saturDAY ‘Item’, ‘mafia’ comments cost cong leader heavy 31 october, 2020 The EC order referred to Kamal Nath’s recent misogynistic remarks against Scindia loyalist and BJP candidate Imarti Devi, calling her an “item”. It also mentioned his use of adjectives like “mafia” and “milawat khor” (adulterator) against Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Chouhan as a violation of the model code epaper.morningstandard.in facebook.com/TheMorningStandard now, show resolve in bihar twitter.com/TheMornStandard Elsewhere, there is complete mockery of the model code as Covid protocols like masks and personal distancing are being frowned upon ■ ONION PRICES TO FALL SOON: MINISTER 25,000 tonnes of stocks are expected to arrive before Diwali Page 7 A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS l New Delhi l J8.00 l PAGES 12 Process begins to restore Rahul Raj in Cong Party directs state units to send the names of AICC members who are eligible to vote for the president’s poll EX PRESS N EWS SERVICE @ New Delhi With chorus growing for former Congress president Rahul Gandhi to come back, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) will soon call a session to elect a new chief. All state units have been asked to send details of members who are eligible to vote. “This is to inform you that AICC intends to convene its meeting as soon as possible, and you will be intimated as soon as dates and venue are finalised,” said a note sent to state units by Congress’ Central Election Authority headed by Madhusudan Mistry . The Central Election Authority Authority has sought the names and photographs of the AICC members for issuing them identity cards so that they can attend the meeting. This is being seen as a step in wake of the letter written by 23 leaders demanding elections in the organisation from the block to the CWC level and the appointment of a permanent president. According to party sources, the session will be held by the No clarity on revamp of party organisation There is, however, no clarity on when elections to the Congress Working Committee, the party’s powerful decision-making body, would be held. The last such election was held way back in 1998. end of the year or early next year. It would be a day-long affair, they added. “Rahul is most likely to take over the reins of the party and his coming back has been planned ahead of the Assembly election in five states, including Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, next year,” said a leader. “He is already part of all key decisions made by the party and it will be just an official comeback for him.” In August, Congress’ interim president Sonia Gandhi had said a new president would be elected by February 2021. The move came after 23 veterans including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Kapil Sibal and Shashi Tharoor wrote to her seeking organisational elections and a new leader. While the letter questioned Rahul’s style of functioning, other leaders such as Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Bhagel, several state Congress chiefs and all Lok Sabha MPs had beseeched Rahul to take over the reins if Sonia wants to step down. $1.2 billion blow to Antrix in nixed Devas agreement Sarojini Nagar market is packed with shoppers during the festive season amid the pandemic in Delhi on Friday | Shekhar Yadav Delhi sees 5K-plus Covid cases for third day, virus load at 3.81L the rise in cases is owing to multiple reasons such as reFor the fourth consecutive laxation in norms, more public day, Delhi witnessed a record spaces opening up including single-day surge in Covid-19 metro services and most imcases, lending credence to fears portantly, festive season and of another severe wave aided Delhi’s extremely poor air by air pollution and laxity is quality “In winter, people are . observing norms. more likely to stay close to one This was the third consecu- another and that may also lead tive day when over to surge in cases. Pol5,000 cases have been lution is another facreported in the city. tor,” said Dr Jugal The total tally includ, Kishore, Head, Coming 5,891 fresh cases munity Medicine, People should registered on Friday, consider masks as Safdarjung Hospital. is now over 3.81 lakh. a vaccine till there Health Minister The positivity rate Satyendar Jain reiteris one as it can has increased to nearprevent the ated the need for evespread of the ly 10 per cent. ryone to wear masks disease to a Delhi Chief Secresince lockdown canlarge extent tary Vijay Dev held a not be an option. He review meeting with said people should Satyendar Jain, all district magis- Delhi Health Minister “consider masks as a trates on the pandemvaccine till there is ic management, the one” as it can prevent gover nment’s daily health the spread of the disease to a bulletin said. large extent. In the past five days, the city The National Centre for Dishas witnessed nearly 25,000 ease Control had warned that new cases. The first time Delhi Delhi could see about 15,000 had reached the cumulative fresh Covid cases per day tak25,000-mark was on June 4 — 92 ing into account winter-related days after the city recorded its respiratory problems, large infirst case on March 2. flux of patients from outside Experts have claimed that and festive gatherings. P4 S o m ri ta G h o s h @ New Delhi D E L H I COV I D WAT C H status of cases Today Recovered Death Active cases Positive cases Cumulative 4,433 47 -- 5,891 3,42,811 6,470 32,363 3,81,644 Patient Management Hospital Care centre Health centre Total beds Occupied Vacant 15,759 7,887 527 6,114 9,645 968 6,482* 326 201 Home Isolation: 19,064 *437 beds of CCC are occupied by persons under quarantine including travellers who came by Vande Bharat Mission and bubble flights Testing Status 17,058 42,583 RTPCR/CBNAAT/TrueNat tests conducted Rapid antigen test conducted in the city 46,36,365 2,44,019 Total tests done so far Tests per million n Containment zones as on date: 3158 n received in control room: 366 Calls n number of calls dispatched to Total ambulances: 1554 n number of calls refused : Nil Total Source: Delhi health bulletin | Data for Oct 30 BENGALURU: Embattled start-up Devas Multimedia got a billion dollar lifeline as a US court ordered ISRO’s commercial arm Antrix Corporation to shell out $1.2 billion (`8,952 crore) as compensation for the messy scrapping a satellite deal six years after it was struck in 2005. However, the order may not enforceable as Antrix does not have any assets in the US, a senior official informed on condition of anonymity. “There is nothing which the (US) court can attach. However, any decision in India’s Supreme Court will be binding,” the official said. The Devas-Antrix case is Amid the corona crisis, the Gujjars in Rajasthan are all set to re-launch their agitation for reservation in government jobs from November 1. This was announced by Gujjar Aarakshan Sangarsh Samiti headed by Colonel K S Bainsla. The Samiti had a fortnight ago given an ultimatum to the Ashok Gehlot government that they would re-start their agitation if all demands were not met by November 1. “The Gujjar community will assemble at Pilu-ka-Pura, near Nayana town. Rajasthan will be shut down on November 1. I appeal to the MBC community to come out in large numbers and make the agitation a suc- cess,” said Col Bainsla, ruling out talks with the state government. “The whole community supports reservation demands. At Pilu-ka-Pura we’ll decide the shape of our agitation. We have held four rounds of discussions with the government. It is pointless to talk to them anymore.” A cabinet sub-committee of ministers of the state government has taken up three key demands raised by the Gujjar Samiti. Two ministers, Ashok Chandna and Raghu Sharma, held a joint press conference and said the government was committed to uplifting the Most Backward Classes or MBC category to which the Gujjars belong. “In the past two years, over 2,400 jobs have been given to the Gujjar youth and all the 1,252 candidates belonging to the MBC who have completed their probation will be given ‘regular pay scale’ by the government on completion of their probationary period,” said Sports Rajasthan govt placates Gujjar front The Ashok Gehlot government will again write to the Centre to include MBC reservation in the Ninth Schedule, said Sports Minister Ashok Chandna. Families of the three protesters will be given `5 lakh each date for by-polls to 28 madhya pradesh assembly seats EC axes kamal nath from list of star campaigners EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Bhopal refer to the state’s WCD minister Imarti Devi at a poll Two days before campaign- rally on October 18. She was ing ends for the November 3 among the 22 MLAs who had Assembly bypolls in Mad- resigned in March, bringing hya Pradesh, the Election down the Nath-led Congress Commission cracked the government, and had subsewhip on former chief minis- quently joined the BJP. She ter and state Congress presi- is now seeking re-election dent Kamal Nath for repeat- on a BJP ticket from Dabra edly violating the Model reserved seat. Code of Conduct and reThe BJP had approached voked his ‘star campaigner’ the EC against Nath’s restatus with immediate effect mark, accusing him of inon Friday . sulting women and The poll panel’s the SC community . three-page order The poll panel had said Kamal Nath is issued a notice to “breaching the ethhim for MCC violaNow the people ical and dignified tion and had adwill decide. It’s an behaviour” and his vised him to reattempt to crush status of leader of my and Congress’s frain from using political party (star objectionable voice. Truth campaigner) was words. cannot be defeated, the being revoked for Recently the BJP , people will side repeated MCC viofiled another comwith the truth lations and for plaint against Nath completely disrefor referring to CM Kamal Nath, garding the adviS h iv r a j S i n g h MP Congress chief sory issued to him. Chouhan as “maIf any campaign fia”, “milawat is done by Nath from now khor” and “nautanki ke kaonwards, the entire expendi- lakar” who should try his ture related to his travel, luck in Mumbai. stay visit etc. shall be borne , The EC had sought a reby the candidate concerned, port from MP’s Chief Electhe order stated. toral Officer, who had conReacting to the order, firmed MCC violation by the Nath tweeted, “Now the peo- Congress leader. ple will decide. It’s an atAsked about the BJP’s detempt to crush my and Con- mand that he should seek gress’s voice. Truth cannot apology Nath said, “It is not , be defeated, the people will anyone’s demand. In the end side with the truth.” I do what I feel is right and The Congress veteran had proper, because it (disrekicked up a storm when he specting the woman minishad used the word “item” to ter) was not my intention.” No challenger to Nitish on women vote bank M u kes h Ra n ja n , Ra j es h Ku m a r T h a kur & R i twi ka Mi tra @ Muzaffarpur/Patna/New Delhi Although tucked away into a corner of a lane, it’s not difficult to locate the den of vice and atrocities against girls. “The shelter home, it’s that way said a bystander, pointing ,” to a white-coloured, two-storey building whose upper floors h ave b e e n v i s i bly demolished. The locked building once served as a shelter home for 42 girls. In May 2018, an audit report revealed sexual abuse of the girls. Investigations brought out more skeletons, pointing out that at least 34 of the 42 had been raped for months, serving clients who came at night in “lal batti waali gaadi (car with red beacon lights).” Such were the horror stories that the apex vourt took suo moto cognizance, a minister resigned in disgrace and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar’s womanfriendly image took a beating. But two years down the line, Gujjars seek job quota, plan stir from Nov 1 R a j es h Asn a ni @ Jaipur still in the Supreme Court, which had earlier directed a tribunal to hear it. The deal pertained to Antrix launching,operating two satellites and making 70 MHz of Sband spectrum available to Devas to enable it to provide communication services across India. However, in 2011, Antrix issued a termination notice to Devas, invoking force majeure (unforeseeable circumstances that prevent fulfilling a contract) saying it was a policy decision of the Union government. Antrix Chairman and MD R Sashibhushan refused to comment. ENS Nov 3 ■ Will the poll body show equal resolve as in the Nath case by taking impartial action against all violators? Minister Ashok Chandna. In addition, the Gehlot government will again write to the Centre to include MBC reservation in the Ninth Schedule. Along with this, minister Chandna said families of the three people who were injured during past Gujjar agitations and died in later years, will be given an assistance of `5 lakh each by the state government. CM Ashok Gehlot reviewed the law and order condition in meetings with senior police and administrative officers. Also, in Bharatpur and Karauli districts, internet services were snapped from midnight on Thursday In both districts, . the police and administration h ave b e e n p l a c e d o n a high alert. the Muzaffarpur shelter home case, as it came to be dubbed, is an issue of the distant past, a matter not even worth a debate among women of the town. “It’s been more than two years now so how does is it matter? It’s foolish to talk about it,” said Sajda Khatoon, 52, who lives two houses away from the horror home. Khatoon also dismissed insinuations behind Nitish nominating Manju Verma, the minister who quit in the wake of the scandal, as the BIHAR 2020 p a r t y ’s c a n d i d at e. “This is politics, what is wrong in it.” Khatoon’s sentiments are shared by other women in Muzaffarpur and beyond. Vegetable vendor Sumati Devi said the guilty were behind bars “so for me the matter is closed.” It is not just the shelter home case that is a non-issue for women in Bihar. Many of them admitted that the pace of development had slowed in the past two-three years but felt that there was no need to look beyond Nitish. CONTINUED ON P8 The Muzaffarpur shelter home row had led to ouster of WCD minister | Express Religious conversion for marriage alone is unacceptable: Allahabd High Court N a m i ta B a j pa i @ Lucknow Dismissing a writ petition filed by an interfaith couple seeking police protection, the Allahabad High Court on Friday said religious conversion only for the purpose of marriage was not unacceptable. Priyanshi alias Samreen and her husband, from Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, had sought the court’s direction to the girl’s father not to interfere in their peaceful married life. A single-judge bench of Justice Mahesh Chandra Tripathi in its order noted that the girl was a born Muslim and got converted to Hinduism only a month before her marriage. It was evident that conversion had taken place only for the purpose of marriage, said the judge. “The court has found that the first petitioner has converted her religion on June 29, 2020 and just after one month, they solemnised their marriage on July 31, 2020, which clearly reveals that the conversion took place only for the purpose of marriage.” The court referred to a 2014 judgment in the Noor Jahan Begum case in which it had dismissed a batch of writ petitions seeking protection for the married couple who had tied the knot after the girl converted from Hinduism to Islam. It had in that case considered as to whether the change of faith of a Hindu girl took place without any knowledge of Islam or belief in Islam or merely for marriage. In the present case, the court allowed the couple to present their statement before a magistrate.
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