NEW DELHI 04 OCTOBER 2020 SUNDAY `9 PAGES 24 facebook/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard https://epaper.morningstandard.in The Fat that Keeps the Brain Fit The Show Must Go Online Dragon’s Dilemma PLUS: 12 PAGES MAGAZINE EXCLUSIVE VOICES TJS George Makarand Paranjape Shankkar Aiyar Pushpesh Pant Ravi Shankar Damyanti Biswas Anuja Chandramouli Sathya Saran Fearing negative fallout, state abandons iron fist approach & lifts clampdown on Hathras BJP in damage control with Dalit votes at stake in Bihar, UP, MP poll Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi meet the aggrieved family at Hathras on Saturday evening; Rahul at Delhi-Noida border as he attempts to move towards Hathras to meet family members of the 20-year-old woman who died after she was allegedly gang-raped | AICC/SHEKHAR YADAV M A N I S H A N A N D @ New Delhi A possible high decibel level elections in Bihar later this month and key byelections in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh around the same time appear to have nudged the UP government to climb down from its apparent belligerence in the Hathras rape-andmurder case. With the incident grabbing headlines in the media, dominating discourse on social media and protests threatening to go out of hand, the UP government changed tack on Saturday, ordering a CBI probe, allowing Congress leaders Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi to visit Hathras and top state officials meeting the victim’s family to give them a patient hearing. Just two days back Rahul and Priyanka were stopped from visiting the victim’s family while on Friday, a Trinamool Congress delegation was given rough treatment with MP Derek O’Brien even apparently pushed to the ground when he and his team tried to force their way to Hathras. The BJP leadership also seems to have been unnerved by uneasy voices within. What had been spoken with much circumspection among a section of leaders was put forth bluntly by Uma Bharti, who said the “image of the party and the UP government have been dented by the Hathras incident.” Lok Sabha MPs Manoj Tiwary and Parvesh Verma also came out against the “police high-handedness.” The Hathras victim belonged to the Dalit community and the BJP lacking a credible , Dalit face in its ranks, has been trying to build bridges with the community and the Extremely Backward Castes (EBCs) on the appeal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In Bihar, Dalits constitute almost 16% of the vote base. Along with EBCs and other backward classes they account for 56% of the total population. While 38 of the 243 assembly seats are reserved for the Scheduled Caste, the SC-EBC-OBC bloc is dominant in 45% of the total seats. The BJP has been making steady inroads among the Dalits. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, its party candidate Chhedi Paswan even trounced Congress veteran and former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar from the Sasaram constituency. According to the BJP’s internal assessment, it is eating into the support base of the BSP in adjoining disCONTINUED ON P7 tricts of eastern UP . We have spoken to the family members and assured them that we will investigate the case properly and ensure full justice to them. The chief minister has already formed a SIT and a woman officer is also a part of the team Awanish Awasthi, UP Addl Chief Secy, Home Unease among party ranks Senior leader Uma Bharti bluntly stated how the Hathras tragedy had dented the image of the ruling party as well as the UP government. Lok Sabha MPs Manoj Tiwary and Parvesh Verma also came out against the “police highhandedness.” Caste matrix in Bihar polls In Bihar, the BJP has been accounting for one-third of the Mahadalit votes since 2014 due to the Modi factor. Given the caste dynamics, the BJP had no option but to go into damage control mode Rahul, Priyanka meet girl’s family, UP govt announces CBI probe N A M I TA B A J PA I @ Lucknow CONGRESS leader Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka met the Hathras gang rape victim’s family on Saturday evening, after the Yogi Adityanath government allowed media persons and delegations of political parties to enter the village. The Congress leaders held a closed door meeting with the family at their house for about 30 minutes. Party sources claimed that the brother-sister duo consoled the family and assured them of their support in the fight for justice. Senior Congress leaders KC Venugopal, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Mukul Wasnik accompanied the Gandhis in their visit. Earlier in the day, Uttar Pradesh Additional Chief Secr e t a r y, H o m e, Aw a n i s h Awasthi and DGP HC Awasthy visited the victim’s family and assured them of quick and stern action against the culprits and full justice to them. In the evening, the Yogi Adityanath gover nment announced to hand over the case to the CBI — a demand raised by the aggrieved family . “We have spoken to the family members and assured them that we will investigate the case properly and ensure full justice to them. The chief minister has already formed a SIT and a woman officer is also a part of the team. While the action has already been More than a Phone taken against district police officials on the basis of Preliminary Enquiry report furnished by the SIT, its first full report will be out by tomorrow 4 pm,” Awasthi said. The ACS claimed that he and DGP heard the victim’s family patiently and noted all their grievances and concerns. “We assured the family that all their concerns will be addressed to their satisfaction and strictest action will be taken against those found guilty ,” Awasthi said, adding that all the concerns of the grieving family were already conveyed to the SIT. He also said that for now, the family would be given 24X7 security and the security of the village would also be permanent to check any possible caste conflict. At the meeting, the victim’s family alleged multiple lapses by the police and the district administration. They raised questions over the hurried cremation by the police. “We want to know whose body was burnt on that day. And if it was our sister’s body , then why did they cremate her in this manner? All of us had requested police and administration to allow us to see her one last time,” the victim’s brother said. The family members also accused Hathras district officials of locking them up in their home and taking away mobile phones. Through an Immigrant’s Eyes An Eggstatic Ensemble SADHGURU SPEAKS The Big Short The Yogic Doomsday Denied seat, RJD alliance unity in tatters as one party quits R A J E S H K U M A R T H A K U R @ Patna THE united face put up by the RJD-led Grand Alliance lay in tatters before the media when one of its allies, the Vikashsheel Insaan Party, rebelled against the alliance when it failed to get any seat. Announcing the final seatsharing arrangement on Saturday RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav , said his party would contest 144 seats, Congress 70, CPI-ML 19, CPI six and CPM four. The Bihar assembly has a strength of 243. Yadav also announced that the Congress would contest the Lok Sabha byelection on November 3. He said the VIP and the JMM would be accommodated later from his party’s quota. The moment Yadav finished, VIP president Mukesh Sahni took hold of the mike and announced that his party had been betrayed and backstabbed. He announced an immediate break from the alliance and left the venue with party other leaders. His supporters created a ruckus for an hour and shouted D E L H I COV I D WAT C H STATUS OF CASES Today Cumulative 3,440 34 -2,258 Recovered Death Active cases Positive cases 2,57,224 5,472 25,234 2,87,930 PATIENT MANAGEMENT Total beds Occupied Vacant Hospital Care centre Health centre 15,840 8,137 527 5,989 9,851 1226 6,128* 312 215 HOME ISOLATION: 15,449 *909 beds of CCC are occupied by persons under quarantine including travellers who came by Vande Bharat Mission and bubble flights TESTING STATUS 8,844 30,462 RTPCR/CBNAAT/TrueNat tests conducted Rapid antigen test conducted in the city 32,30,952 1,70,050 Total tests done so far Tests per million Containment zones as on date: 2658 Calls received in control room: 97 Total number of calls dispatched to ambulances: 1064 Total number of calls refused : Nil Source: Delhi health bulletin | Data for Oct 03 ACT EMPOWERING WOMEN FARMERS Uttarakhand government is reaching out to farmers in remote areas by helping them find markets for their agri produce | P5 slogans against the alliance and Yadav. At his wits end, Yadav immediately left the venue escorted by his security guards but only t o b e g h e r a o e d by V I P supporters. Sahni told the media that his party was assured 25 seats and the post of the deputy CM. He claimed that his party enjpys the support of Dalits, mahadalits and other extremely poor communities. “The Grand Alliance at the behest of the RJD betrayed us and stabbed us in the back. They have humiliated millions of poor people and they will be given a fitting reply in the elec- tions,” Sahni claimed. He said his party would announce its next move on Sunday at a media briefing. Responding to the VIP’s allegations, the RJD said Sahni and his party were acting at the behest of the NDA. “Sahni was not invited at the announcement for the seat-sharing arrangement but he arrived on his own. He was determined to create an ugly scene,” RJD spokesperson Shakti Singh Yadav alleged. Taking a dig at the RJD, JD-U spokesperson Ajay Alok said the RJD and its allies have shown their true face towards P8 a party of the poor. RJD leaders Tejashwi Yadav and Tej Pratap with Bihar Congress incharge Avinash Pandey and other allies at a press conference in Patna on Saturday | PTI With LAC tense, India reaches out to Myanmar standoff like Doklam, New Delhi isn’t isolated in its own backyard. FOR the first time, two top “India wants to make sure officials, Army Chief Gen- that it keeps its neighbours eral M M Naravane and For- in good stead, especially eign Secretary H V Shringla during times when tensions will visit Myanmar together with China are high. Also, on a two-day visit beginning after Nepal altered its map, on Sunday . the neighbourhood first polDuring the visit, the dele- icy seemed to be crumbling. gation will call on Myanmar This visit, amid the tensions State Counsellor Aung San and following similar such Suu Kyi and Myanmar engagements with neigharmed forces combours, can be seen mander-in-chief an attempt to fix the Senior General Min possible damage,” a Aung Hlaing. research scholar in India attaches An official stateJNU said. ment said “India at- high priority to its The visit by the taches high priori- relationship with two top officials Myanmar in ty to its relationship comes soon after accordance with with Myanmar in its ‘Neighborhood the India-Sri Lanka accordance with its virtual summit First’ and ‘Act ‘Neighborhood meeting between East’ policies First’ and ‘ ct East’ A Prime Minister MEA statement policies. In the reNarendra Modi on cent times, both and his Sri Lankan sides have strengthened counterpart Mahinda Rajatheir cooperation in several paksa on September 26 and areas, including connectivi- Shringla’s trip to Banglaty and trade, development desh in mid August. projects, energy, capacity During a virtual foreign building, defence and secu- office consultation between rity and culture and people India and Myanmar on to people links.” Thursday, Shringla said The visit is significant giv- “despite the challenges en the ongoing tension along c a u s e d b y t h e C o v i d the LAC. Sources said India pandemic, we are working wants to strengthen its rela- towards operationalizing tions with its neighbours so the Sitwe port by the first that in the event of another quarter of next year.” M AYA N K S I N G H & P U S H K A R B A N A K A R @ New Delhi NOT EASY Making mask defaulters pay fine an uphill task for NDMC staff PA R V E Z S U LTA N @New Delhi THE enforcement officers of the New Delhi Municipal Council’s health department are having a tough time dealing with violators of coronavirus protocols. According to a municipal official, the staff issuing challans to people for not wearing masks in public places is often met with aggressive response. In fact, the situation gets out of hand at times and workers in the field have to seek police intervention, said an official. According to the weekly report (September 26-October 2) compiled by the health department, more than 160 disputes were reported and the staff on Covid-19 duty had to visit the police station 26 times. The report says that the defaulters picked a quarrel with the enforcement team on 77 occasions and consequently, the municipal staff made 63 calls to the Police Control Room (PCR). Interestingly, the municipal staff had to pay the fine from their pockets on six occasions after the defaulters refused to entertain the challans. “An FIR was registered against the violator after a dispute in Khanna In September, NDMC penalised 1,030 individuals for violations of Covid rules Market-Lodi Garden area. It is unfortunate that most of the violations are from upscale localities. Sometimes, our staff has to deposit the penalty because once the details are lodged, it can’t be quashed,” said the official. In September, NDMC’s health department penalised 1,030 individuals for either not wearing masks or spitting in public places. Its enforcement teams also impose penalties. It issued 527 challans in the previous month. Most of these violations have been reported from Connaught Place, Jor Bagh, Au- robindo Marg, and Prithviraj Road area. The team on enforcement duty at CP called the PCR 29 times and had to make visits to the police station on 20 occasions to seek the help of law enforcing agency. According to the report, 49 incidents of argument or fight with NDMC’s workers took place during the last one week. The NDMC has deployed several teams at more than 20 locations to check violations related to coronavirus pandemic norms. “NDMC personnel dealing with the people who don’t wear masks are at risk of con- tracting the infection. There is a need to run a comprehensive awareness campaign to urge people to wear masks, in addition to running prosecution drives simultaneously,” said another NDMC official. Upset with the daily ‘target’ for challans fixed by the higher authorities, several SDMs and senior Delhi government officials had conveyed similar concerns recently. The officials said that government resources should have been used rationally and more focus should be on awareness campaigns and free masks distribution.
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