NEW DELHI 23 AUGUST 2020 SUNDAY `9 PAGES 26 facebook/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard instagram.com/themorningstandard ASK PRABHU The Future is Here www.thesundaystandard.com/www.morningstandard.in On the Wings of Luxury PLUS: 12 PAGES Continued Culinary Connect MAGAZINE The Novel Behind the Novel EXCLUSIVE VOICES Prabhu Chawla TJS George Shankkar Aiyar Pushpesh Pant Post your questions on website www.newindianexpress.com, and Prabhu Chawla, Editorial Director, The New Indian Express, will answer them. Sheila Kumar Rajat Chaudhuri Anuja Chandramouli Amar Bhushan HC calls Jamaatis scapegoat, quashes FIRs During lockdown, religious places gave shelter to destitute persons, so why single out masjids, rules Bombay high court E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Mumbai STATING that followers of the Tablighi Jamaat were made “scapegoats,” the Bombay High Court’s Aurangabad bench on Friday quashed the FIRs against 29 foreign national belonging to the Tablighi Jamaat and said as no hotels were available for stay during the nationwide lockdown, the foreigners had no option but to stay in masjids. The foreign nationals were booked under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code, Epidemic Diseases Act, Maharashtra Police Act, Disaster Management Act and the Foreigner’s Act for allegedly violating their tourist visa conditions by attending the Tablighi Jamaat congregation at Niza- JUDGMENT DAY Deliver Babri demolition verdict by Sept 30: SC EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi THE Supreme Court has set a deadline of September 30 for a special CBI court to deliver its verdict in the Babri Masjid demolition case against BJP leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Kalyan Singh, Uma Bharti and others for the demolition of the masjid in 1992. While extending the deadline to finish the trial in the case, the apex court asked the complete the proceedings, including giving its judgment, by the given date. “Having read the report of Mr. Surendra Kumar Yadav, learned Special Judge, and considering that the proceedings are at the fag end, we grant one month’s time, till September 30, 2020, to complete the proceedings including delivery of judgment,” the SC said in its order on August 19. This is the fourth time an extension was granted but the first time that the apex court has set a deadline to pronounce the verdict. The apex court has been issuing directives to ensure the trial is concluded within a stipulated time frame. In May, the top court had said the judge should take advantage of video-conferencing to complete the evidence in the trial and wind up the case within the slotted time. Advani and Joshi have denied any role in the demolition and said they did not participate in any act that could impact the unity and integrity of the nation. The duo claimed they were being implicated because of political reasons. A government tries to find the scapegoat when there is pandemic or calamity and the circumstances show that there is probability that these foreigners were chosen to make them a scapegoat Maharashtra government acted under political compulsion, the court said muddin in New Delhi. Apart from the foreign nationals, police also booked six Indian nationals and trustees of the masjids for giving shelter to the petitioners, who belong to countries such as the Instead of helping them, we lodged them in jails by making allegations that they were responsible for violation of travel documents and for spreading the coronavirus Bombay HC’s Aurangabad bench Ivory Coast, Ghana, Tanzania, Djibouti, Benin and Indonesia. A division bench of Justice T V Nalawade and Justice M G Sewlikar of the Aurangabad bench heard three separate petitions. “A political government tries to find the scapegoat when there is pandemic or calamity and the circumstances show that there is probability that these foreigners were chosen to make them a scapegoat,” the bench said in its order. “The propaganda against the so-called religious activity (Tablighi Jamaat) was unwarranted. The activity was going on for more than 50 years and it is there throughout the year,” the court noted. In a 58-page strongly worded judgement, the bench said “in big religious places, including masjids, there are arrangements of stay made for religious persons or the persons who are involved for maintaining of the masjids.” If pilgrims or followers are made to stay in an emergency situation, it can- not be seen as a breach of rules and the law, the court said. “If they allow some persons like foreigners to stay with them, it cannot be said that they have committed the offence of breach of the aforesaid orders. During lockdown period, all over India in many religious places arrangement was made for destitute persons, to give them shelter and to provide them meals. Such arrangements were made in gurdwara, masjids and other religious places.” The court said to blame the Jamaatis for the spread of the virus was incorrect. It said the circumstances and the latest figures of COVID-19 in India show that action against the petitioners should not have been taken. CONTINUED ON P7 Suspected ISIS agent arrested in Delhi E X P R E S S N E W S E R V I C E @ New Delhi THE Delhi Police special cell has arrested a suspected Islamic State of Iraq and Syria operative after a brief exchange of fire on the Ridge Road at Dhaula Kuan late on Friday night. The police claimed the accused, Muhammad Mustakeem Khan alias Abdul Yusuf, 36, was planning terror strikes at various spots with “high footfalls.” The police claimed to have recovered two pressure cooker Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) weighing approximately 15 kgs, a pistol with six cartridges and a motorcycle in which he was travelling. The ownership of the motorcycle was being verified but the police said it was most probably stolen. As per the standard operating procedure, the Delhi Police informed the National Security Guard, whose team defused the IED. Briefing reporters about the operation, DCP special cell Pramod Kushwaha said their teams had working on this for the past one year. “His plan was to enter the city during Inde- D E L H I Recovered Death Active cases Total +ve cases Today pendence Day and carry out terror strikes but he could not near the national capital because of heavy security arrangements,” Kushwaha said. After Independence Day try, ing to take advantage of loosened security, he reached the city “but he was caught red handed during the operation,” the DCP said. “The accused and his contacts were being monitored under our surveillance system through sources. We found out that he was in direct touch with his ISIS handlers for many years. This operation C O V I D STATUS OF CASES A bomb disposal squad of the NSG during a search operation near Buddha Jayanti Park in New Delhi on Saturday | SHEKHAR YADAV Cumulative 1230 144138 14 4284 -- 11594 1412 160016 (COVID-19) PATIENT MANAGEMENT Total beds Occupied Vacant Hospital 14124 3600 10524 Covid care centre 10143 589 5957* Covid health centre 594 202 392 HOME ISOLATION : 5791 *3597 beds of CCC are occupied by persons under quarantine including travellers who came by Vande Bharat Mission and bubble flights Source: Delhi health bulletin | Data for Aug 22 W A T C H (COVID-19) TESTING STATUS 6,090 13,345 RTPCR/CBNAAT/ TrueNat tests conducted Rapid antigen test conducted in city 14,12,363 74,334 Total tests done so far Tests per million n Containment zones as on date: 591 n Calls received in control room: 157 n Total number of calls dispatched to ambulances: 1173 n Total number of calls refused: Nil was being handled by Yisf Alindi, who was recently killed in Syria,” Kushwaha said. The police said after Alindi, he was in touch with Abu Huzafa Pakistani, another important ISIS commander who worked in the Khorasan province of Afghanistan. Huzafa promised the accused to call him to Khorasan for which fake IDs were created and passports for his wife and children were also made, the police said. “But Abu Huzafa Pakistani was killed in a drone strike last year in Afghanistan so the new Ameer who came in his place instructed Yusuf to stay back in India and conduct lone wolf strikes like in Europe and other parts of the world,” Kushwaha said. “Following this, he came to Delhi with IEDs, pistol and cartridges. He conducted a dry run of the IED at a graveyard near his village,” the DCP said, adding that the accused belongs to Balrampur in Uttar Pradesh. “A major terror attack in the national capital has been averted by this operation. Further investigation is in progress,” Kushwaha added. Simplicity is Spiritual SADHGURU SPEAKS Streaming Soon NEW RESOLVE Six J&K parties unite to fight for restoring Article 370, statehood away from the talks. The joint statement is conTHE six biggest political sidered significant as it the parties in Jammu and Kash- first open defiance to the mir, the National Confer- scrapping of Article 370. Exence, People’s Democratic cept for the PDP, other parParty, Congress, Peoples ties had so far been hesitant Conference, CPI (M) and the about talking of Article 370 Awami National Confer- and 35A openly . ence, on Saturday vowed to But the joint statement, unitedly fight for the resto- which called the termed the ration of Articles 370 and August 5, 2019, decision as 35A, the J&K constitution “grossly unconstitutional” and statehood. and a challenge to the basic “We all reiterate that we identity of the J&K people, are bound, wholly, by the clearly indicates that all the contents of the August 4, six mainstream parties are 2019 ‘Gupkar Declaration’ united on the “single cause.” and will unwaveringly ad“In a spitefully shortsighthere to it. We are committed ed and unconstitutional to strive for restoration of move, Articles 370 and 35A Articles 370 and 35A, the were abrogated and the J&K constitution State was bifurcatand restoration of J&K Apni Party ed and relegated statehood. Any dito the status of kept out of vision of the State two Union Terridiscussions is unacceptable to tories and its Conus,” a joint state- The J&K Apni Party stitution tried to ment released by of businessman and be made unenformer state the National Conforceable,” it said. finance minister ference said. “These measAltaf Bukhari, “ We u n a n i ures attempt to reperceived to be mously reiterate define who we are. close to the ruling that there can be T h e s e ch a n g e s ‘nothing about us party at the Centre, were accompawas not part of the nied by repressive without us’.” deliberations and Under the Gupmeasures meant was kept away kar Declaration, to silence the peofrom the talks the parties had ple and coerce vowed to protect them into submisand safeguard J&K’s special sion and continue unabatstatus. ed,” the joint statement said. The signatories of the Sajjad Lone, a former BJP joint statement are NC presi- ally and one of the signatodent Farooq Abdullah, PDP ries, tweeted: “A very satisfychief Mehbooba Mufti, J&K ing day. We firmly believe Congress chief Ghulam Ah- that a collective mechanism mad Mir, CPI (M) state secre- is the only way out. It is no tary Mohammad Yousuf longer about power. It is Tarigami, Peoples Confer- about a struggle to get back ence chairman Sajjad Gani what rightfully belongs to Lone and Awami National us. Thanks Dr Farooq sahib Conference vice-president Mehbooba Ji and Tarigami Muzaffar Shah. sahib (sic)”. The J&K Apni Party of Sources said the leaders businessman and former fi- of the six parties in Kashnance minister Altaf mir had been in touch from Bukhari, perceived to be about a week and the joint close to ruling party at the statement was issued after Centre, was not part of the a p p r o v a l f r o m a l l deliberations and was kept the parties. F AYA Z W A N I @ Srinagar Inter-state curbs hit supply chain: Centre to states E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ New Delhi TAKING a grim view of the mindless restrictions imposed by many states on inter-state and intra-state movement of people and goods, the Centre on Saturday said such curbs are disrupting economic activity as well as employment. Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla shot off a letter to the chief secretaries of all states and UTs, expressing concern over reports of local-level restrictions on movement of persons and materials imposed by various districts and states. The Chief Secretaries were told not to impose any restrictions on inter-State or intraState movement, warning them s u c h r e s t r i c t i o n s wo u l d amount to violation of the Unlock-3 guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs. The letter explained that unnecessary hindrance to free movement of vehicles imposed by states is impacting supply chains. The Centre urged states and UTs to lift restrictions, reminding them that no separate permit is needed for movement of persons and goods. “The letter draws attention to para 5 of Unlock-3 guidelines that clearly states that there shall be no restrictions on inter-state and intra-state movement of persons and goods. This para also states that no separate per mission/ approval/e-permit will be required for such movement of persons and goods for cross land border trade under treaties with neighbouring countries,” an MHA official said. In his letter, Bhalla highlight- BIHAR FRAUD Mother of all scams: 66-year-old delivers 8 babies in 13 months R A J E S H K U M A R T H A K U R @ Patna A massive fraud involving siphoning of government funds under the National Health Mission has been detected in villages of Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district. In one case, a village woman aged 66 years is shown to have delivered eight babies in a span of 18 months! Names of at least 50 elderly women — all “beneficiaries” of National Maternity Benefits Scheme — were used to receive `1,400 per month since last year. The money thus received was withdrawn from their bank accounts the next day of the receipt without the knowledge of the women covered by the Community Health Centre in Mushahari block. Sample this: Shanti Devi’s youngest son is more than 20 years old, but the health depart- ment continued crediting `1,400 into her account under the National Health Mission for giving birth to a child in a hospital from 2019 — six times within 13 months. She gets old age pension and has not been pregnant in the last 20 years. “It indicates the racketeers not only knew the bank accounts but they also managed to hoodwink the entire system to loot the government funds. Since the community service point (CSP) of a nationalized bank of Mushahari block was It indicates racketeers not only knew bank accounts but they also managed to hoodwink the system. Since the CSP of a nationalized bank was used, the collusion of local officials should be probed Government official Value of Consciousness used, the collusion of local officials should be probed,” said a senior government official. The district police said CSP operator Sushil Kumar is absconding. Muzaffarpur District Magistrate Chandrasekhar Singh has ordered a probe by a four-member team of district officials, led by ADM Rajesh Kumar. “The committee will submit its report in the next two days along with details of payments made under the scheme in the last one year,” said a government spokesperson. Muzaffarpur SSP Jaykant said an FIR would be lodged after a written complaint is lodged by the officials. Meanwhile, state Health Minister Mangal Pandey has asked executive director of State Health Society Manoj Kumar to look into the matter. ed that local-level restrictions run afoul of the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs under provisions of the Disaster Management Act. The communication urged States and UTs to ensure that the Centre’s unlock guidelines are strictly followed. Cross-border movement of people and goods was stopped during the first two months of the nationwide lockdown. Transportation was resumed gradually, first in May as part of Lockdown 5 guidelines, with the Centre allowing movement within and between states. HEROES IAS COUPLE HELPS KIDS FIGHT MALNUTRITION Impressed by the keenness of the two IAS officers — both IIT graduates — to serve the people in remote areas, the Mizoram government honoured them for their work on this year’s Independence Day PAGE 5
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