SATURDAY Meanwhile, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh handed over three indigenously developed systems to Army, Navy and Air Force. The Border Surevillance System (BOSS), handed over to Army chief General M M Naravane, has already been deployed in Ladakh against the PLA troops. 19 DECEMBER, 2020 epaper.morningstandard.in Diplomatic talks with China resume facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard India and China on Friday agreed to continue working towards ensuring complete disengagement of troops at all friction points along the LAC in eastern Ladakh at the “earliest”. SC RULES AFFORDABLE CARE RIGHT OF CITIZENS Asks states to constitute panel in each district for fire audit of Covid hospitals PAGE 8 A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS NEW DELHI Probe handed to CBI under public pressure Initially the UP government set up a three-member SIT to probe the role of the police authorities in the case, but later after political clamour and a nationwide outrage, the probe was handed over to the CBI. The probe agency had lodged a case on October 11. Lucknow bench of HC monitoring the case The Uttar Pradesh Police had burnt the body of the 19-year-old gangrape victim in the dead of the night on September 30 drawing massive criticism | FILE The case reached the Supreme Court which ordered the probe to be conducted by the CBI and monitored by the Allahabad High Court. The Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court is seized of the matter and is monitoring the investigation. Hathras girl gangraped, killed, CBI nails police lie Files charge sheet, refutes UP police claim that there was no rape N A M I TA B A J PA I @ Lucknow THE CBI’s chargesheet filed in a Hathras court on Friday has named all the four accused and charged them with the gangrape and murder of a 19-yearold Dalit girl, nailing the UP police’s initial claim that there was no rape. Official sources said the CBI has invoked the charges against the four accused — Ravi, Lavkush, Sandeep and Ramkumar alias Ramu — on the basis of the dying declaration made by the victim before a magistrate on September 22. The police’s ‘no-rape’ argument was first highlighted by Additional Director General of Police Prashant Kumar, who said that victim’s forensic report had not found sperms in her samples and so rape was not established. Kumar’s claim drawn severe criticism from social activists as well as former police officers, who sought to remind the state police that the country’s rape laws clearly state that absence of semen cannot certainly dislodge an allegation of rape. The local SC/ST court in Hathras has taken cognizance of the case, lawyer for the accused Munna Singh Pundir told the media outside the court. In the chargesheet, the accused have been slapped with charges under IPC Sections 354 (assault or criminal force on woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 376-A (punishment for causing death or resulting in persistent vegetative state of victim), 376-D (gangrape) and 302 (murder) and SC/ST Act. Sources said officials are likely to take the victim’s brother to Gandhinagar for some psychological tests in connection with the case. It was the victim’s eldest brother who had initially lodged a comp l a i n t o f p hy s i c a l assault on her. The incident and the handling of the case by Hathras district and police administration had sparked protests and outrage across the country . The Dalit girl was allegedly raped in Boolgarhi village under Chandpa police station area in Hathras on September 14. After receiving primary treatment at Hathras district hospital, the victim was shifted to Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College of AMU on Sept 15. She recorded her dying declaration before a magistrate at JNL Medical College on Sept 22. Later, as her condition deteriorated, she was finally taken to Safdurjung Hospital in Delhi where she succumbed during treatment on Sept 29. Additional Director General of Police Prashant Kumar on October 1 had claimed that the victim was not raped because her forensic report has not found sperms in her samples. His claim went against the victim’s dying declaration. “The FSL (Forensic Science Laboratory) report hasn’t found sperm in samples, making it clear that some people twisted the matter to stir castebased tension,” he had the media. “Such people will be identified and legal action will be taken,” he said. “Even the woman in her statement to the police did not mention about rape but talked about ‘marpeet’ (beating) only ,” he had said. “For disturbing social harmony and create caste violence, some persons wrongly presented facts,” the police officer said. The victim was cremated in the dead of the night by the district administration and police on September 30. Her family alleged that their consent was not taken for the cremation and that it was conducted by the authorities in a hush-hush manner. The family claimed vindication on Friday P7 . Ready for talks, says PM; attacks oppn EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi URGING Opposition parties to eschew politics and own up the new farm sector reform laws, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday gave a pointby-point rebuttal of the issues articulated by its detractors, saying the legislations were enacted by Parliament after long deliberations with all stakeholders. Stating that agriculture and the farmers cannot remain in backwardness, Modi asserted that the new laws were the outcome of discussions held over the past 20-22 years. “There has been brainstorming over the new farm laws for years, they haven’t come overnight. For the last 20-22 years central and state governments, besides farmers’ outfits, progressive farmers and agriculture experts have been brainstorming over and demanding agriculture reforms. The farmers need to seek reply from those parties who promised the same reforms in their past poll manifestos, but never implemented them, as the interests of farmers was never a priority for them,” said Modi, while addressing via video conferencing the Kisan Mah a s a m m e l a n i n M a d hya Pradesh. Speaking to the state’s farmers, Modi contrasted his government’s outreach — including an yearly transfer of TESTING STATUS 48,180 RTPCR/CBNAAT/ TrueNat tests conducted DELHI COVID WATCH Farmers during a protest against the Centre’s new farm laws at Singhu Border in New Delhi on Friday | PARVEEN NEGI Maharashtra farmers to join stir Even as about 20,000 Maharashtra farmers are set to begin a march to Delhi from Nashik on December 21, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said the government is hopeful of resolving farmers’ agitation against three new farm laws before the New Year and is continuing its informal dialogue with various groups to diffuse the crisis. `75,000 crore to bank accounts under the PM-Kisan Nidhi scheme — to the `50,000 crore in loan waivers disbursed by Opposition gover nments, which benefited only relatives and close acquaintances of politicians. STATUS OF CASES Today Cumulative RECOVERED 2,160 5,93,137 DEATH 37 10,219 ACTIVE CASES -11,419 TOTAL +VE CASES 1,418 6,14,775 Rapid antigen test PATIENT MANAGEMENT Total beds Occupied Vacant HOSPITAL 18,817 3,239 15,578 CARE CENTRE 7,792 121 7,460 HEALTH CENTRE 562 36 526 76,29,748 *211 beds of CCC are occupied by persons under quarantine including travellers who came by Vande Bharat Mission and Bubble flights 40,220 Total tests done so far 4,01,565 Tests per million 6,605 HOME ISOLATION 1,208 TOTAL NUMBER OF CALLS DISPATCHED TO AMBULANCES Source: Delhi health bulletin | December 18 NATIONWIDE ACTIVE CASES 3,13,831 RECOVERED 95,20,827 DEATHS 1,44,789 EXPRESS READ ‘Disturbing’ Andhra HC order stayed Ex-S Delhi mayor, two others sent to hospital New Delhi: Former South Delhi mayor Sunita and two other councillors were on Friday hospitalised, a day after they joined the mayors of the three BJP-led municipal corporations in their indefinite hunger strike against the AAP government. P4 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi Prime Minister’s house to have 10 buildings WHITE-OUT Children look at icicles hanging from trees, formed after a pileline burst, as temperature dropped below zero in Kashmir | PTI New Delhi: The prime minister’s new residential complex will have 10 four-storey buildings with a maximum height of 12 metres. Official sources said there is “no question of dropping” the new PMO from Central Vista project. Sonia writes to Uddhav, reminds of common agenda S U D H I R S U R YA W A N S H I @ Mumbai CONGRESS president Sonia Gandhi has shot off a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray reminding him of the Common Minimum Agenda of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) and urged to ensure development of Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) communities. This is the first time since the formation of the MVA government that the Congress president has written to Thackeray reminding him about the common agenda of the government and its commitment towards their implementation. Sources said the letter comes following a complaint by Congress ministers in the MVA government regarding the ‘secondary’ treatment meted out to them. In her letter, Sonia has said there should be more schemes that benefit the Dalit and tribal communities and the budget allocations for SC/ST welfare should also be proportionate to their share in the population. She has also urged for schemes to promote entrepreneurship among SCs/STs and quota for them in awarding government contracts. According to sources, Sonia’s missive to the CM to implement the common agenda in letter and spirit follows com- `1,600 cr in farmers’ accounts A sum of `1,600 crores was transferred into bank accounts of 35.50 lakh farmers in MP on Friday as relief for the loss of Kharif crops. The sum was transferred into their accounts at the Kisan Mahasamellan in Raisen. Agri infrastructure works worth `70 crore were inaugurated too, and 2,000 farmers were provided Kisan Credit cards. “Even after all these efforts if anyone has any doubt over the farm laws, we, with folded hands and heads bowed, are ready for talks,” he said. Dispelling fears on farming agreements, Modi said the mechanism is already in vogue many states. Citing media reports, he said contract farming has significantly increased farmers’ income. “Opposition parties in their manifestos promised all these reforms. They can take credit for them and stop misusing the farmers for their vested interests,” the prime minister added. HC stays arrest of man booked in UP under anti-conversion law N A M I TA B A J PA I @ Lucknow 6,276 TOTAL NUMBER OF CONTAINMENT ZONES AS ON DATE BREAKDOWN TERMING as disturbing an order of Andhra Pradesh High Court that sought to examine whether or not there is a constitutional breakdown in the state, the Supreme Court on Friday stayed its implementation. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde said, “Have you seen an order like this in any case? As an apex court we find it disturbing.” A division bench of the high court led by Justice Rakesh Kumar had on December 14 rejected an application filed by the state government seeking recall of the said order issued on October 1 while deciding habeas corpus petitions filed by relatives of persons remanded in judicial custody or on bail. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said this is a power exclusively vested in the Executive. Andhra’s plea said, “Constitutional courts do not have any judicially discoverable and manageable standards to determine if there has been a Constitutional breakdown in the state.” PAGES 12 J8.00 Fresh round of diplomatic talks was held virtually under the framework of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs. SINGH HANDED OVER THE INDIAN MARITIME SITUATIONAL AWARENESS SYSTEM (IMSAS) TO ADMIRAL KARAMBIR SINGH AND ASTRA MK-I MISSILE TO AIR CHIEF MARSHAL RAKESH KUMAR SINGH BHADAURIA. plaints by Congress leaders regarding fewer budget allocations by Deputy CM Ajit Pawar to the ministries held by party leaders. They had made a representation in his regard to the CM. He assured resolving the issue but nothing was done. Interestingly during the gov, ernment’s anniversary celeb r a t i o n , T h a c ke r ay h a d quipped that Sonia had asked him if Congress ministers troubled him and he told her the NCP was there to handle. ordinance was in conflict with the court’s latest pronounceTHE Allahabad High Court on ment in ‘Salamat Ansari and Friday stayed the arrest of a others Vs Union of India & Muslim youth booked under others’ holding that the “right the newly-promulgated UP to live with a person of his/ Prohibition of Unlawful Con- her choice, irrespective of rev e r s i o n o f R e l i g i o u s ligion professed by them, is inOrdinance-2020. trinsic to right to life and perA division bench compris- sonal liberty”. ing Justices Pankaj Naqvi and The judgment in Salamat Justice Vivek Agarwal asked Ansari case was also passed by the UP Police not to take any the bench of Justices Naqvi coercive action against Na- and Agarwal. deem, who was The petitioner booked on November claimed in his sub30, two days after the mission that the ordiordinance was nance was a ‘fraud’ promulgated. on the Constitution T he bench was and violated Articles hearing a criminal 19, 21, 25 and 26. It writ petition filed for was also against the the first time against spirit of Special MarVictim is the ordinance by an riage Act 1954, he furadmittedly an affected party It also . ther submitted. adult who tagged the case to anThe petitioner had understands her well being. She other division bench, said in his plea that comprising Cheif and the petitioner through the ordihave a right to Justice Govind Mathnance, an atmosphere privacy and are ur and Justice Piyush of fear was being creadults who are Agarwal, which is ated among those aware of the seized of the matter who wanted to marry consequences of in response to a PIL their relationship a person of other relichallenging the gion or caste. Allahabad HC bench ordinance. While the FIR Nadeem and his acagainst the petitioner c o m p l i c e S u l e m a n we re claimed he had developed ilbooked under the anti-conver- licit relationship with the comsion law on complaint of one plainant’s wife with the intent Akshay Kumar in Muzaffarna- to convert her religion, Nagar. They were accused of try- deem, claiming to be a poor ing to force a married Hindu labourer, said he was falsely woman to convert. Both were implicated just to avoid paycharged under the new law as ment of some dues which the well as under IPC for criminal complainant owed to him. intimidation and criminal He also claimed that initialconspiracy . ly he was booked under IPC Nadeem, through his lawyer and Sections 3 and 5 of the orSFA Naqvi, approached the dinance were “mischievously” high court contending that the added later in the FIR. DRAMA TMC MANAGES TO PULL BACK REBEL MLA TO ITS FOLD AMID UNEASE IN BJP While Barrackpore MLA resigned from the party, Panveswar legislator Jitendra Tiwari, whose planned entry to BJP was opposed by party’s Bengal unit leaders, said he was keen to ‘return home’ | P5
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