THURSDAY 1,25,000 NO. OF H4 VISAS ISSUED BY THE US IN 2019 CALENDAR YEAR 28 JANUARY, 2021 epaper.morningstandard.in facebook.com/TheMorningStandard TANDAV ROW NO INTERIM RELIEF FOR PRODUCERS Freedom of speech and expression is not absolute, says Supreme Court A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS PAGE 8 FIRs: 25 PERSONS ARRESTED NINETEEN 37 394 Farmer leaders named Policemen injured LEADERS NAMED IN FIRs Medha Patkar, Yogendra Yadav, Kulwant Singh Sandhu, Satnam Singh Pannu, Joginder Singh Ugrahan, Surjeet Singh Phool, Jagjeet Singh Dalewal, Balbir Singh Rajewal, Harinder Singh Lakhowal CHARGES SLAPPED Rioting, criminal conspiracy, robbery, attempt to murder, others under different IPC sections Singhu Border Tikri Border Ghazipur border DELHI DELHI POLICE SAYS KMSC headed by SS Pannu broke Singhu border barricades and entered Delhi at 7.30 am BKU led by Rakesh Tikait broke Ghazipur border barricades and entered Delhi at 8.30 am THE Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed a Bombay High Court order acquitting a man accused of child abuse on the ground that groping a child’s breasts without skin-to-skin contact didn’t amount to sexual assault under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde issued the order after Attor ney General K K Venugopal said the judgment would set a dangerous precedent. “It is a very disturbing conclusion,” Venugopal said. The court allowed him to file a Special Leave Petition against the January 19 verdict of the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court and also issued notice to the Maharashtra government and the accused. Several organisations, including Youth Bar Association of India, have already moved the top court stating that the verdict contained observations about the victim’s modesty, which were derogatory and de- NEW DELHI J8.00 PAGES 12 Until 2015, H4 visa holders could not legally hold paid employment in the US. Former US President Barack Obama changed the regulation. However, the Trump administration proposed to reverse Obama’s decision, saying it is economically significant INDIANS AMONG BIGGEST BENEFICIARIES The decision to rescind Trump proposal came on the day Biden signed an executive order calling for racial equity in the country. Indian and Chinese workers account for the majority share of H1B visas and H4 visas | P7 MEDHA, YOGENDRA, TIKAIT NAMED IN FIRs Police write to Darshan Pal Singh asking why legal action shouldn’t be taken for agreement breach; Morcha postpones Feb 1 Parl march EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi A day after Delhi convulsed as mobs resorted to violence amid the farmers’ tractor rally, the police on Wednesday launched a crackdown, adding names including Medha Patkar, Yogendra Yadav, Rakesh Tikait, Balbir Singh Rajewal, to the 25 FIRs filed in connection with the riots. Delhi Police Commissioner S N Srivasatava squarely blamed leaders like Satnam Singh Pannu, Darshan Pal Singh and others for giving provocative speeches at Mukarba Chowk to instigate the mob. Others like Bhuta Singh and Bhurj Gill at the Tikri border and Rakesh Singh Tikait at Ghazipur instigated the people, which led to the violence, he charged. “No one will be spared and strict action will be taken against everyone involved, who incited the violence,” he said. Delhi Police wrote to Krantikari Kisan Union leader Darshan Pal Singh asking to explain as to why legal action should not be taken against him for breaching the agreement with police regarding the tractor rally It asked him to re. ply within 3 days. In his letter, Chinmay Biswal, DCP, Headquarters, has also directed Singh to provide names of the perpetrators of such violent acts belonging to his union The police are scanning CCTV foot- INSIDE A damaged police jeep at the Red Fort a day after it was stormed by protesters; metal detectors turned upside down at an entry gate at the premises of the historic monument on Wednesday | PARVEEN NEGI age and using the facial recognition tool to identify more culprits. As many as 394 police personnel were injured and many of them are in serious condition in the ICU. The Samyukta Kisan Morcha, the umbrella body of agitating farmer unions, on Wednesday announced its decision to postpone the proposed march to Parliament on February 1, the budget day and observe fast on the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on January 30 as atonement. Bharatiya Kisan Union Punjab (Rajewal) president Balbir Singh Rajewal said, “the morcha regrets the Red Fort in- JAVADEKAR TARGETS CONG FOR UNREST I P7 Supreme Court stays Bombay HC ruling on groping E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ New Delhi New administration withdraws Trump’s proposal to refuse work authorisation to spouses of H1-B holders OBAMA ERA DECISION RESTORED twitter.com/TheMornStandard ACTION FOLLOWS Biden nixes Trump bid to kill spouse work permits famatory Justice Pushpa Gan. ediwala of the HC bench had ruled there must be skin-to-skin contact with sexual intent for an act to be considered a sexual assault. The order said mere groping constitutes the offence of outraging a woman’s modesty under Section 354 of the IPC, but doesn’t fall under the definition of ‘sexual assault’, as it was not clear whether the victim’s top was removed or whether the accused inserted his hand inside her top and pressed her breast. While IPC Section 354 entails a minimum imprisonment of one year, sexual assault under the POCSO Act is punishable with minimum three years’ jail. As per the prosecution, the accused had taken the minor girl to his house on some pretext and had groped her breast. The sessions court had awarded three-year jail term to the accused under the POCSO Act as well as under IPC. The high court upheld his conviction under IPC but acquitted him of the charges under the POCSO Act. BLOOD TERRORISTS ATTACK ARMY JAWANS IN KASHMIR, KILL ONE In the first major terror strike in the Valley this year, terrorists trigger Improvised Explosive Device in Kulgam district to target an Army road opening party | P8 cident and accept moral responsibility for it.’’ Rajewal and Swaraj Abhiyan president Yogendra Yadav alleged that Punjabi actor-singer Deep Sidhu and the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee were behind the mob violence and added that they would expose the ‘conspiracy’ of the government. In a related development, the Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan and BKU Bhanu withdrew support to the agitation. “We cannot continue to join forces with people who have a different direction,” said VM Singh, RKMS national president, in Ghazipur. RED FORT UNDER POLICE ‘CUSTODY’ FOR PROBE I P4 EXPRESS READ JD(S) gets Legislative Council chair in K’taka Bengaluru: The BJP has joined hands with the JD(S) to wrest the Karnataka Legislative Council Chairman’s post from the Congress during a weeklong Legislature Session. BJP announced its decision on Wednesday to appoint its member, M. K. Pranesh, as its nominee for the deputy chairman’s post. Pranesh will be filing his nomination to the vacant post (deputy chairman) on Thursday. Rajnath, Doval speak to new US admin New Delhi: In the first highlevel engagements between the Modi government and the Joe Biden administration, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh while NSA Ajit Doval talked to his American counterpart Jake Sullivan on Wednesday, broadly focusing on key regional and global challenges like combating terrorism and ensuring peace in the Indo-Pacific region. Deep Sidhu booked for Red Fort rampage EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chandigarh/New Delhi IN his quest for his 15 seconds of fame, he was seen on social media instigating mobs to hoist a religious flag at the Red Fort on Tuesday Now, Punjabi actor . Deep Sidhu stands disowned by farmer leaders as well as politicians across the spectrum and also faces an FIR. He, along with gangster-turned-activist Lakhbir Sing aka Lakha Sidhana, was named in the FIR in connection with the Red Fort case, a senior police officer said. Farmer unions as well as some opposition parties had earlier in the day accused the government of planting him to discredit the farmers’ agitation. When asked about Sidhu earlier, North Delhi DCP Anto Alphonse had said, “We are investigating the matter and the process is going on. We will share details once done.” The SKM alleged ‘anti-social elements’ like Sidhu attempted to torpedo their peaceful agitation as part of a conspiracy hatched by the government. Pointing to his past links with the BJP, farmer leaders alleged he misguided some protesters to bring disrepute to the agitation. “Sid- hu is an RSS man. Police let him go after he hoisted a religious flag at Red Fort,” alleged farmer leader Darshan Pal. Balbir Singh Rajewal also termed Sidhu as one of the biggest traitors of Punjab and called for his public boycott. Accusing him of misguiding protesters, Haryana BKU chief Gurnam Singh Chaduni said, “Sidhu led them to the Red Fort. The farmers never wanted to go there.” Ruling AAP in Delhi also questioned the connection between BJP and Sidhu. CONTINUED ON P7 OPD services at hospitals can resume in Delhi E X P R E SS N E WS S E R V I C E @ New Delhi AS cases of novel coronavirus goes down in the national capital, the Delhi government on Wednesday directed that all kinds of surgeries, invasive procedures, in-patient and outpatient departments and other medical services be restarted in all the hospitals. “In suspension of all previous orders in this regard and in view of the decrease in number of Covid-19 cases in Delhi, it is hereby directed that all kinds of surgeries, invasive procedures, IPD, OPD, and other medical services shall be started in all hospitals under the GNCT of Delhi, including society hospitals,” an order issued by the health department. The non-Covid medical facilities had come to a halt at the start of the pandemic. The Delhi government-run Lok Nayak Hospital and Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital were among the facilities that got converted into fully dedicated Covid-19 hospitals soon after the cases began to rise. OPD services have already begun at both the hospitals. Currently, there are 8,729 general beds across city hospitals are reserved for Covid patients out of which 718 remain occupied, which is only 8 per cent and the rest lying vacant. At the same time, 220 ICU beds with ventilators are currently occupied by patients out of 1143 while 923 beds remain available whereas 136 ICU beds with ventilators are occupied out of 1824 total beds and 1,688 remains available. On December 31, the Delhi government had announced de-escalation of the number of beds earmarked for the treatment of the infection at private hospitals. All these steps are being taken in view of slump in cases. Delhi recorded 157 fresh Covid cases on Tuesday, the fifth time the daily count stood below the 200-mark in January . The infection tally in the city stood at 6.34 lakh and the death toll mounted to 10,820 with seven new fatalities POOLS FOR ALL, MORE CAN WATCH MOVIES 50% Swimming pools permitted for use of sports persons now open for all seating cap on cinema halls and theatres lifted, says the latest Union home ministry advisory. New Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to be issued by I&B ministry to lay down norms TESTING STATUS 22,326 RTPCR/CBNAAT/ TrueNat tests conducted 10495046 Total tests done so far 5,52,370 B2B exhibition halls already permitted, now all types of exhibition halls can function DELHI COVID WATCH Further opening up of international air travel of passengers based on assessment of the situation Persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 advised to take precautions while moving out | P7 STATUS OF CASES Today Cumulative RECOVERED 212 6,21,995 DEATH 09 10,829 ACTIVE CASES -1501 TOTAL +VE CASES 96 6,34,325 PATIENT MANAGEMENT Total beds Occupied Vacant HOSPITAL 8,744 721 8,023 CARE CENTRE 8,023 12 7,281 HEALTH CENTRE 307 2 305 670 HOME ISOLATION *99 beds of CCC are occupied by persons under quarantine including travellers who came by Vande Bharat Mission and Bubble flights Tests per million Source: Delhi health bulletin | January 27 PLACE TO CHILL Igloo cafe hottest destination in ski resort Gulmarg F AYA Z W A N I @ Srinagar WANT to enjoy a meal, snack or hot drink sitting inside an igloo? If you are in Gulmarg and willing to spend a few bucks, this may become a reality . India’s first-ever igloo café has come up in the famous ski resort, which is presently blanketed by snow. From tables to chairs, everything inside is made of ice, and the cafe withfour tables can accommodate 16 customers at a time. It is the brainchild of hotelier Syed Waseem Shah, owner of the Kolahoi Green Heights in Gulmarg. Talking to this newspaper, Waseem said he got the novel idea while visiting Europe a few years back. “I saw igloo cafes there and was impressed by them. These cafes add to the attraction of Europe in winter.” After the heavy snowfall this winter, Waseem decided to give shape to his idea a few weeks back. “I hired 20 workers and they worked for 15 days to complete the work. It needs continuous maintenance.” The place with a diameter of 22 feet is 13 feet high. The walls are 21 inches thick. About 16 Revellers enjoy their experience inside the cafe in Gulmarg | EXPRESS guests can be served at a time. The café has received good response from the locals as well as tourists. People are clicking selfies and shooting videos of the interiors made entirely of ice. Waseem added that they have not used anything artificial like wood or plastic. To keep things warm, they have placed animal hide on the chairs. “We also give hot water bottles and blankets to the customers.” Temperature inside the café is 10-12 degrees more than what it is outside. “If outside it is -5, it will be 5-7 degrees inside the igloo. Snow itself is an insulator and keeps it warm inside.” Waseem claims this is the biggest igloo cafe in Asia. “I have approached Limca Book of Records. They have sought details and acce pted my entry .” He hopes to set a world record next year.
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