corporation FZ LLC (IBC) relating to ICC events between 2015 and 2023


Board (ECB) were also party to the MPA and they, by virtue of being part of the Special Working Group that has proposed the changes to the constitution and financial model, have abandoned the 2014 ‘Big3’ agreement. One of the options (as specified in the MPA) is to withdraw from ICC events, but BCCI would find it difficult to pull out of the ICC Champions Trophy in June, because, whatever may be the outcome at the April ICC Board meeting, the proposed changes will have to receive 75% support at the ICC’s annual general meeting to be held in London in June, in order to become legally binding. The weightage of the 10 full members’ vote is 75% and the 95 Associate and Affiliate members is 25%.

Almost a year after its submission, the BCCI has asked all member associations to submit a response to an internal financial report submitted by auditing firm Deloitte. Following the CoA’s instructions, the BCCI chief executive Rahul Johri has written to them to respond “within 10 days”. The Hindu

understands that the BCCI has also shared Deloitte’s observations about the respective member bodies. The state associations appear to be unsure about their next step. While some associations are planning to discuss the report in detail in a managing committee, some are already clear about “10 days being too short for submitting a reply”. A former BCCI office-

bearer, however, said the Deloitte report cannot be made binding on the state associations. “Let’s not even get into whether all the protocols for an audit report like an exit meeting have been filed or not. First and foremost, the report was meant only for internal purpose and it cannot be thrust upon any member,” he said, on the condition of anonymity.

Two sets of Board constitution! G. Viswanath Mumbai

There are two sets of Memorandum of Association, Rules and Regulations on the BCCI website ( The first one is around which the present 31 members, including Chhattisgarh, conduct their cricket affairs and the second is authored by the Justice Lodha Committee and which the Supreme Court wants the BCCI to implement. Explaining the CoA’s reason for putting the Lodha Committee version, an official said: “The body is the same, but we have given clarification with regard to the maximum nine-

year term of office-bearers (at the BCCI and State level) with cooling off period of three years after every term of three years each. There are other clarifications also.” The CoA has obtained clarity on the question of government servant (as referred to in the Lodha Committee report) or public servant (as referred to in the Supreme Court order of July 19, 2016). There is no clarity, though, with regard to the term of office for managing / executive / governing body members (not defined as office-bearers) who are in doubt about their status and have taken up the matter

with Justice Lodha and the CoA. While the CoA has every right to believe that it is making an honest effort to follow the mandate given by the Supreme Court, the BCCI full members are hoping that the BJP government at the Centre brings in a sports bill to sort out all matters at one stroke. BJP president Amit Shah is also the president of the Gujarat Cricket Association. Should the Lodha reforms come into effect, he will go into a cooling-off period for three years; not only he but also his son Jay, who is the GCA joint secretary.

Federer subdues Wawrinka for record-equalling title Elena Vesnina battles through tense inal Agence France-Presse Indian Wells

Roger Federer claimed a record-equalling fifth ATP Indian Wells Masters title on Sunday, continuing his career resurgence with a 6-4, 7-5 victory over Stan Wawrinka. With Sunday’s triumph in the all-Swiss final, Federer joined Novak Djokovic as the only men to win five Indian Wells titles, adding to those he won in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2012. He also moved up to No. 6 in the rankings. At 35, Federer is the oldest ATP player to win one of the

elite Masters titles, supplanting Andre Agassi who was 34 when he won in Cincinnati in 2004. “It’s been just a fairytale week once again,” said Federer, who missed Indian Wells last year because of injury. “I’m not as surprised as I was in Australia, but still this comes as a big, big surprise to me, nevertheless, to win here again and beating the players that I did and the way I did. “I couldn’t be more happy. It’s an absolute, huge start to the year for me. “The change is dramatic,

and it feels great.” Elena Vesnina capped a stellar campaign with a hardfought 6-7(6), 7-5, 6-4 triumph over fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova in the women’s final. Playing in her first final at the elite Premier Mandatory level, world No. 15 Vesnina battled through a tense three hours and one minute to subdue eighth-ranked Kuznetsova. The results (final): Men: Roger Federer bt Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 7-5. Women: Elena Vesnina bt Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-7(6), 7-5, 6-4.

High-ive: Roger Federer emulated Novak Djokovic by winning the Indian Wells title for the ifth time. AFP *









Fifth title for Tamil Nadu

Duminy withdraws from IPL

Bowlers do the job after Karthik plays a lone hand

Press Trust of India NEW DELHI

Delhi Daredevils’ South Africa star Jean-Paul Duminy has withdrawn from the upcoming 10th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Duminy led Delhi Daredevils in the 2015 edition. He had been a regular with the squad since 2014. Daredevils chief executive Hemant Dua confirmed that Duminy would be unavailable for the tournament owing to personal reasons. “We respect JP’s decision. We are naturally very disappointed to not have JP in our midst this year, but we clearly understand his posi-

Vidya Pillai pots silver SINGAPORE

Vidya Pillai has won silver in the World women’s snooker championship. In the final, Vidya led 4-2 but Hong Kong’s Ng On Yee won the next three frames to clinch the title. En route to the final, Vidya knocked out former European champion, Tatjana Vasiljeva of Latvia 4-1 in the last-16, Katrina Wan of Hong Kong 4-1 in the quarterfinal and Rebecca Grenger of England 5-1 in the semifinals. PTI

Lillard scores a season-high

tion. At this stage, we can only confirm that we will look for a replacement at an appropriate time,” Dua said.

Disappointed On his part, Duminy said he was disappointed to miss out on this edition. “It has been a very difficult decision for me to make, but it was for purely personal reasons. I am grateful for the support and understanding from the franchise. “It has been an absolute privilege to have played for and led a talented mix of players. I certainly hope to play a part for the franchise in the near future.”

India downs Kazakhstan Sports Bureau BANGKOK

India beat Kazakhstan 3-0 in its opening league match of the Asia Oceania World junior (under-14) tennis tournament on Monday. The results (league): India bt Kazakhstan 3-0 [Divesh Gahlot bt Nikita Sidorov 6-0, 6-2; V.M. Sandeep bt Timur Chsherbokov 6-2, 6-0; Nishant Dabas & V.M. Sandeep bt Nikita Sidorov & Daniyal Taskali 6-4, 7-5].

Chenai begins well Sports Bureau ACAPULCO


Damian Lillard carried his team, scoring a season-high 49 points as Portland Trail Blazers stopped Miami Heat 115-104 in the NBA on Sunday. Other results: Cleveland Cavaliers 125 bt Los Angeles Lakers 120; Dallas Mavericks 111 bt Brooklyn Nets 104; 76ers 105 bt Celtics 99; Spurs 118 bt Kings 102; Pistons 112 bt Suns 95; Raptors 116 bt Pacers 91; Pelicans 123 bt Timberwolves 109. AGENCIES

Triumphant: The Tamil Nadu team is delighted after winning the Vijay Hazare Trophy in New Delhi on Monday. Rakesh Rao


New Delhi

Defending a small total, the Tamil Nadu bowlers came good one last time and when it mattered. The reward for their resilience, that led to a 37-run victory over Bengal, was the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Tamil Nadu became a five-time winner and spoilt Bengal’s bid for the third time in the title-clash. Chasing Tamil Nadu’s none-too-intimidating 217, Bengal started too cautiously, lost two wickets in the fifth over, and was always behind the asking rate. The pressure of the high stakes in the final came to the fore for Bengal when Tamil Nadu medium-pacer Aswin Crist ran out an inform Abhimanyu Easwaran and bowled Agniv Pan to reduce Bengal to four for two in the fifth over. Facing a disciplined bowling in keeping with the field, Bengal could never break free. Opener Shreevats Goswami was out to a diving catch by skipper Vijay Shankar before a well-set Manoj Tiwary lost his offstump while attempting to pull. Sudip Chatterjee and Anustup Majumdar also failed to break the shackles.

Pakistan govt. issues no-travel order ISLAMABAD

The Pakistan government has barred the five cricketers involved in alleged spotfixing from leaving the country. The Pakistan Cricket Board has provisionally suspended Sharjeel Khan, Khalid Latif, Mohammad Irfan, Shahzaib Hasan and Nasir Jamshed from playing any form of cricket for violating the anti-corruption code during the recent Pakistan Super League. AP

Gomes will be a valuable player for Barca BARCELONA

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has insisted midfielder Andre Gomes will become a pillar of the Catalans’ midfield after silencing his critics with his first goal for the club on Sunday. AFP

Chatterjee fell leg-before and soon after, half-centurion Majumdar lost his legstump in his desperate attempt to get the ball away. At this stage, Bengal was 143 for six in the 39th over and Tamil Nadu smelt victory. With the asking-rate mounting, Bengal had no choice but to take some chances. Mohammed Shami, who returned to the final and took four wickets earlier in the day, and Pragyan Ojha hit a six each, but soon fell. The medium-pacers returned and got the last two wickets to complete the formalities. Washington Sundar was the most economical TN bowler with figures of 8-117-0. His tight spell added to the pressure that eventually led to the doom of Tiwary and Chatterjee. A dejected Tiwary admitted Bengal did not execute its plans while chasing a small target. “No matter, what you say during several team meetings, on some days, you don’t get it right. I would have taken 217 any day but when we chased, we came under pressure.” Karthik, whose 120 raised his tally to 607 runs in the

competition this season, was understandably pleased after being named Man-ofthe-Match. “Credit to the boys for believing in themselves,” said Karthik who agreed that his experience of playing big matches helped the team’s cause today. Asked about his freak hitwicket that ended Tamil Nadu innings in the 48th over, Karthik broke into a smile and said, “I didn’t know how I disturbed the stumps. I was upset with myself because the ball earned us five byes and I got out like this.” Electing to bat, Tamil Nadu lost four wickets — three to Dinda’s superlative spell — and again four at the end, including three to Shami. In the intervening period, it was Karthik’s experience that carried Tamil Nadu past 200. Karthik was last out after swinging at a Shami delivery going wide down the leg-side and dislodged the bails with the bat on the followthrough. The scores: Tamil Nadu: Kaushik Gandhi b Dinda 15, Ganga Sridhar Raju c Goswami b Dinda 4, B. Aparajith lbw b Shami 5, Dinesh Karthik hit-wkt. b Shami 112, Vijay Shankar c Goswami b Dinda 2,

Chowrasia’s presence boosts Kolkata Classic ing here this week. The event will help promote golf in Kolkata,” said Chowrasia on Monday. “When I was young, I aspired to win like the established players. “Several professionals are playing golf now. When they see me in action, they may get inspired.” The 38-year-old local golfer took a week off to celebrate his successive Indian Open triumph at the DLF Golf and Country Club, Gurgaon, with his RCGC friends. “Before playing a big tournament abroad, I play here.

Y.B. Sarangi KOLKATA

After pocketing $291,660 for his second consecutive Indian Open win, S.S.P. Chowrasia will feature in the second edition of the ₹40 lakh Kolkata Classic championship, to be held at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC) here from Tuesday. For the four-time European Tour champion, being a professional golfer is not just about making money. “One needs to support the Tour (Professional Golf Tour of India) and help it grow. That’s why I am play-

GOLF RCGC (course) is always good (to play) and this will be a good preparation before I play the Panasonic Open on the Japan Tour next month.” According to Chourasia, a 15-under score should be good enough to win the title here. Other than Chourasia, the presence of Asian Tour winners Rashid Khan, Mukesh Kumar and Chiragh Kumar and current PGTI Order of Merit leader Ajeetesh Sandhu, PGTI winners

Udayan Mane and Honey Baisoya and PGTI regulars Mithun Perera and Anura Rohana, makes the field competitive. PGTI director Uttam Mundy said the event, which has witnessed an increase of ₹10 lakh in prize money, should boost golf in Kolkata. “Earlier, five-six events used to be held in Kolkata every year. We hope to revive the trend. “If we get good response from sponsors, then the Kolkata Classic prize money can be enhanced further,” said Mundy.



B. Indrajith run out 32, Washington Sundar run out 22, Aswin Crist c Goswami b Seth 10, M. Mohammad c Chatterjee b Shami 3, R. Sai Kishore c Majumdar b Shami 0, Rahil Shah (not out) 1; Extras (lb-5, w-6): 11; Total (in 47.2 overs): 217. Fall of wickets: 1-7, 2-26, 3-36, 4-49, 5-134, 6-172, 7-200, 8212, 9-212. Bengal bowling: Ashoke Dinda 9-0-36-3, Kanishk Seth 10-059-1, Mohammed Shami 8.2-126-4, Pragyan Ojha 10-0-49-0, Aamir Gani 10-0-42-0. Bengal: Shreevats Goswami c Vijay Shankar b Rahil 23, Abhimanyu Easwaran run out 1, Agniv Pan b Crist 0, Manoj Tiwary b Vijay Shankar 32, Sudip Chatterjee b Sai Kishore 58, Anustup Majumdar lbw b Aparajith 24, Aamir Gani c Aparajith b Mohammad 24, Mohammed Shami st. Karthik b Rahil 8, Pragyan Ojha c Kaushik Gandhi b Mohammad 7, Ashoke Dinda b Crist 0, Kanishk Seth (not out) 2; Extras (lb-1): 1; Total (in 45.5 overs): 180. Fall of wickets: 1-4, 2-4, 3-37, 4-68, 5-133, 6-143, 7-154, 8170, 9-172. Tamil Nadu bowling: Aswin Crist 7-1-23-2, M. Mohammad 7.5-1-30-2, Rahil Shah 7-1-38-2, Washington Sundar 8-1-17-0, Vijay Shankar 5-0-20-1, B. Aparajith 6-0-22-1, R. Sai Kishore 5-0-29-1. Toss: Tamil Nadu.

Vijay Sundar advances Powers past unseeded Anirudh Special Correspondent THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

Sixth-seeded N. Vijay Sundar Prashanth powered his way past unseeded Anirudh Chandrasekhar 6-3, 7-6(3) in the men’s singles opening round of the Indian Oil-ITF Futures tennis tournament at the TTC courts here on Monday. With the sun hitting hard at the outside clay court, it was always going to be a tough battle as the players struggled to cope with the humid conditions. The opening set saw the duo holding serve until the seventh game when Prashanth made his first move to surge ahead. Reeling off winner after winner against Anirudh, Prasanth came out blazing to take the lead and then made good off the oft-repeated unforced errors committed by his rival, on the ninth game, to take the first set. There was no break of service in the second, which led to the tie-breaker, and here again Prashanth was clearly outstanding as

he marked his place in the second round with the loss of just three points. Rishab Agarwal, seventhseeded and the only other seed to take the court, however, had a tough time before winning 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 over unseeded Chandril Sood in a little over two hours. The results (first round): Men: Dalwinder Singh bt Gautham Krishnan 6-2, 6-2; Rishab Agarwal bt Chandril Sood 4-6, 6-3, 6-1; N. Vijaya Sundar Prashanth bt Anirudh Chandrasekhar 6-3, 7-6(3), Jun-Chen Hung (TPE) bt Vijayant Malik 6-4, 6-0; Jeson Patrombon (PHI) bt Aryan Goveas 6-4, 6-1. Hong Kit Won (HKG) bt Siddarth Viswakarma 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, Anurag Nenwani bt Ansu Bhuyan 6-4, 7-6(3). Doubles: Tejas Chaukulkar & Jayesh Pungliya bt Anirudh Chandrasekhar & P. Vignesh 6-4, 6-4; Chandril Sood & Lakshit Sood bt Mohammed Sidhan & Gautham Krishnan 6-1, 6-2; Mohit Mayur Jayaprakash & N. Vijay Sundar Prasanth bt Sooraj Prabodh & Siddarth Vishwakarma 6-2, 6-2.

Kynan Chenai shot 73 out of 75 on the first day of trap event in the shooting World Cup here on Sunday. The 25-year-old had a series of 24, 25 and 24, as he shared the second best score of the day with eight others. Four shooters led with 74. Zoravar Singh Sandhu (71) and Birendeep Sodhi (70) will be hard-pressed to make the final which will feature the top six from a strong field of 61. Other results: Women’s trap: 1. Ashley Carroll (US) 42(1) 70 (4); 2. Natalie Rooney (Nzl) 42(0) 71; 3. Alessandra Perilli (Smr) 30 (73).

Indian girls lose to Taipei in opener Special Correspondent NEW DELHI

The Indian girls went down 2-1 to third seed Chinese Taipei in the Asia Oceania Junior (under-16) Fed Cup tennis tournament, at the DLTA Complex here on Monday. The results (league): Chinese Taipei bt India 2-1 [Joanna Jessie Garland bt Salsa Aher 6-3, 6-2; Kuan Yi Lee lost to Humera Shaik 6-2, 6-2; Garland & Kuan bt Salsa & Humera 6-2, 6-1].



Vijender’s April bout postponed

Neha takes a ifer

Press Trust of India NEW DELHI

Indian boxing star Vijender Singh’s next bout scheduled on April 1 has been postponed as his promoters are struggling to find an opponent for him. “Right now we are not able to find a decent opponent for him because of his unbeaten record. Boxers in the region seem to be wary of facing him. He has become this dreaded guy, who nobody wants to face,” Vijender’s promoters IOS Boxing Promotions MD Neerav Tomar said.

“The fight stands postponed for the time being and we are looking at dates in the last week of May after the IPL. I am hopeful that we will be able to finalise an opponent soon enough,” he added. Vijender is unbeaten after eight bouts. In the April 1 fight night, the 31-year-old was originally scheduled to take on China’s WBO Oriental champion Zulpikar Maimaitiali. But that could not materialise after Maimaitiali backed out without specifying any reasons.


NEW DELHI: Neha Rajawat

picked up five wickets for just three runs in 3.2 overs as Gargi College registered an easy seven-wicket victory against Laxmi Bai College in the Women's T20 intercollege league. The scores: LBC 18 in 12 overs (Neha Rajawat five for three) lost to Gargi College 20 for three in 4.2 overs.

Vikrant Academy posts win Kishan Rathi picked up four wickets and Alok Singh got three as Vikrant Cricket Academy beat Mount Club by seven wickets in the Sai Developzone Cup. Ravi Chauhan scored 44 for the winner even as

Shubham Bathla’s three wickets went in vain for the losing side. The scores: Mount Club 82 all out in 22.2 overs (Akash Kumar 32; Kishan Rathi four for 25, Alok Singh three for 20) lost to VCA 84 for three in 19.4 overs (Ravi Chauhan 44; Shubham Bathla three for 19).

Rupesh and Ayush shine Man of the Match Rupesh Singh’s 75 and Ayush Bharti's four-wicket haul helped Delhi Colts beat York Club by 47 runs in the Swastik Cup tournament. The scores: Delhi Colts 180 all out in 31.5 overs (Rupesh Singh 75; Puneet Kumar three for 20) bt York Club 133 all out in 25.2 overs (Mayank Pal 35; Ayush Bharti four for 20).













14 Good man to broadcast: It will take you to a higher level (5)

4 Set-up aide in shop has beer regularly (9)

15 Aide's strange thought (4)

5 Crush good part of some fruits (5)

16 Estate's scheme dismissing head of depot (10)

12 13

19 First of ranges in petticoat is developed insufficiently (10)

7 Learned men accept short tip about primarily samba rice (7)

21 Go fast, girl, it helps you reach a level up (4)

8 Son's trial joke about new wool-gathering workers (8,4)





18 19

(set by Gridman)




23 24

25 Playing around grandee at open-air restaurant (3,6)






■ ACROSS 1 Directionless, Raja's walking leisurely (8) 6 Albert leaves excuses for bird (4) 9 Cares about royal directions (6) 10 Gridman's confession that he's out-of-date. That's dead end (7) 13 Lass relaxing in excellent grazing area (9)


24 Retrieve a fragment I put in part of leg (5)

12 Rag I represented gets reined with regard to farming (12) 17 Fresh appeal to man — one selling papers (4,5)

27 With Tamil leader, these mistakes would be nightmares (6)

18 Deep mysteries embedded in Bihar canal (6)

29 Taking turns or going back to depot without initial supply (8) ■ DOWN 2 Land needing care redeveloped over time (7) 3 New one in party cast out (6)

Bhagavata Dharma

11 AP lost out — it's mail-related (6)

26 Assert again: US city is involved in organised crime (7)

28 Stagger back from evil look (4)



20 Society girl's lace tears off in disaster (7) 22 Suffer, having energy that isn't high enough? (7) 23 Gold standard, say, of vegetable (6) 25 Sailor hugged most excellent circus employee (5)

Solution to puzzle 11959 AMU N D U N R D I AMO I N V T R I C E S M L O O K O U A B E S T M S A E U R A S R A U V A N I T E G R S E E S A



Solution to yesterday’s Sudoku

The effect of Maya automatically deludes by placing before an individual many options as goals in life which are easily believed as not only important but also as true and enduring. But the spiritually inclined are able to discriminate between the ephemeral and the eternal and are determined to seek only the ultimate goal, liberation, pointed out Sri Damodhara Dikshitar in a discourse. The narratives in the Bhagavata Purana reiterate this truth to help the jivatma see the way Maya ties one to samsara and how propitiating the Lord and being in His service is the best haven of refuge. Prithu’s great grandson, Prachina Barhis, reputed for upholding dharma and for serving his subjects, asks his ten sons, known as Prachetasas, to set out into the world and propagate the race. The ten brothers are staunch devotees of the Lord and proceed westwards where they reach Narayanasaras, a sacred lake frequented by Siva for worship of Narayana. They are wonder struck and pleasantly surprised to see Siva rise from this lake. Siva is equally happy about their selfless devotion to Lord Narayana. He imparts the sacred Rudra Gita to them, wherein the path to liberation through bhakti for its own sake is explained. Intense devotion to the Lord, with no desire for any worldly gain or benefit, is a sure and easy means to win His Grace. This is the spirit of devotional fervour one sees in Tirunavukkarasar who typifies the Dasa marga of worship, which rests on the permanent bond of servant and master between himself and Siva. Accordingly, each one fulfils his enjoined duties. When he realises that God showers His grace on him though he is most undeserving simply because he is a servant, he is so overwhelmed and this act of kindness in turn makes him understand his role, which is to only serve Him wholeheartedly. A ND-ND







Spirited Barcelona sees of Valencia

Footballer dies in crocodile attack Agence France-Presse

Luis Enrique’s men come from behind to maintain the pressure on Real Madrid



A Mozambican footballer was killed by a crocodile on Thursday while training



Barcelona closed to within two points of Real Madrid at the top of La Liga as Lionel Messi scored twice in a thrilling 4-2 win over 10-man Valencia at Camp Nou on Sunday. Barcelona needed to come from behind to keep the pressure on Madrid as Eliaquim Mangala headed Valencia in front. But the on-loan Manchester City defender was sent off for pulling down Luis Suarez after the Uruguayan had levelled and Messi smashed home the resulting penalty. Munir El Haddadi briefly levelled before half-time before Messi and Andre Gomes, with his first Barca goal, sealed the three points.

Gripping draw In the Premier Legue, Sergio Aguero netted a 69th-minute equaliser in a gripping 1-1 draw with Liverpool to pre-

along the banks of the Zambezi. Estevao Alberto Gino, 19, who played for second division club Atletico Mineiro de Tete, lived near the river.

“He stretched his hands into the water after jogging and that was when the crocodile caught him,” coach Eduardo Carvalho said.

vent Manchester City losing ground in the battle for a top-four Premier League finish. Liverpool looked poised to leapfrog City into third place after James Milner gave the visitors the lead with a penalty early in the second half. The results: Premier League: Manchester City 1 (Aguero 69) drew with Liverpool 1 (Milner 51-pen). La Liga: Sporting Gijon 3 (Traore 60, Babin 64, Carmona 67) bt Granada 1 (Ingason 51); Deportivo la Coruna 0 lost to Celta Vigo 1 (Aspas 74); Barcelona 4 (Suarez 35, Messi 45-pen, 52, Andre Gomes 89) bt Valencia 2 (Mangala 29, El Haddadi 45+1). Serie A: Udinese 4 (Thereau 42, Zapata 60, De Paul 68, Jankto 80) bt Palermo 1 (Sallai 12); Roma 3 (Paredes 16, Salah 45+2, Dzeko 68) bt Sassuolo 1 (Defrel 9). Bundesliga: Borussia Monchengladbach 0 lost to Bayern Munich 1 (Muller 63).

Inluential: Lionel Messi ired in two goals, including a penalty.



Goa and Bengal enter the semiinals Akeraj Martins and Cajetan Fernandez ind the target for the host M.R. Praveen Chandran Panaji

Host Goa scraped through to the semifinals with two late goals against 10-man Services in the 71st Santosh Trophy National football championship at GMC Bambolin here on Monday. Trailing by Arjun Tudu’s goal in the eighth minute, Goa found the men for the occasion in Akeraj Martins and Cajetan Fernandez as it scored twice in the space of seven minutes to seal a lastfour place. The 2-1 win ensured Goa finished second in Group A with eight points behind Bengal. It will meet Kerala in the semifinals.


SANTOSH TROPHY Services, which needed a win to qualify, started off on the right note when Tudu found the target. Thereafter, it was Goa which dominated. But it was a tale of missed chances for Goa with Laresh Mandekar and Aaren D’Silva missing sitters in front of the Services goal.

Skipper sees red Services was overtly defensive in the second half but it suffered a blow when skipper Rary Raj was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 67th minute. Goa made full use of its nu-

merical advantage to put pressure on the Services goal. Just when it appeared as if it would be heartbreak for the home supporters, Martins scored the equaliser. After receiving a high ball from Peter Carvalho that eluded the Services defenders, Martins controlled it well to lob the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper in the 82nd minute. Fernandez snatched the match-winner in the 89th minute, a result of good combination play between the Martins, Glan and Akeraj. At Tilak Maidan, Bengal beat Meghalaya 2-0 to become the group winner with 10 points. Meghalaya, which needed a win, paid the price

for defensive errors. Bengal went ahead in the eighth minute off a counter attack which came after a misdirected corner kick by Meghalaya was cleared by the Bengal defence. The long ball came to Manavir Singh who put Shaikhom Ronald Singh through and the striker scored. After the opening goal, Bengal withdrew deep into its half intending to preserve the lead. Meghalaya moved the ball nicely along the flanks but could not penetrate the watertight Bengal defence and the raids fizzled out. At the same time, the Meghalaya defence was vulnerable to counter attacks and it was

well exploited by Bengal. The script was similar in the second half with Bengal defending in numbers. Manavir increased the lead in the 84th off another counter-attacking move which came from another failed Meghalaya raid on the Bengal goal. The results: Goa 2 (Akeraj Martins 82, Cajetan Fernandez 89) bt Services 1 (Arjun Tudu 8). Bengal 2 (Shaikom Ronald Singh 8, Manavir Singh 84) bt Meghalaya 0. Standings (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points): Group A: Bengal 4-3-10-4-0-10; Goa 4-2-2-0-5-3-8; Chandigarh 4-1-1-2-3-4-4; Meghalaya 4-1-0-3-4-6-3; Services 4-1-0-3-2-5-3.









Tackling autism with Julia the muppet Sesame Street’s new character shows how diferences can be accommodated with a little help Agence France-Presse Washington

I may not be welcome in Trump’s U.S.: Hawking LONDON

Stephen Hawking has said that he may no longer be welcome in the United States, as U.S. President Donald Trump’s priority would be to satisfy his electorate, who were “neither liberal nor that well-informed”. The British scientist was in conversation with ITV News. PTI

“Pink Star” diamond to go back on sale LONDON

A 59.60-carat, mixed cut diamond known as “The Pink Star” is returning to auction next month and could fetch a record $60 million, three years after it was sold for even more — only for the buyer to pull out of the deal. The diamond was presented by Sotheby’s in London ahead of the auction in Hong Kong on April 4. REUTERS

Sesame Street has often experimented with new ways of teaching children about social issues since its launch nearly 50 years ago. Now it’s taking on a new challenge: autism. The groundbreaking public television children’s program is introducing a new character, a muppet named Julia who has autism, the show’s creators revealed on the CBS News show 60 Minutes broadcast on Sunday. “The big discussion right at the start was, ‘How do we do this? How do we talk about autism?’” Sesame Street writer Christine Ferraro told 60 Minutes. “It’s tricky because autism is not one thing, because it is different for every single person who has autism.” The episode introducing Julia includes some common scenarios. When Big Bird is introduced to her, she ignores him. And when a group of children decide to

Making her debut: Sesame Street will introduce Julia, a muppet with autism, in a show next month. SESAME WORKSHOP/AP *

play tag together, Julia becomes so excited she starts jumping up and down. “That’s a thing that can be

typical of some kids with autism,” Ms. Ferarro said. But the situation turns into a new game in which all

Canadian teacher wins global prize Maggie MacDonnell wins $1 million for her work in an Inuit village Agence France-Presse Dubai

Britain marks singer Vera Lynn’s 100th birthday LONDON:

Britain has taken a nostalgic trip into the past to celebrate the 100th birthday of singer Vera Lynn by projecting her image onto the white cliffs of Dover. The unusual tribute on Monday is a reference to her World War II classic (There’ll be Bluebirds Over) the White Cliffs of Dover. AP

the children jump around with Julia. “So it was a very easy way to show that with a very slight accommodation,

A Canadian who teaches at a school in a fly-in only village in the Arctic won a $1-million Global Teacher Prize at a ceremony in Dubai on Sunday. Maggie MacDonnell, praised for “changing the lives of her students and transforming her community”, was among 10 finalists chosen from 20,000 nominations and applications from 179 countries. She has taught for the past six years in the Inuit village of Salluit, in the Canadian Arctic, which has a high rate of suicide, according to her

High achiever: Maggie MacDonnell receives the Global Teacher Prize from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. AFP *

biography provided by the award organisers. Ms. MacDonnell has cre-

Archaeologists shine light on life in the time of Christ

ated a life skills programme specifically for girls, in a region where teenage pregnan-

cies are common, with high levels of sexual abuse. Many teachers leave their posts midway through the academic year due to stress and the harsh conditions endured by the indigenous community. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau congratulated Ms. MacDonnell in a video message. “We are all proud of you,” he said. The Nobel-style award was set up three years ago by the Dubai-based Varkey Foundation. The prize is paid in instalments and requires the winner to remain a teacher for at least five years.

they can meet her where she is,” Ms. Ferraro said. As for other characters, the show conducted extensive research, including consultations with educators and child psychologists, and in this case autism organisations, to understand how best to normalise autism for non-autistic children. Julia’s puppeteer, Stacey Gordon, is the mother of an autistic son. “It’s important for kids without autism to see what autism can look like,” she said. “Had my son’s friends been exposed to his behaviours through something that they had seen on TV before they experienced them in the classroom, they might not have been frightened.” Although it’s not clear whether Julia will become a major character, “I would love her to be,” Ms. Ferarro said. “I would love her to be not Julia, the kid on Sesame Street who has autism,” she added. “I would like her to be just Julia.”

Sign language dictionary to release in India soon Print and video formats on ofer Press Trust of India New Delhi

The government is all set to come up with the country’s first-of-its-kind dictionary that aims to bring together various sign languages used by people with speech and hearing impairments. The Indian Sign Language (ISL) dictionary, which is being developed by the Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC), has so far compiled 6,032 Hindi and English words and corresponding graphic representations of signs. The dictionary is being developed in both print and video formats.

Comprehensive base “A comprehensive Indian Sign Language Dictionary is the need of the hour to facilitate communication between the hearing and speech impaired and create a database for further policy making,” Union Social Justice and Empowerment

Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot said on Monday. “Presently, the sign languages in a diverse country like India vary from region to region. Because of this, people from a region face difficulty in communicating with those in another region,” he said at the inauguration of a two-day national conference on empowering people with hearing difficulties. Awanish K Awasthi, Joint Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, said that 50 lakh hearing-impaired people and 20 lakh speechimpaired people in the country will get a uniform language from the dictionary. “It will contain graphic representations of popular signs used by the hearing impaired and will also include regional variations. Apart from that, it will have legal, technical and medical terms,” Mr. Awasthi said.

Goan beach experience on ofer for wheelchair users Festival to be held from March 31 to April 9 in Candolim Special Correspondent Panaji

UMOJA, an online travel service for people with special needs, will launch a beach festival to give wheelchair users and their families an opportunity to enjoy Goa’s Candolim beach. The festival is scheduled from March 31 to April 9. Hundreds of wheelchair users from across the country are expected to visit Goa to participate in #BeachFest2017, organisers said. UMOJA has joined hands

with disabled persons ’organisations, local shacks, water sports operators and hotels to transform Candolim beach into India’s first completely wheelchair accessible beach, Avelino de Sa, president of Disability Rights Association of Goa, told The Hindu.

Accessible cabs Yeshwant Holkar, CEO, UMOJA Travels, said that enjoying a day at the beach should be possible for everyone. The organisers have


Package from space

collaborated with a local operator to create Goa’s first and only wheelchair accessible taxi service, Freedom Cabs. They have also created a wheelchair user’s guide to Goa, covering over 35 accessible hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions. In the spirit of keeping families together, this campaign aims to raise awareness about accessibility. Water rides for those with mobility needs are also being planned.

Now, a virtual reality roller coaster Associated Press AGAWAM

Nails used in cruciixions, jewellery and ossuaries tell the story Agence France-Presse Beit Shemesh, Israel

The Israel Antiquities Authority has offered a rare glimpse into its storerooms, where staff said recent archaeological discoveries have cast new light on life in the time of Christ. The event was organised ahead of the upcoming Christian holiday of Easter, which marks the resurrection of Jesus following his crucifixion. Among finds from the first century discovered around Jerusalem and the Galilee, where the Bible says Jesus lived and preached, are vases, cooking utensils, a wine press, nails used in crucifixions, jewellery and ossuaries. “Nowadays we can restore in a very clear way the daily life during that period, from the moment of birth, through the person’s life, his dining customs, where he travelled across

Historical evidence: Ossuaries with inscriptions in Israel’s antiquities authority storeroom. AP *

the land, and until his day of death including his burial,” said Gideon Avni, head of the authority’s archaeology division.

New discoveries “Over the past 20 years we have made a great leap in understanding the way of life of Jesus and his contemporaries,” he said. “Every week new elements are discovered which

A Beijing public toilet gets face scanners Aims to control stealing of toilet paper

allow a better understanding of this period. “The names on the ossuaries were recognisable, with known figures that are mentioned in the Talmud for example, and this is how you create the connection between what you find nowadays and the people who lived here 2,000 years ago.” Mr. Avni said that the authority is custodian of more than one million objects.


Automatic toilet paper dispensers using face scanners were put on trial at a public toilet in Beijing with the aim of reducing paper usage, a media report said on Monday. The toilet is located at the Temple of Heaven Park, one of most popular tourism sites in Beijing, the People’s Daily said in a report. The park has provided free paper in its public toilets for 10 years but has reported seriously excessive use. Now, six face scanning paper dispensers have been installed. To receive paper, a user has to stand in the facial detection area and be scanned CM YK

for a few seconds. The machine dispenses paper of a certain length but to get more, users have to wait to use the scanner again. Personnel have been stationed to show people how to use the new system. The machines will be on trial for about two weeks before going into service depending on how they perform, the daily said in the report. The manager of the Temple of Heaven Park told the People’s Daily that the paper has been overused mainly by residents who live around the neighbourhood instead of tourists; some people take away rolls of paper because it is free of charge.


Chinese maths textbooks to be translated for U.K. HarperCollins signs ‘historic’ deal with Shanghai publishers amid hopes that it will boost British students’ performance Benjamin Haas Hong Kong

Indo-Asian News Service

Safe journey: A SpaceX reusable cargo ship parachutes into the Paciic Ocean of the southern California coast on Sunday. The Dragon capsule — the only such vessel capable of returning research scientiic samples and other material to Earth — remained docked with the International Space Station for nearly a month after a delivery. SPACEX/AP

A new kind of roller coaster experience is set to premiere next month at a U.S. theme park. The Galactic Attack Virtual Reality Coaster is billed as a fully immersive, virtual riding experience in the Six Flags New England theme park in Massachusetts. When riders board and put on Samsung Gear VR headsets, they’ll see datalike weaponry status, time codes, fuel cells and a countdown clock. A fighter spaceship cockpit materialises and envelops the riders into a tunnel of light. At the bottom of the first hill, riders are launched into the middle of a space battle, coming under attack from flying drones firing lasers and missiles. After swinging through tight channels, riders are brought into one of three drone bays. Each offers a different gaming experience and endings.

British students may soon study mathematics with Chinese textbooks after a “historic” deal between HarperCollins and a Shanghai publishing house in which books will be directly translated for use in U.K. schools. China’s wealthy cities, including Shanghai and Beijing, produce some of the world’s top-performing maths pupils, while British students rank far behind their counterparts in Asia. HarperCollins’ education division signed an agreement to release a series of 36 maths books at the London Book Fair, the state-run China Daily reported, with Colin Hughes, managing director of Collins Learning, calling it “historic”.

“To my knowledge this has never happened in history before — that textbooks created for students in China will be translated exactly as they have been developed, and sold for use in British schools,” the China Daily quoted Mr. Hughes as saying. The textbook deal is part of wider cooperation between the U.K. and China, and the government hopes to boost British students performance in maths, Mr. Hughes added.

At the top Chinese schools, represented by those in the wealthier cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Jiangsu province, ranked fifth in maths scores, according to a recent global study by the Organisation for Economic

Quick with numbers: China’s wealthy cities produce some of the world’s top-performing maths students. NYT *

Co-operation and Development. The U.K. lagged far behind, ranking 27th and tied with Portugal and the Czech

Republic in maths achievement. The report also noted that one in four students in China, along with Singapore,

Hong Kong and Taiwan, receive top marks in maths, a higher proportion than anywhere else. Experts worry the textbooks alone cannot solve Britain’s maths problem, saying the fundamentals of the education systems are too different. “Britain and China’s education evaluation system is very different. In the required subjects, Chinese schools follow a high standard of uniform requirements because most of the Chinese students need to participate in the university entrance examination, so mathematics will be too difficult [for the British],” said Xiong Bingqi, an education expert at Shanghai Jiaotong University and the vice-president of the 21st Century Education Re-

search Institute. Last year the British government announced it would spend £41 million to support half of England’s primary schools in adopting maths teaching methods from Asia. The Department for Education has also flown in teachers from China. But even China’s own commentators have warned their system is not perfect. “Some uphold Chinese education as being better than that in western countries, it is also not without its problems,” said an opinion piece in the Beijing Youth Daily following the announcement of the textbook deal. “It lacks respect for children’s creativity and is too exam-oriented.” Guardian News and Media A ND-ND

tuesday 앫 march 21, 2017


Capital still unclean

Cops take no chances

A dash of diplomacy

Shooting done right

Despite promises made by civic bodies, the Capital is more or less as dirty as it was ive years ago Page 2

Day after Jat agitation was called off, tight security cover in Delhi-NCR hits traffic Page 3

Michelin-star chef Akrame Benallal takes a masterclass where cardamom replaces vanilla pod Page 5

The latest game from Ubisoft is a mix of modern weaponry and drones Page 6



Uphaar ire: no relief for Gopal Ansal Supreme Court rejects plea seeking more time, asks him to surrender; mercy petition pending

Suicide note hints at tif with employer

Krishnadas Rajagopal Shubhomoy Sikdar

Maruti workers struggle to make ends meet GURUGRAM

Brijesh Kumar earned over ₹20,000 per month four years ago at Maruti’s Manesar plant. These days, the 30year-old works as a cashier. Earning just a few thousand rupees per month, he struggles to make ends meet. His life was never the same after he was arrested along with 147 workers in July 2012. CITY

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Woman found dead in Jahangirpuri NEW DELHI

A 22-year-old woman was found murdered at her lat in Jahangirpuri on Sunday evening. Victim Rinku Devi has 8-month-old daughter Arohi. The woman’s body was sent for post-mortem and returned to the family on Monday for last rites. The police said they’re investigating the matter and no person has been apprehended so far. CITY 쑺 PAGE 4 DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

20-year-old woman delivers in PCR van NEW DELHI

A 20-year-old woman delivered a girl inside a Delhi Police PCR van while she was being taken to a hospital. A call was received on the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday about a woman being in labour pain in Jagatpuri in east Delhi. The PCR van rushed to the spot and picked up the woman, along with her aunt. The mother and the baby are now ine, said the police. PTI

Elderly man, wife beaten up in Noida


Uphaar fire tragedy convict Gopal Ansal on Monday surrendered before the police after the Supreme Court rejected his plea and refused to give him any more time. Ansal is now lodged in Tihar Jail for criminal negligence causing the deaths of 59 people in the Uphaar fire tragedy in 1997. A senior jail official said Mr. Ansal completed the surrender formalities in the afternoon and was lodged in the jail meant for convicts. Asked if he had made any special requests or would receive added facilities considering his age, the official said he had been kept like any other prisoner. “Ansal surrendered around 5-5.30 p.m. He is currently lodged in the hospital at Jail No. 3 as he complained of some health issues,” said a jail official.

No extension of deadline Earlier, hearing an urgent mentioning on Monday by Mr. Ansal’s lawyer and senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, a three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar refused to extend the deadline for his surrender to spend four months in jail and complete the remainder of his one-year prison sentence. The court had earlier on March 9 given him time till March 20 to surrender. Mr. Jethmalani said his client needed more time as he had already moved a mercy petition before the President of India. Chief Justice Khehar told Mr. Jethmalani that he could move the President and argue for a reprieve. The case was now in the exclusive pur-

Soumya Pillai New Delhi

Travesty of justice: Gopal Ansal; (right) Uphaar theatre as it stands today. FILE PHOTOS

view of the President. “It is beyond our purview. We cannot grant you anything. You go and tell all this to the President now,” CJI Khehar said. Mr. Jethmalani said his client has asked the President to pardon him. “It was a 20year-old trial and we have paid crores in damages. Now, we are compelled to serve four months in prison,” Mr. Jethmalani submitted. “Make a mention of all this before the President. We decline your plea,” Chief Justice Khehar replied.

Application dismissed The Supreme Court had earlier dismissed an application filed by Mr. Gopal Ansal seeking parity with elder brother Sushil, who was spared a prison sentence on the grounds of advanced age. On March 9, a Bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Kurian Joseph and A.K. Goel had refused to entertain Mr. Gopal Ansal’s plea to treat him on par with his elder brother. Mr. Gopal Ansal had argued that he was “almost a dead man” broken by disease, including cerebral atrophy. But the court had refused any relief.

‘I will keep up the ight’ Fire safety laws still inadequate: Neelam Krishnamoorthy Jatin Anand New Delhi

Neelam Krishnamoorthy said she felt “cheated by the system” but would continue her struggle for justice despite Gopal Ansal’s surrender for a fourmonth term behind bars at west Delhi’s Tihar Jail here on Monday. A verdict which was “too little too late”, the Convenor of the Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) further said, was a far cry from being a deterrent to the owners of public spaces to prioritise fire safety in the future.

‘Feel cheated’ “It is too little too late after 20 years and direct responsibility for the deaths

Neelam Krishnamoorthy

of 59 people and injuries to several people; I feel cheated by the system. This is not what I fought this battle for over the last 20 years,” she said. “The same system has sent ageing politicians behind the same bars to serve a sentence of 10 years for economic offences; it has failed to send what could have been a strong message to the owners of pub-


Up in arms

lic spaces that they cannot be irresponsible with issues related to fire safety which has clearly not been achieved,” she further said. Adding that she feared that those responsible would continue to compromise the lives of others in terms of fire safety norms, Ms. Krishnamoorthy, however, said she would continue her fight against the system.

‘Promise kept’ “I had promisedmy children would fight till the last and I've done so; I still have a very valid legal point to file a curative petition; the war is still on against a system which is clearly not for, or on the side of, the victims,” she said.

‘Victim tortured’ Raj Kamal, the victim’s relative, said he was “mentally tortured” by the owner of the gas agency. Sharma was also struggling with the management to get his salary for the last two months, Mr. Kamal said. “He was a simple man who who used to keep all his sorrows to himself so that his family was not affected. I wish he had spoken to someone. Maybe, we would have helped him,” Mr. Kamal said. Santosh Singh, a neighbour and a colleague of Sharma, however, said he did not see any reason why Sharma would kill himself. “He was with the gas agency for a long time, but he did not have many friends. We will wait for the police to begin investigation

Ishwar Prasad Sharma instead of reaching any conclusion,” Mr. Singh said. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Metro) Jitender Mani said they were yet to begin investigation into the case. “The victim levied allegations against the gas agency’s owner, but did not specify any reason. We will take legal action against the firm after thorough investigation,” Mr. Mani said. He added that a voter’s ID card was also recovered from the victim’s body. Sharma is survived by his wife and three children, who were not available for comments.

Relatives informed Mr. Kamal said their relatives living in Uttar Pradesh had been informed, and the funeral service would be conducted they after reached the city on Tuesday. “We are yet to receive the body. We have been told that he was completely crushed under the wheels of the train,” Mr. Kamal said. Meanwhile, operations on the Yellow Line were delayed for around 20 minutes after the incident, said a Delhi Metro Rail Corporation spokesperson.

Victim lynched for ‘stealing’ from godown, says witness

Purusharth Aradhak

Staff Reporter NEW DELHI

An elderly couple was allegedly thrashed by three men in an upscale residential society in Sector 93A here last week. The police suspect an old feud as the reason behind the attack. The Hindu has accessed a CCTV footage of the incident, which took place around 10 a.m. on March 16. According to the police, victim Subhash Chandra (73) was walking on the society’s premises when he got into an argument with his neighbour, Lokesh Garg. The latter then allegedly attacked him along with his driver. Lokesh’s brother, Kunal, also allegedly joined him in assaulting the man. A domestic help informed the victim’s wife (69), after which she reached the spot. The accused then also allegedly thrashed her. Later, locals rushed to the couple’s help upon hearing their screams. The accused fled when they saw people approaching them. Dinesh Kant Mehta, Mr. Chandra’s brother-in-law, said the couple could have been attacked over an old feud.

A 28-year-old man was allegedly beaten to death by a group of four to five men who accused him of stealing from a haystack godown in north-west Delhi’s Swaroop Nagar on Sunday night. The body of the victim, Shankar (28), was found with multiple injury marks in an open field near Vijay Chowk. No case has been registered so far, but the police have detained three persons for questioning. Probe suggests that the suspects dumped the body around a half-a-kilometre away from the spot to mislead THE investigators. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Northwest) Milind Dumbre said the incident came to light around 7.15 am on Monday after a passerby discovered the body in the field and called the police control room. On prelimin-

Quota battle: DMK women’s wing president and Rajya Sabha MP, Kanimozhi, during a rally in New Delhi on Monday to demand 33% reservation in Parliament and State assemblies. SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR *

ary inquiry the body was identified as that of Shankar, a resident of Jahangirpuri. “His house was traced to C-1733 Jahangirpuri and his family was contacted. The deceased was jobless and unmarried,” said Mr. Dumbre.

Thrashed mercilessly On what made the police suspect Shankar was lynched, Mr. Dumbre said the nature of the injuries suggested that he was thrashed mercilessly. Also a security guard in the area, who had allegedly witnessed the assault, told the police that a group of four to five men beat up Shankar on the suspicion that he stole iron plates and other items from a haystack godown. The guard said he did not inform the police about the incident as he was scared. Shankar’s body was taken to Babu Jagjivan Ram Memorial


Testing times at Congress oice as party grills ticket-seekers Prospective candidates quizzed on knowledge of local issues, functioning of civic bodies, and potential support from voters applicant did < > One not know that

Damini Nath


A 50-year-old man committed suicide by jumping in front of a metro train at Yellow Line’s Azadpur station on Monday. The victim was identified as Ishwar Prasad Sharma, a resident of Model Town. The police said he was last seen waiting at the platform around 8 a.m. Metro and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel rushed the victim to a hospital, but he was declared dead on arrival. A suicide note recovered from the body hinted at a tiff with the owner of the gas company where the deceased had been working as a supervisor for over 10 years. His family, too, confirmed this.

28-year-old beaten to death


Old feud “In January, Lokesh was talking to his friend over phone when he abused him. Subhash, who was passing by, thought it was him whom Lokesh had abused. That led to an altercation between the two,” said Mr. Mehta. Phase II police station in-charge Rasheed Ali said an FIR had been lodged against the accused. “Lokesh and Kunal were arrested and later released on bail. The driver is yet to be identified,” said Mr. Ali.

Man jumps in front of Metro train, dies

New Delhi

To get a Congress ticket for the upcoming municipal elections, prospective candidates will not only have to demonstrate how much support they would get from workers and voters, but will also need to know what exactly Delhi’s civic bodies do.

Choosing the best In preparation for the April 22 polls to the North, South and East Delhi corporations, the Congress on Monday was in the process of narrowing

sewers are maintained by the Delhi Jal Board and not the corporations Senior Congress leader

Preparing the battleground: Party workers from around the country are interviewing the top candidates. *


down its choices for the 272 wards. For the first time, the Delhi Congress had invited

applications for candidature and asked applicants to name five workers in their respective wards who would

support them. The party had received over 10,000 applications. From a control room in West Delhi, the party had also called 94,000 workers to ask them for their preferences of candidates. The top picks for each ward

were selected for the next round. On March 15, 13 observers from the All-India Congress Committee were appointed to help in the screening of applicants. The observers, who are current and former Congress MPs and MLAs from around the country, are interviewing the top candidates for each ward, said party sources.

List this week A senior Delhi Congress leader said three criteria were being discussed in the interviews— the applicants’ knowledge of local issues,

their understanding of the work of the municipal corporations and the potential support they would have from workers. “One applicant did not know that sewers are maintained by the Delhi Jal Board and not the corporations. Another applicant did not know the number of booths in the ward concerned. By focusing on these issues, we are narrowing down on the best candidates,” said the leader. He added that the first list of candidates would be announced by Friday.

(BJRM) hospital where medical examination revealed serious injuries on his body and face that resulted in his death. “During the investigation it was found that the man was beaten up by the mob. Later, the accused took him 400 metres away to an open field and dumped his body there,” said another police officer. “The persons who have been detained claim that Shankar was stealing from the godown and that’s why they beat him up,” Mr. Dumbre added.

‘Victim was depressed’ The police said that his family members have said that he was jobless and depressed for the past few days. His sister Manju, who identified Shankar’s body, said she had gone to the spot out of curiosity and had no clue that the deceased was her brother.

Woman sets self on ire Staff Reporter New Delhi

A 60-year-old woman in Trilokpuri allegedly immolated herself on Monday, following what neighbours claimed was harassment by her son and his wife. Urmila Devi was found burnt to death at her home after a neighbour informed the police about fire emanating from the house. The police said there were frequent quarrels between the victim and her daughter-in-law, Soma. The two women had had a dispute recently, after which Soma and her husband, Rajesh, had moved to Soma’s parent’s house. B ND-ND







Poll panel opposes Swaraj India’s plea


Party moves HC for common symbol should < > Why preference be given

Press Trust of India

BJP seeks Tomar’s expulsion from Assembly

New Delhi

Yogendra Yadav-led Swaraj India’s plea for a common symbol to contest the upcoming civic body polls was on Monday opposed in the High Court by the Delhi State Election Commission (DSEC). The poll panel said that the party’s plea was not maintainable as there are many registered but unrecognised parties that have not been given a common poll symbol. “Why should preference be given to Swaraj India?” the panel asked. The DSEC’s submission was made before Justice Hima Kohli, who listed the matter for hearing on Tuesday.


The Delhi BJP on Monday sought legal action against former AAP minister Jitender Singh Tomar and his expulsion from the Assembly, on the same day a Bihar university cancelled his law degree. Mr. Tomar is an accused in a fake law degree case, which had triggered a controversy leading to his resignation from Arvind Kejriwal’s Cabinet in 2015. Tomar was arrested and later released on bail in 2015 in connection with the case. PTI

Plea for colour photos of candidates on EVMs Growing problem: A huge pile of garbage near the Nirman Vihar metro station in east Delhi on Monday.


A plea was moved in the Delhi High Court on Monday for printing coloured photos of candidates on ballot papers and Electronic Voting Machines, instead of the current black-and-white photos. The court has put up the public interest litigation for hearing on March 24. The plea stated that colour photos could be an additional measure toremove confusion of people at the time of voting. PTI

Illegal posters, hoardings removed in east Delhi NEW DELHI

In the run-up to the civic body elections on April 22, the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) has removed thousands of posters, banners and hoardings that violate the model code of conduct. Acting on instructions from the Delhi State Election Commission, the EDMC launched a drive last week to remove unauthorised political hoardings. STAFF REPORTER



‘Swachh’ Delhi a distant dream Damini Nath

Delhi was supposed to be cleaner, with garbage being collected from homes, segregated and processed in order to reduce the pressure on the landfills. At least, that is what the BJP had promised in 2012 when it contested the municipal corporations’ elections. While the amount of garbage that is processed has increased with the setting up of three waste-to-energy plants, the Capital is more or less as dirty as it was five years ago. Since most garbage dumps or dhalaos are cleaned only once every 24 hours, garbage overflows on to the streets for large parts of the day. East Delhi, where municipal sanitation workers have

we look, < > Wherever dhalaos are overlowing. The EDMC clears them only once a day, so for 23 hours every day, you can see trash strewn all over B.S. Vohra President of the East Delhi RWA Joint Front

gone on strike five times in the past two years over late salaries, is dotted with dhalaos bursting at the seams and roads lined with garbage.

Persistent problem Busy commercial centres like in Laxmi Nagar have trash lying on the road almost all the time. B.S. Vohra, a resident of Krishna Nagar and the pres-

ident of the East Delhi RWA Joint Front, said that not only had door-to-door collection of garbage not been started, but overall cleanliness had deteriorated. “Wherever we look, dhalaos are overflowing. The EDMC clears them only once a day, so for 23 hours every day, you can see trash strewn all over,” said Mr. Vohra. He added that since municipal sanitation staff only swept the roads early in the morning, the cleanliness could not be maintained. “Shops open around 10 a.m. and dump their trash outside, where it stays till the next day. The cleaning should be round the clock. Since the population has increased, the garbage has also increased,” he added. In most authorised colon-

ies, door-to-door garbage collection is organised by residents’ welfare associations. “There are two parallel systems. The private garbage collector is paid by residents and he dumps the trash at dhalaos. The corporation’s garbage trucks come at different times to collect the trash swept up by the safai karamcharis,” said Mr. Vohra.

Long way to go Despite getting funds under the Swachh Bharat Mission and making promises to clean the city, the BJP-run municipal corporations have a long way to go. Subhash Arya, the Leader of the House in the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), however, said that improvements to solid waste management would make a

unrecognised but registered parties. Swaraj India, represented by advocate Prashant Bhushan, however said it has challenged the notification. In its plea, Swaraj India also sought quashing of the DSEC’s April 2016 notification, which said that the nominees of such parties would be treated as independent candidates for allotment of symbols. Swaraj India was floated in October last year by Mr. Yadav and Mr. Bhushan, who were expelled from Aam Aadmi Party after they questioned Arvind Kejriwal’s leadership. The party, registered by the Election Commission of India in February 2017, has contended that the March 14 order was “wholly illegal and arbitrary... and destroyed fairness of the electoral process”. Swaraj India has contended in its plea that providing it a common symbol will create a level playing field between all the parties, whether recognised or not, and ensure free and fair elections.

‘Power is with Centre’ The DSEC added that it was only implementing the directions of the Centre, which has the power to change the rules. The panel said the powers to change the rules have been delegated to the Lieutenant-Governor and not to it. The commission contended that Swaraj India has not challenged their March 14 notification, which bars the granting of a common symbol to the candidates of

Despite promises of the BJP-led civic bodies, the Capital is more or less as dirty as it was ive years ago New Delhi

to Swaraj India? Delhi State Election Commission

big difference in the long run. “We have started the process in the Central Zone. Garbage is being taken from households to fixed and mobile compactors, from where it is taken to the landfill. We have also started to process all our green waste,” said Mr. Arya. According to the Centre’s Swachh Bharat rankings, Delhi’s municipal corporations have a long way to go. While the New Delhi Municipal Counci was ranked fourth out of 73 cities, the SDMC was ranked 39 by the Swachh Survekshan 2016. The north and east civic bodies were not included in the list. With the election campaign about to begin, sanitation will be at the top of the agendas of the political parties.

Fair play: Swaraj India has contended that providing it a common poll symbol will create a level playing ield and ensure fair elections. V. SUDERSHAN *

BJP forms panels, prepares war room AAP sets up screens in each ward 14 committees to plan for elections, expose shortcomings of AAP government Jatin Anand Damini Nath New Delhi

The Delhi BJP on Monday said it had appointed close to a hundred members, including sitting Members of Parliament (MPs), to over a dozen committees formed to manage the party’s affairs related to the upcoming civic polls. The State unit made the announcement after holding a hawan at its headquarters to officially flag-off its preparations for the polls. The BJP has chosen to give representation to many old hands on the 14 committees that were formed. The panels have been given varied responsibilities, including preparing the manifesto and “exposing” the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government. “The list is proof of the party’s commitment towards its senior leaders and office

Auspicious start: Senior BJP leaders perform a hawan at the Delhi BJP oice on Monday. SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR *

bearers 70% of whom have been put on the committees,” said a senior leader, adding that preparations to erect a war room similar to one at the party’s national headquarters had begun. The installation will serve as “ground zero” for analysis of issues and formulation of strategies in addition to the

significant task of deciding on whom to field and from which ward.

Old hands on deck MPs on the manifesto committee include Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Pravesh Verma and Ramesh Vidhuri. Maheish Girri is part of the finance committee while Sports Min-

ister Vijay Goel is at the helm of the ‘Expose of the Delhi Government Committee’. Udit Raj is on a committee dedicated to the party’s outreach to RWAs and Meenakshi Lekhi is on a panel that will deal with affairs related to the State Election Commission. The party said it will soon begin the process of scrutinising candidates for tickets and would give preference to younger faces. It was also eyeing the verdict of the Election Commission of India (ECI) in the matter related to the 21 AAP MLAs appointed as Parliamentary Secretaries. “The aim of the party is to nurture leaders for the next 20 years; so we will be looking for young candidates,” said Rajesh Bhatia, general secretary of the Delhi BJP and councillor from the North Delhi Municipal Corporation.

BJP goes to poll panel against violations by AAP Submits photo proof of ruling party’s name on mohalla clinic boards Staff Reporter New Delhi

A delegation of BJP legislators, led by Leader of the Opposition in the Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta, on Monday approached the State Election Commission (SEC) to complain against alleged violation of the model

code of conduct by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Source said that the commission, in response to the complaint, has sought a report from the Chief Secretary of the Delhi government and the three municipal commissioners. “We met the State Elec-

tion Commissioner S. K. Srivastava in his office at Kashmiri Gate to apprise him of the continued violation of the model code of conduct by the AAP. We have also submitted a memorandum along with photographs to illustrate the continued use of the party’s

9,000 ad-hoc DU teachers’ posts to be illed in a year, says Centre

name at mohalla clinics in addition to other government installations,” Mr. Gupta said, adding that Mr. Srivastava had assured the delegation, which included MLAs O. P. Sharma and Jagdish Pradhan, that all parties will be “given a level field in the coming elections”.

New Delhi

More than 9,000 ad-hoc posts of teachers in Delhi University (DU) will be regularised within a year, the government said on Monday. Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar told the Lok Sabha that part-time employment is not the policy of the Centre and it wants to make the CM YK

teachers’ permanent.


‘No discrimination’ “Our policy is permanent employment. Therefore, in the DU case, where there were more than 9,000 adhoc posts, we have made it compulsory and there was a court case also. Now, the solution is that within one year, all these posts will be

made permanent and not temporary,” Mr. Javadekar said during Question Hour. The Minister said that even those who were appointed part-time teachers or temporary or ad-hoc teachers, are paid regular salary of an assistant professor. “So, there is no discrimination and we want to fill up these posts,” said Mr. Javadekar.

Soumya Pillai

AAP replaces tainted candidate

New Delhi

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is coming up with fresh ways to reach out to voters before the municipal elections on April 22. The party has placed projectors and LCD screens in each constituency to spread the message of its national convenor Arvind Kejriwal. A 20-minute video of Mr. Kejriwal talking about corruption in the municipalities and blaming the BJP and Congress for it, is being shown in all 272 wards. “Delhi’s municipalities are responsible for the upkeep of cleanliness in the city, but all we see around us is garbage. The BJP and the Congress have looted the MCD money to fill their own pockets,” Mr. Kejiwal says in the video.

Party promotion The Chief Minister also talks about the work done by the Delhi government in the last two years and the money they have saved in infrastructure projects. “Take the example of Rani Jhansi flyover, which the MCD was supposed to complete. The project started in 2006. It has been 11 years and the flyover is still not complete. The estimate cost was supposed to be ₹177crore, but they have already spent ₹724 crore. We on the other hand have completed five flyovers in two years and that too be-

Press Trust of India New Delhi

The Aam Aadmi Party on Monday said it has replaced a candidate for the upcoming civic body polls after finding that a criminal case was registered against him. The party has cancelled the candidature of Vijay Pawadia, who was declared as the party’s candidate from Dwarka. “We received a complaint that he had a criminal case against him. On further probe, it was found to be true, so his candidature was cancelled,” said AAP’s Delhi unit secretary Saurabh Bharadwaj.

Reaching out: Two screens have been set up in each ward. Around six shows are screened every day in neighbourhoods and crowded market places. SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT *

low the estimated cost,” the AAP leader says. Party members said that everyday around six shows of the video is screened in neighbourhoods, crowded market places and tea stalls. Each ward has been assigned two such screens. “For every show, we are getting at least 100 to 200 people. This means that till now we have conveyed Mr. Kejriwal’s message to around 1.5lakh

people,” said a party spokesperson. AAP spokesperson Dilip Pandey said that the party’s campaign strategy will be based on the problems that the BJP and the Congress have ignored so far. “We are confident that just like the people of Delhi elected us with a majority in the Assembly elections, we will sweep the wards,” said Mr. Pandey.

He added that along with the video message, a letter written by Mr. Kejriwal is also being distributed door to door. “The letter mentions how the BJP-run civic bodies have stalled infrastructure projects and have only minted money from voters,” Mr. Pandey said. The AAP is also planning to hold neighbourhood sabhas to get to know the local problems of an area.

Wife seeks redress for husband, daughter’s death in air crash The two died in a helicopter crash on way to Vaishno Devi shrine in November 2015 Press Trust of India

HRD Minister says govt’s policy is permanent employment Press Trust of India

In 20-minute clip, Kejriwal accuses BJP and Cong of corruption in civic bodies

New Delhi

The crash happened within seconds of take of.

The Delhi High Court on Monday sought the Centre and Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) response to a woman’s plea seeking compensation for the death of her husband and daughter in a helicopter crash on way to Vaishno Devi shrine in 2015. The crash happened within seconds of take off on November 25, 2015. Based on the woman’s

plea, the court also issued a notice to the company operating the air transport service and the insurance firm with whom the helicopter was insured. Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva asked the DGCA whether its policy with regard to grant of licence to air transport service providers dealt with the issue of providing insurance cover for no-fault liability in case of a crash. The judge asked the regulator to place its policy be-

fore the court on April 26, the next date of hearing. It asked for the DGCA policy as its lawyer told the court that there was a maximum compensation limit of ₹20 lakh for no-fault liability but no minimum amount.

Cancellation of permit The woman has sought a compensation of ₹5 crore from Himalayan Heli Services Pvt. Ltd. as well as cancellation of its permit to operate. In her plea, filed through

advocate Arun Khatri, she has also sought damages from the DGCA and Civil Aviation Ministry for allowing the air transport company to fly the helicopter allegedly without mandatory safety and insurance compliance. The petitioner contended that the chopper service operator tried to lower the amount payable for her husband and daughter’s death to ₹20 lakh and ₹10 lakh respectively from the initial offer of ₹25 lakh each. B ND-ND








Delhi crawls as cops take no chances Day after Jat agitation was called of, tight security cover in Central Delhi and border areas hits traic

Tough day for Noida commuters

Staff Reporter

NH-24, DND lyway were among worst hit

New Delhi

JNU: order on polygraph test on March 27 NEW DELHI

A Delhi court on Monday said it will decide on March 27 whether nine JNU students can be asked by the Delhi Police to give their consent for lie detector test in a case relating to missing student Najeeb Ahmed. PTI

Ex-Bigg Boss contestant denied anticipatory bail NEW DELHI

A Delhi court on Monday dismissed the anticipatory bail plea of former Bigg Boss contestant Swami Om, who along with his associate is accused of molesting and threatening a woman, saying the allegations were grave and he could hamper probe. PTI

Two commit suicide in Greater Noida GREATER NOIDA

Two alleged suicides were reported here on Monday, the police said. Renu Misha, residing in Le Apartments in Bisrakh, died after allegedly jumping from the 14th floor. The second incident was reported from Suthiana where a man, S. Singh, hanged himself at home. PTI

DELHI TODAY Talk: Public lecture on “India and Central Asia: Challenges and Opportunities” by Ambassador Asoke Mukerji, former Permanent Representative of India to the UN at Nehru Memorial Museum & Library (NMML), Teen Murti House, 3 p.m. Talk: “From Apollo to Dionysus, Vishnu to Shiva: Mythological connections between India and Greece” by Devdutt Pattanaik, author and mythologist at Seminar Rooms I, II & III, Kamaladevi Complex, IIC, 6:30 p.m. Talk: “The Google model on internet safety” Speakers: Hemant Upadhyay, Advisor - Projects, IT & Telecom, Consumer VOICE, Rinki Sharma, HeadProjects & CSR, Consumer VOICE at IHC, 7 p.m. Dance: National Festival of Creative Arts: Dramatic Tales by Rasa United in Bharatanatyam, Chhau and Kuchipudi; Depicting Dramatic tales from Mythology, choreographed by Vanashree Rao; Followed by Baramasa in Kathak by Moumala Nayak and her group at IHC, 7 p.m. Exhibition: “Finding Budha”, solo painting exhibition by Atul Todi at IHC, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Exhibition: “Unexplored Spaces”, group exhibition at Academy of Fine Arts and Literature 4/6, Siri Fort Institutional Area, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Exhibition: “The women”, group painting and sculpture exhibition, curated by Amrita Prakash at Artizen Art Gallery, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Exhibition: Painting exhibition by Mohit Gupta at IHC, 7 p.m. Screening: “La Passion D’Augustine” French ilm screening with English subtitles at Alliance Francaise De Delhi, 72, Lodhi Estate, 10 a.m. (Mail your listings for this column at [email protected])


The Jat agitation being called off did little to ease the traffic situation in the Capital as roads remained choked in the New Delhi area on Monday. Vehicular movement was hit as security pickets, put in place as a preventive measure, dotted the VIP zone and border areas.

Frequent checks The Delhi Police had on Sunday evening relaxed all restrictions after the Jats called off their protest march to the Capital. However, security arrangements remained intact at the borders and in the New Delhi area. All vehicles entering central Delhi were checked more frequently than usual, slowing traffic down. Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Garima Bhatnagar, said that jams were witnessed in the Lutyens’ area because of the security arrangements. “We had warned commuters of jams in these areas because of the arrangements. The peak morning hours were particularly bad, but the jams were controlled by afternoon,” said Ms. Bhatnagar. She added that all restrictions were relaxed by 6 p.m. on Monday. “Traffic will remain heavy in New Delhi and adjoining

had warned < > We commuters of jams in these areas because of the arrangements Garima Bhatnagar Joint Commissioner of Police (Traic)

Purusharth Aradhak Noida/Ghaziabad

Vehicles fought for space on roads across UP-NCR on Monday as the Delhi Police placed barricades restricting traffic flow at the border areas. The security pickets were brought out in view of the Jat protest that has now been called off. Among the worst hit areas were NH-24, DND flyway and the Noida-Mayur Vihar link road. In some places, traffic jams were reported even during the evening.

Going all out: Central Delhi resembled a fortress with barricades in place every 300-400 metres.

areas due to security pickets. Please plan your journey accordingly,” the Delhi Traffic Police had warned commuters via posts on Twitter and Facebook on Monday. Central Delhi, meanwhile, resembled a fortress with barricades in place every 300400 metres. Also, banners were placed along the roads, warning people of the implementation of Section 144, which prohibits the gathering of more than four people at a spot.

Commuters hassled Over 1,000 traffic and police personnel were deployed strategically in several other parts of the city. Commuters, however, were upset that despite the



agitation being called off, and planned traffic restrictions being scaled down, traffic remained a mess. “I was coming from Noida and was asked to show an ID card. All vehicles were being checked at the border. I have not seen such security checks even for Independence Day,” said Sudhanshu Sinha, whose office is on Barakhamba Road. Social media was flooded with people venting their frustration. “Pathetic traffic management .... No alternative has been planned to safeguard normal public convenience.... Last 30 minutes standing still at one place with complete mismanagement...” (sic) read one Facebook post.

‘Take other routes’ “There will be heavy checking at border areas as we do not want to take any risk. We advice commuters to take other routes,” said a senior police official who was deployed at the DelhiNoida border. A large number of traffic and police personnel were also deployed at the borders. ‘Mischievous elements’ Although the agitation had been called off, the security men were asked to keep a lookout for any mischievous elements who might try to sneak into the city. “Vehicles are being checked thoroughly. We removed barricades depend-

ing on the requirement from time to time, but they were brought out again to resume checking. We are scanning suspicious vehicles,” the official added. The intensive police checks led to slow traffic movement in and around Delhi and UP-NCR.

Never ending traffic Jams were reported from Mayur Vihar to Mahamaya flyover in Noida, Sector 1, Sector 16, Kalindi Kunj, and Sector 62, among others. Areas from Mayur Vihar to Mahamaya flyover, in fact, remained clogged till Monday evening. Commuters travelling from Noida and Greater Noida took almost double the usual time to cross the stretch near the Dalit Prerna Sthal and Filmcity. Similarly, the commuters taking the Mahamaya flyover-Kalindi Kunj route spent hours in their vehicles on Monday evening as this stretch too witnessed slow traffic near the upcoming Sector 94 police station. Advisory issued The Noida traffic police, meanwhile, issued an advisory for commuters and asking them to opt for other routes.

Elaborate security cover not an efort in vain Delhi Police are considering the last few days as rehearsal for emergency situations in the future Hemani Bhandari New Delhi

Bracing for a protest by the Jats, the Delhi Police has been on its toes for the last few days. Though the agitation was called off ultimately, the police did not consider the elaborate security measures put in place as an effort gone waste.

‘People took note’ “Though the resources weren’t used, the entire practice did not go to waste because it has a symbolic significance.

Scores of police officials were deployed across Delhi, which made people take note of their presence. Also, it prepared us for future contingency situations,” said Delhi Police PRO Madhur Verma. Sources in the police told The Hindu that equipment had especially been procured to handle any situation that may have arisen. As many as 250 video cameras, 30 ambulances, 645 buses, 8 water cannons, 120 CCTV cameras, 350 loud hailers and about 7 drones were in place in case the situation spiralled out of

control, said a senior police officer on condition of anonymity. “Fortunately, none of it was used,” he added. The officer, however, agreed that because the entire force was engaged in preventing any possible mishap, regular cases had to take a back seat.

Positive outlook “Of course, day-to-day crime did not get as much attention Saturday night onwards because all police personnel were busy protecting law and

order. But, this is part of our job,” he added.

Taking a reality check Explaining how the preparedness had benefited the force, DCP (south-west) Surender Kumar said that he and his officials had met the heads of over 36 Jat-dominated villages in the last three days to discuss the protest and try to convince them to not participate in any violence. “We met them, sat with them, listened to their problems and built a bond that we couldn’t in the past,” said

DCP Kumar. He also spoke of how the preparations had helped seniors mobilise junior officials and take stock of the situation on the ground. “For instance, I checked if the water cannons were working in my district,” the DCP added. For the police, the last few days have served as a rehearsal for any emergency situation that may arise. “The exercise told us what must be done, and in how many days we can prepare in case of a situation like this,” said Mr. Verma.

Bumper-to-bumper: Major traic jams were reported from many parts of the Capital, like the Ridge Road (above), on Monday. SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR *









Sri Krishna Premi Swamigal during an ‘unchavrithi’ before the Radha Kalyanam at Sri Rajaram Temple in Dasarathapuri, Delhi. SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

80 vehicles impounded for plying illegally in city NEW DELHI

Special Commissioner (Transport) K. K. Dahiya said on Monday that the Transport Department had impounded 80 vehicles from neighbouring States for allegedly plying illegally in the Capital. The vehicles, mostly buses, were ferrying passengers to cities in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana without proper permits from Delhi’s ISBT Kashmere Gate, Tis Hazari, Majnu ka Tilla and Sarai Kale Khan. STAFF REPORTER

International yoga film festival at ICCR NEW DELHI

Non-profit organisation Namo Gange Trust organised an international yoga film festival at the Indian Council For Cultural Relations (ICCR) auditorium in the Capital on Monday. The festival was inaugurated by UN National Information Officer Rajiv Chandran, ICCR Deputy Director General Namrata S. Kumar and media baron Sandeep Marwah. STAFF REPORTER

Acquitted Maruti workers struggle to make ends meet A trial court had acquitted 116 of 147 workers earlier this month

The Delhi Police have arrested a 30-year-old management graduate from Bihar for allegedly duping several banks by committing fraud at ATM machines across the Capital.

Accounts in 10 banks Dinesh Kumar, an MBA graduate from Sikkim Manipal University, allegedly embezzled ₹22 lakh by opening accounts in 10 banks and carrying out 232 transactions. ‘Refund’ from banks According to the police, the accused, employee of Securitrans India Private Limited, used to visit ATMs to withdraw money from his account and trick the machine into showing that the payment was unsuccessful so as to get a “refund” from the bank despite withdrawing the cash. While committing the fraud, he would ensure that the ATM machine’s sensor was blocked either by cards or currency note. “Due to blockage/ hanging of the sensor, the

Brijesh Kumar earned over ₹20,000 per month four years ago at Maruti’s Manesar plant. These days, the 30-year-old works as a cashier. Earning just a few thousand rupees per month, he struggles to make ends meet. His life was never the same after he was arrested along with 147 workers in July 2012 in the Maruti violence case. Acquitted by a trial court along with 116 other accused earlier this month, Brijesh, who belongs to Dausa in Rajasthan, doesn’t know who to blame for his misery.

‘Lost it all’ “I was working at the plant about 500 m from the spot where violence broke out, but I was still arrested on charges of murder. I was forced to spend 28 months behind bars. Now that the court has acquitted me, who should I blame for my hardships? I sweated blood for the company for seven years and even got four to five certificates from the management appreciating my dedication. But I lost all in one stroke,” he said. He tried to get a job in Jaipur after being granted bail, but his past always managed to catch up. Brijesh is not alone. Most of those

< >

He would block the ATM’s sensor using cards or currency notes. Due to this, the ATM logbook would record the transaction as unsuccessful

Vijay Kumar Deputy Commissioner of Police (West)

ATM logbook would record the transaction as unsuccessful,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (West) Vijay Kumar. The accused would then file a complaint with the respective back in order to get his money “back”.

ATM statements The police arrested Mr. Kumar after the Union Bank of India in Rajouri Garden filed a complaint on March 18 alleging that the amount in the ATM statements did not tally with the actual amount of money in the machine. “Further investigations are underway to identify his associates, if any. The staff involved in the good work will berewarded,” said the Deputy Commissioner of Police.

Caught during routine vehicle check Staff Reporter

Three persons have been arrested for the abduction and murder of a Haryanvi folk singer. A police team was carrying out routine vehicle check at the T-point near Chandu village on Sunday night when a car coming from Badli side was flagged down.

Driver tries to flee The driver tried to escape as soon as the car stopped, but was caught. Two more persons sitting in the car were detained. The police searched the car and found a body in the boot. The deceased was later identified as Joginder alias Lalla Saini, a folk singer from Hisar. The accused, later identified as Gaurav, Mahesh and Sachin, purportedly told the police that they’d gone to attend a wedding in Hisar on CM YK

A 22-year-old woman was found murdered at her flat in Jahangirpuri on Sunday evening. Victim Rinku Devi has 8-month-old daughter Arohi. The woman’s body was sent for post-mortem and returned to the family on Monday for last rites. The police said they’re investigating the matter and no person has been apprehended so far.

Ashok Kumar

Three held for murder of Haryanvi folk singer Gurugram

Hemani Bhandari


Allegedly embezzled ₹22 lakh New Delhi

Was seen with infant daughter an hour before her death New Delhi

MBA graduate held for cheating banks Staff Reporter

22-year-old woman found dead in Jahangirpuri lat

abducted < > They Joginder alias Lalla Saini at Rohtak and demanded ransom. When he refused to arrange the money for his release, he was shot dead Sumit Kumar Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime)

Saturday when they hatched a plan to abduct the singer and seek ransom. They abducted Joginder at Rohtak and demanded ransom. When the singer refused to arrange the money for his release, he was shot dead, said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Sumit Kumar.

Murder in Jhajjar The murder took place at Badli in Jhajjar. The accused were on the way to dispose of the singer’s body in Gurugram when they were caught.

Free at last: Some of the acquitted workers after the trial court order.

acquitted by the court have similar stories to tell — of stigma and financial hardships.

Medical issues Having failed to find a job, Anil now rears buffaloes for a living. Acquitted by the court, he developed asthma during his stay in jail. However, the court refused bail on medical grounds. Anil now ends up spending a huge chunk of his meagre earnings on medicines. “While my former colleagues are earning handsome wages, I’m struggling to arrange two square meals

for my family. Sometimes I end up borrowing money to pay my children’s school fee,” said Anil, who belongs to Sonipat in Haryana. Sumit Nain opened a cloth shop at Garhi Harsaru in Gurugram after he failed to find a job following his release on bail after a four-year jail stint. “I lost my job, four years of my life and faced social ignominy for absolutely no reason. Now that I’ve been acquitted, will the court help me get my job back,” asked the 28-year-old. Panipat-based Sonu Kumar, who holds a diploma in plastic processing from the



Industrial Training Institute (ITI), managed to find odd jobs at a factory after months of unemployment. However, he was asked to leave after the management learnt of his arrest in the Maruti case. “Even relatives and neighbours suspected me of wrongdoing. However, my acquittal has helped smoothen things over. The last four years have been a nightmare. I will try to put it all behind me and not blame anyone,” said Sonu, who returned to his village in Samalkha after he was granted bail in 2015.

Protest against new rules on diagnostic lab test reports ‘M.Sc. postgraduates fear loss of job or demotion’ Bindu Shajan Perappadan New Delhi

While many corporate hospitals and private diagnostic laboratories across the country have medical Master of Science postgraduates interpreting and signing laboratory test reports, the Clinical Establishments (Central Government) Rules make it mandatory for all diagnostic laboratories to have doctors registered with the Medical Council of India or the State Medical Council to do this instead. “Implementation of these rules in two States recently — Rajasthan and Jharkhand — is making postgraduates jittery across the country. There’s widespread resentment among medical M.Sc. postgraduates, whose grouse is that hundreds of them will either lose jobs or be demoted to the role of laboratory technicians if the new rules are implemented by all State governments,’’ noted a release issued by the National M.Sc. Medical Teachers’ Association (NMMTA). The Union government enacted the Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010, to register and regulate all clinical establishments. Subsequently, the National Council for Clinical Establishments was set up and the Clinical Establishments (Central Government) Rules were notified in 2012. While 10 States and six Union Territories, except Delhi, have adopted the rules, they’re implemented only in Rajasthan and

Body found According to neighbours, Rinku was last seen around 4 p.m. on Sunday with Arohi on the street. After an hourand-a-half later, the neighbours were informed by their tenant’s daughter about Rinku’s body lying on the floor of her house. The girl had gone to play with Arohi. “The door was latched from outside. When the child opened it, she found Rinku’s body on the floor and Arohi crying,” one of the neighbours Rakesh Kumar told The Hindu. Rinku’s 25-year-old husband Rajkumar Gupta, who

argument with the tenant on Sunday morning over his drinking problem and threatened to evict him.... Sooraj Gupta The cousin of the victim’s husband

runs a spice stall in the market nearby, was informed. He rushed his wife to the hospital, where she was declared brought dead. Mr. Gupta’s cousin Sooraj Gupta, 24, said he suspected the role of the tenants who reside on the floor above in Rinku’s death. “My cousin had an argument with the tenant on Sunday morning as he was troubled due to his drinking problem and had threatened to evict him if he didn’t mend his ways. The tenant’s younger brother, was living with him for the last couple of days, is now on the run,” added Mr. Sooraj Gupta. While the neighbours suspected a robbery since some jewellery was missing from the house, Mr. Sooraj Gupta alleged it was a case of as-

sault gone wrong. “I think the person who entered the house didn’t come to commit robbery. He probably wanted to assault the woman but killed her because he couldn’t and was scared of getting caught. Though some jewellery is missing, but everything is as it is,” he said. He said the police had taken the tenant, his wife, daughter and Mr. Rajkumar Gupta for interrogation. Ruling out the possibility of his cousin’s involvement in her death, he said: “The parents told us that Rinku used to talk to them every day and never complained of fights with the husband. I don’t think he has any role in her death.” Confirming this, a neighbour said, “We never saw the them fighting. This was a very good family.” The police said investigations are underway. “The tenant is one of the suspects, but he’s not the only one. We’re investigating the matter and all suspects are being questioned. We’ll apprehend the culprit very soon,” said a senior police officer.

Workshop on viewing ‘disability as diversity’ Day-long meet titled ‘Humari Zubaan’ held at JNU Staff Reporter New Delhi

The Centre for Study of Social Systems (CSSS), in collaboration with the Equal Opportunity Office and the JNU Visually Challenged Students’ Forum, organised a day-long workshop at Jawaharlal Nehru University titled “Humari Zubaan — From Impairment to Disability” on Monday.

Rehabilitation The participants deliberated that disabled people at most

‘Widespread resentment’: Members of the National M.Sc. Medical Teachers’ Association protesting at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Monday. SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

cousin [victim’s < > My husband] had an

conferences are discussed from the rehabilitation perspective.

Not a tragedy They said the conference wanted to highlight and advocate seeing disability as just another form of diversity rather than a tragedy. The organisers said the disabled individuals are human beings too and have the right to compete in the job market, to be a lover/ spouse, to be parent, and to get good care.

A documentary titled “Humari Zubaan” was presented at the workshop. It’s based on 50 biographical narratives.

Accessibility issue The students as well as representatives of student political parties spoke on the theme of ‘accessibility on the JNU campus’. The day ended with a play by theatre group Soch titled “The Coffee Shop”, based on the life of people with disability.

DCW helps woman get maternity leave pay


Press Trust of India

Jharkhand. Since health is a State subject, the decision to adopt and implement the Act rests with the State governments. Although the NMMTA has opposed the rules and written to all the authorities concerned, including Union Health Minister J. P. Nadda, to reconsider the rules, but in vain.

‘Unjust exclusion’ Association president Sridhar Rao said: “We’ve protested against this unjust exclusion and demand that the National Council for Clinical Establishment modifies its guidelines to accommodate medical M.Sc. degree [irrespective of a Ph.D] as qualification to interpret and sign diagnostic test reports in microbiology and biochemistry. Since medical M.Sc. is included in the first schedule of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, we urge the Health Ministry to register medical M.Sc. degree holders in the central or State medical councils.

Laboratory testing services are not the practice of medicine, therefore the Health Ministry must not restrict the role of interpretation and signing laboratory reports to only doctors.” “The students also learn about the physiological functions of body, the disease process and the various parameters in health and diseases, which enable them interpret diagnostic tests,” Dr. Rao said, urging the government to set right the anomaly.

New Delhi

‘Quality control’ Arjun Maitra of the Association added: “Medical M.Sc. is a postgraduate degree offered in medical colleges recognised by the MCI and awarded under the faculty of medicine by the university. The students are also trained in all aspects of clinical diagnostics, including specimen collection, processing, quality control, and interpretation of results.’’

Company accepts fault “She approached us, after which the company was issued a notice. Following the proceedings, the company accepted its fault and paid the due amount.” She told the DCW that when she availed leave in December, the human resources department had promised paid leave. However, she was denied the salary when she went to collect it in February.

A woman employee with a private firm who was denied salary during maternity leave was granted the benefit following intervention by the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW). “The company in Okhla industrial area had agreed to give maternity leave to the woman, a senior merchandiser, but denied salary amounting to ₹1,08,000 for three months,” a DCW official said.

Youth gets 10 years’ RI for rape Sexually assaulted a 10-year-old girl at Usmanpur in east Delhi in 2014 Nirnimesh Kumar New Delhi

A Delhi court has sentenced a youth to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment for sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl at Usmanpur in east Delhi in 2014. Additional Sessions Judge Sanjay Sharma convicted and sentenced accused Sonu alias Surender on the basis of evidence by the victim, her mother, father and brother. The medical examination report also corroborated the crime. “The victim narrated and

deposed all the acts of the accused, right from her taking by the accused from her cot from outside her room to his room after tying her hands, legs and mouth, committing rape with her and then trying to conceal her under the bed. Her testimony was duly corroborated by her brother and mother,” the Additional Sessions Judge said.

Medical evidence “The allegations made by the victim have also been corroborated by the medical evidence. It was deposed by

the doctor that she had examined the victim. She proved the alleged history given by the victim, which was also similar, i.e., that the accused had taken the victim while she was sleeping to his room, closed the door and committed penetrative sexual assault. The medical evidence is further corroborated by the forensic science lab test result,” the Judge said. “In view of the above discussion , it has been proved by the prosecution beyond reasonable doubt that ac-

cused Sonu alias Surender had taken the minor victim to his room and committed penetrative sexual assault upon her on June 23, 2014,’’ the Judge further said.

Convict fined He also fined the convict ₹2,000 for the offence punishable under Section 376(2) (i) and (n) IPC. Since the convict expressed his inability to pay compensation to the victim, the court directed the Delhi State Legal Services Authority to pay suitable compensation to her. B ND-ND







Back with a new tune

A dash of diplomacy

Remember Anaida who took us on “Oonchi Neechi Dagariya” at the turn of the new millennium? After a break, the pop singer returns as a food curator promoting authentic Persian cuisine

Ahead of ‘Good France 2017’, Michelin-star chef Akrame Benallal takes a masterclass where cardamom replaces vanilla pod and safron emerges as an alternative for black charcoal

madhur tankha

While choreographing a fashion show as a teenager, Anaida realised there was a goof-up on the ramp and she had to step in to salvage the scene. So she used her vocal chords to keep the audience riveted. Her song was lapped up. Since then it has become a habit with this versatile singer, who can sing in many languages including Persian, of taking up initiatives spontaneously. In the 1990s, when the pop music wave was on its crest, Anaida delivered a series of hits, starting with her teeny-bopper album “Love Today Hai Nahin Asaan”. In times, when visual appeal was more important than vocal strength, Anaida’s music videos made an impact along with Shweta Shetty and Alisha Chinai. And she is now using the same passion in showcasing her mastery over Persian cuisine.

Historical connection Anaida, who was born in Iran, wanted to serve authentic food to Indians.“When I stormed into the musical scene at the age of 15, I was not a trained singer. Similarly, I am now into making my favourite dishes when I am not a trained chef. This is my first food venture. I love cooking and feeding people but never thought that one day I would start it professionally. There is so much of connection and history between the two countries. So many Iranians live here yet there is only one Persian eatery in Bangalore and only a small one in Chennai. Hardly any restaurant serves authentic Iranian cuisine which is non-spicy and has lot of veggies even though primarily dishes are non vegetarian,” says the singer who is curating Persian popup at SodaBottleOpenerWala in New Delhi’s Khan Market

Cheers to life: Anaida at SodaBottleOpenerWala in New Delhi

till April end. She wanted to demonstrate that Persian food’s connection with Parsis, who settled down in India about 1,000 years ago, is distinct. “Parsis started a new genre of food. It is lovely food but different from what is served in Iran. Parsis have been here for so many years and

I stormed into < > When the musical scene at the age of 15, I was not a trained singer. Similarly, I am now into making my favourite dishes when I am not a trained chef


their food has been Indianised. It has lot of mirchi and masala. In Iran, saffron is used in good quantity in every dish. Saffron is a mood elevator. We also use white and black pepper and cinnamon. We use Indian spices like garam masala but not in the same quantity as it is used here. Our garam masala doesn’t have any chillies,” she informs. It was restaurateur A.D. Singh’s idea that she should start cooking. “It took us a year and the response so far has been fabulous. In Thane, we received stupendous response. So also in Noida,” says Anaida, who is celebrating Nowruz at the eatery. As a busy performer, Anaida would travel alone.

“There were few standalone restaurants then. In Delhi, there were some but Mumbai had Chinese and spicy Indian food which I could not have. So one day, I was shivering at a place in Udaipur and next day I was feeling hot in Kochi. I was missing the food which my mother used to prepare for me. As a singer, I could not afford to be sick and had to deliver on the stage. So I started making dishes holistically based on her teachings as a means to heal myself. Therefore, I have kept healthy magical soup in my menu.”

Magic soup Talking of the soup, the first dish that Anaida made was “Soop-e-Jadooi”, which she

describes as magical and recommends for anyone feeling under the weather. “It is a coriander chicken soup with pearl barley, mixed sprouts, turnip, mushroom, carrots and roasted vermicelli. Coriander is anti-inflammatory. Turnip is an underestimated vegetable. The way I prepare, you would not notice its presence but enjoy its benefits. Mushroom and coriander go into the soup for only three minutes so they retain their beneficial nutrients. Carrot has antioxidants. This soup takes 15 minutes of cooking.” Her music’s connection with food is a life changing experience. “My mother was an expert in using natural ingredients for curing people. She was a designer but would use her expertise with food in healing people. Mom would not allow us to take chemicals and medicines. Everything at home was natural. As I was a rebel, I studied science for a reality check .” Only when she fell ill and was in pain so much so that she had to take a break from singing for four years that Anaida realised the importance of her mother’s teachings on Tebb-e-Sonnati (traditional medicine of Iran). For the last ten years, Anaida had serious health issues and was compelled to take a sabbatical. “After my mother’s death, I took a break and started concentrating on holistic well being. I started projects outside India. I did an album on meditation which travelled to different countries. When I started on the theme of meditation album, 20 years back, no music company was prepared to back it.” After 9/11, she was part of Michael Jackson’s ‘What more can I give’ which had 44 artistes from across the globe. “I am a big fan of his since childhood. He was a genius and wonderful human being,” reminisces Anaida. After turning to organic food, Anaida’s life has changed for better. “Nature is intelligent. The world is shrinking so one can get all kinds of ingredients. If you eat intelligently, you would not fall ill. Now, I don’t remember the last time I had headache,” she sums up with relief.

shilpa raina

He took three cardamoms, crushed them and quickly added to the milk, which was boiling on the stove. Confident in all black attire, Michelin-starred French chef Akrame Benallal, while chewing gum, told a group of men surrounding him round the table that back home, in France, he uses vanilla pods instead of cardamom. “Vanilla pod is quite expensive here, so this is a good replacement,” he said. “But I love its fragrance and I also love black cardamom. I use it quite often in my dishes in France,” he admitted. The black cardamom then became the topic of discussion and the men circling Benallal started telling him about the properties of the condiment and its history. He absorbed all the information and then smilingly said, “I just didn’t want to demonstrate how well I cook, I wanted to learn from you and this is a great way of doing it.” It was a masterclass chef Benallal had taken last evening at the French Embassy to prepare, pineapple coated with cardamom black caramel for the participants who were master chefs from several five-star hotels of the city. This was a prelude to the international culinary event, ‘Gout De France/ Good France 2017’, which is being celebrated worldwide today for which 2000 chefs across five continents have created a menu featuring gourmet French cuisine aperitif and canapes, entrée, main courses, cheese platter, dessert, and French wines and champagnes. “It is a wonderful initiative. Food is a great way to promote cultural diplomacy and events like these are a good way to promote French food and culture to people. We would like people to try French food and visit our country too,” Benallal said.

Culinary diversity This being his first visit to India, he said that he was overwhelmed by India’s cultural

Black is in: Akrame Benallal during the masterclass

diversity and gastronomical delights she had to offer. “It has always been my dream to come here. There is so much to learn from this country. The food that I had here is completely different from French food. It is interesting to see how young Indian chefs are experimenting with food and preserving traditional recipes,” he said. Elaborating on his style of cooking Benallal said that he adds a “dash of love” in each food preparation. “My mother always told me not to treat my customers as guests, but as a family. So, I

Good spots Some of the restaurants in Delhi celebrating ‘Good France 2017’ include Fire at The Park, The Grill Room at The Lalit Hotel, Nostalgia at The Imperial, The One at Le Meridien, Orient Express at Taj Palace

add love in everything I cook.” For close to a decade, he has been creating dishes that are black in colour. According to him, this is the colour he likes and it is also his way of paying respect to his favourite French painter Pierre Soulages. “Most of his works are in black paint and I love all his work. I can’t afford his paintings, so I have decided to pay an ode to him through my food. This is why I love to create dishes that are black in colour,” he said. He adds ‘bamboo charcoal’ to give his dishes black colour, and while he added bamboo charcoal to the milk, one of the chefs asked him if he would recommend any substitute. And pat came the reply, “saffron”. “It too has rich colour. You can also add coffee,” he said. “Never be afraid to experiment. That is the key,” he added.

‘Heroism is not about gender’ Taapsee Pannu on nepotism in Bollywood and her growth as an actor Atif Khan

Sustainable fashion Extending support to sustainable fashion, actress Dia Mirza turned up for the H&M Conscious Exclusive collection at the recently concluded Amazon India Fashion Week at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. Wearing a sheer, feminine tulle gown, the actress said: “I am amazed to see innovations in sustainable fashion. The initiative is a big step in creating a more sustainable future for fashion. I love how every individual piece has a sense of occasion, but most importantly, also a role to play in creating a more sustainable future of fashion.”

After Pink , the film industry is seeing Taapsee Pannu in a new light. She is no longer interested in shining in the reflection of a star. She is happy with her choices and wants to assert that heroism is not about gender through her upcoming film Naam Shabana where she plays an intelligence officer on a mission. Edited excerpts: Has the industry accepted you or do you still feel like an outsider? ■ What you see of me in Bollywood is courtesy my films in the South as it is they who have made me the actor and the person I am today. The journey in Bollywood is very smooth and upward

and I do not have much to complain. I think I had taken calculative steps and wellthought out decisions which were the result of my experience in the Tamil and Telugu films. I accept that there is a lot of nepotism in Bollywood but I have not seen the brutal side of it and I knew that I have to make my way out of it through my work and media support. I do not attend parties more often because I thought people may think that being an outsider I am trying hard to fit in. But recently I attended the success party of Badrinath Ki Dulhania where I met many people and everyone was so warm to me. So based on my experience, I do not feel as an outsider in Bollywood. What comparisons do you draw as a female actor between Bollywood and

film industries in the South? ■ Be it work wise or atmosphere wise, there is no difference apart from the language part. As a female actor, I can say that Bollywood has offered me more varied roles which I had not done in the South. Also, I am a girl next door for my Hindi audience which gives freedom to writers to write varied roles for me. Though in Telugu films, I have a more glamorous and diva kind of image but I was never attributed the image of a ‘sex symbol’. And the audience do praise female actors’ works and fine actresses like Saundarya, Vijayashanti and Sridevi came from the South. They are known for their acting skills. Of all the roles you have played, which one is

closest to the real Taapsee? Do you think women, in general, have become assertive about their choices and that is reflecting on screen? ■ I am happy that I have been offered such a diversity of roles but my role in the small film is the one in which I was myself and I did not have to prepare as I am the same person in my real life which I have played. I think cinema is a mirror of the society. Those changes, which are happening around us, can be seen in our films. I agree that women have taken the centre stage in a lot of places and it is the reason we have a film centred around women almost every month which was not the case earlier. I take it as a progressive step. There are not many

Action time: Taapsee Pannu says Bollywood has ofered her more varied roles

female actors doing action on screen. Don’t you think that breaking bones on screen are easier than breaking stereotypes? ■ I can say Naam Shabana will take action to a next level and I wish people accept female actors doing action on screen.

I have undergone training in mixed martial arts, judo and krav maga for the role of Shabana which required much more intense action than what is normally seen in Bollywood. I hope it to be a game changer because I am a girl in the film who is doing things which a typical

girl will not do and doing action makes me feel at par with men. I am fighting a battle for gender equality and it is the best film to break the stereotype of male heroes and prove that heroism is not about gender and even a girl can be a hero in any given situation.







Conversations with Nature on Canvas

La Passion D'Augustine

All India Fine Arts & Craft Society is holding an solo show of artworks by M Rossetta Luther. The artist’s inspiration comes from nature, from the peace that one can find in the beautiful world that God has created. Venue: 1 Rafi Marg, New Delhi Time: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Unexlored Spaces

National Festival of Creative Arts

Alliance Française de Delhi Cine Club and Québec Government Office will screen French film with English subtitles directed by Léa Pool which revolves around a small rural convent Quebec school. Venue: M.L. Bhartia Auditorium, Lodhi Estate Time: 10 a.m.

Ecstasy for Life

School of Visual Art, World School of Design is presenting a group show of paintings. The participating artistes include Abhimanue V. G., and Aditi Aggarwal among others. Venue : Academy of Fine Arts & Literature, 4/6, Sirifort Institutional Area, New Delhi Time: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“Dramatic Tales” will be presented by Rasa United in Bharatanatyam, Chhau and Kuchipudi choreographed by Vanashree Rao followed by Baramasa in Kathak by Moumala Nayak and her group. Venue: Stein Auditorium, IHC, Lodhi Road Time: 7 p.m.

Shridharani Gallery is holding a solo art exhibition of works by Devendra Shukla. The artist is exhibiting about 38 drawings, paintings, murals in metal and mix media in different sizes. Venue: Triveni Kala Sangam, 205, Tansen Marg, Mandi House, New Delhi Time: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.









Google comes home


TECH-A-BYTE Alexa now comes to iPhones and iPads Alexa, the voice digital assistant from Amazon, is rolling out to iPhones and iPads via the Amazon shopping app. Users will soon have the option to tap on the microphone icon on the search bar and ask questions, or give orders related to shopping, music, news, weather, traffic etc. Hitherto, Alexa was available only to users of Amazon’s Echo speaker and other Alexaenabled devices. While Alexa might seem to be in direct competition with Siri, the crucial difference is that Siri is embedded in the operating system, unlike Alexa, which is in the Amazon shopping app. The feature is yet to come to Android phones.

E-wallets are popular but face attacks too While on one hand, e-wallets have seen an increase in usage post the November 8 demonetisation, there has been a rise in malicious attacks on them too, according to a study by Akamai, a leading content delivery network. The hits to web pages of e-wallet companies rose from 512,115,015 per day in September to 1,264,470,283 per day in February. The peak was December, with 1,521,020,583 hits per day. Meanwhile, cyber criminals have been trying to break in as well. As many as 94% of attacks were done in such a way as to steal business critical data, and 76% of the attacks were remote file inclusion attacks, which aim at uploading malware on servers from a remote location and taking over the website.

in style The best Google Home add-ons

You may have to import one, but trust us, getting Google Home is well worth it

Netlix By going to Devices>Home>Settings> More>Videos and Photos, you can link your Netlix account and then control the service using Google Home. Want to play an episode of Stranger Things? Just ask! And you can skip and pause, etc.

team t3

The voice-controlled speaker market is heating up. Amazon Echo continues to make strides, and now Google Home, a voice-controlled device in the same vein as the Amazon Echo, but with the advantage of having access to Google search, is here. As with Echo, you can control a range of smart home devices and play music via Spotify and Google Play Music. You can also control connected Chromecasts around your house, meaning you can ask Google Home to play something on your TV without you having to lift a finger (or a remote). Google Home hasn’t officially launched here just yet (though you can import it from the US), so the services attached to it aren’t as wide-ranging as those linked to Amazon Echo. For instance, while Amazon’s Alexa app enables you to control all manner of smart home devices – from Netatmo thermostats to Philips Hue lighting and more – Google Home only enables control of Hue and Nest. This may change when the device officially launches, but until then, it’s something for early adopters to bear in mind. The device itself is more compact than Amazon Echo, and looks a little like an air freshener or a small vase. The base can be swapped out too, enabling you to change the colour to suit your living space. And because of its diminutive nature, while its speaker is decent enough, it’s not as powerful as Amazon’s offering. However, you can hook up a few Google Homes for a multi-room audio system – something you can’t do with Echo. Anyway, let’s discuss the search function, because this is where Google Home excels. Whereas for more obscure questions Amazon Echo typically responds with an ‘I’m Sorry, I don’t know how to answer that’, Google Home will pull the top search result from Google and read it aloud to you. So out of the box, it’s a great device for quickly finding answers to questions without you having to dive into the app – as with Echo – and add new skills. It soon becomes second nature to quickly ask Google Home a fact. Yes, it’s currently more of a hassle to import Home from the US, but the effort is worth it. All it takes is six steps to get Google voice search in your home and controlling all your devices.


Adapt it!

As Google Home isn’t officially available yet, and doesn’t charge via Micro USB or USB-C, you’re going to need an adapter to use it. While some are concerned about voltage, we’ve found that a cheap travel adapter works just fine. You can pick one up at a local hardware store or online for a few hundred bucks.


Connect to home

The app will find your own Google Home and connect to its temporary hotspot to begin the set-up. It’ll then play a test sound on Google Home to make sure you’re setting up the right device. Tap on ‘I heard it’ to continue set-up – next, we’ll name Google Home properly so all devices work with it correctly.

Name your home

The app asks what room your Google Home is in, and you can name it using a preset, or by choosing Other. Once you’re all good, hit Continue and choose a Wi-Fi network to connect Home to. Enter your Wi-Fi password and hit Continue. Home may install an update at this point, so wait a while.

Get the app

The new Google Home app controls not only Google Home but any Chromecast devices you have around your house. It’s available for iOS and Android, so go to your chosen app store and download. Next, tap the Devices button (the small speaker and TV icon, top-right). The app will scan for a Google Home device. Next, hit Set Up.




Google Assistant

Google Assistant is available in only US English at the moment. Sign into Google using the Home app and go through the steps, giving it permission to access your data, such as your calendar and to-do lists. Set the Location next.


Chromecast Of course, Google’s Chromecast devices pair up perfectly with Google Home, enabling you to ask the device to play music on a certain speaker, or even play YouTube videos on your TV. Home will work with both Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra.

Philips Hue Smart-home devices can be controlled via Google Home – most notably Nest (rather unsurprisingly) and Philips Hue. Ask Google to turn up your thermostat to a certain temperature, or turn of some, or all, of your lights. It’s as simple as that.

Musical home

If you’re subscribed to Spotify or Google Play Music, you can add these accounts – but you can have only one service as a default. Spotify is the most popular; to add this, select it on the music services screen and then hit Link to link your Spotify account. And you’re done – ask Google Home anything you like!

Palette planning Just twist of the speaker grille and replace it with a diferent-coloured one. Yes, you’ll have to buy one separately.



Tactical shooting done right A game version of the TV show Narcos with plenty of fun in a lush sandbox

WhatsApp to bring back text status feature The Facebook-owned popular messaging platform WhatsApp recently did away with the text-based status feature and introduced a visual variant that disappears after 24 hours. But not all users were pleased. Following the backlash, it is bringing back the text status option, while continuing with the imagebased variant. The text status has reappeared in the Android Beta version of WhatsApp in the About section of the Profile, according to TechCrunch. The feature will roll out to all Android users this week and soon after to the iOS platform.

New Chrome update cuts laptop battery usage Ever since Microsoft announced last year that use of its Edge browser helps users save computer battery, Google has been working on similar improvisations to Chrome. The latest update released last week promises to do precisely that by throttling the individual background tabs, which consume a third of the browser’s power usage on desktop. According to Google, the throttling mechanism will lead to as much as 25% fewer busy background tabs. However, tabs playing audio or maintaining real-time connections will not be affected. CM YK

andre rodrigues

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands Developer: Ubisoft Paris Publisher: Ubisoft Price: ₹3499 on Xbox One and PlayStation 4

Imagine if the hit Netflix show Narcos — about Pablo Escobar’s drug cartel in the ’70s — was set in today’s world with all that modern weaponry and drones at our disposal. The latest game from Ubisoft, Ghost Recon Wildlands, is the execution of that thought. It’s a tactical military shooter under the Tom Clancy Ghost Recon franchise, set in a massive open-world sandbox (games with limited restrictions on players) in South America. Wildlands is a greener, yet no less meaner venue than the urban grit of The Division, Ubisoft’s last open-world game.

What’s it about? The game is set in a fictitious version of Bolivia. It’s a controversial decision by the developers which has brought on the ire of the actual country’s government. It’s understandable, because in Wildlands’ Bolivia, everything and everyone is controlled by the Santa Blanca Cartel that’s headed by the game’s

Out in the elements: A still from the game

version of Escobar, a badass gringo named El Sueño. The kingpin is a mass murderer that won’t stop killing women and children. He’s got the cops in his pocket and his Sicarios (lieutenants) are spread out across Bolivia. The government wants to take down Santa Blanca and


.................................................... ....................................................

The elite team aside, the best part of Wildlands is Bolivia you play an agent of the elite task force, Ghosts. The mission is to defeat the cartel using guerrilla warfare, deep behind enemy lines. Your weapons include an array of advanced silenced guns and drones to plan and strategise your attacks. The best part of Wildlands is Bolivia, one of the biggest open-world sandboxes out there today. The game allows you to roam free in lush green forests with pelting rain, salt flats, mountains, deserts and more. It’s a living,

breathing world with over 20 provinces for you to explore.

How does it play? Think of the game as Grand Theft Auto (GTA) with a tactical spin to it. You have to infiltrate enemy bases to complete missions with your squad. Planning and stealth are important. You’re usually outnumbered and outgunned, so learning the terrain is vital. The game is best at getting unpredictable, allowing you to improvise as you go along. It adds a bit of life to the otherwise repetitive missions. Plus, having friends to pop in with multiplayer makes it all the more fun. Wildlands has only a handful of mission types, which

need to be completed to draw out the Sicarios of each region. The repetition is made worse by the terrible physics of the cars, bikes and choppers. A routine drive can turn into an off-roading experience. It’s a pity because there are a lot of fun vehicles like dune buggies and dirt bikes to drive around. Hopefully, this should be fixed in an upcoming patch. As for the graphics, Bolivia is incredibly beautiful and picturesque in the game. Especially with the dynamic weather effects that change the terrain. For instance, rain can make the roads mucky and muddy. Even the non-player charac-

ters in the game are very detailed. Bottomline is, Bolivia is so beautiful it should have its own travel brochure.

Should you get it? If you love tactical shooters, then Wildlands is a gorgeous game you can dive into. While it gets repetitive, it’s a lot of fun to see how the world reacts to each mission differently. The options are endless, that is, if you don’t mind spotty driving mechanics and repetition. Ghost Recon Wildlands is all the cartel killing fun you can have in one package. Andre Rodrigues is a product designer frequently found playing video games with his daughter B ND-ND

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