wednesDAY who probe into origins of coronavirus a dud 10 transmission from intermediary species February, 2021 epaper.morningstandard.in WHO’s foreign expert Ben Embarek feels human transmission happened through an intermediary species, but identifying the actual host would require a detailed probe. Comprising experts from 10 countries, the mission landed in China on Jan 14 after being earlier stonewalled by Beijing, which had provoked the WHO’s China-friendly chief to issue a rare public rebuke facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard V IS V A B H ARATI SHAH HITS BACK AT ADHIR Congress MP gave incorrect information in the House, HM says on Tagore seat row Page 7 A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS New Delhi l l J8.00 l PAGES 12 Leak of virus from the Wuhan lab unlikely, claims team, inconclusive on the origin and human transmission; aligns itself with China’s line deaths caused across the globe by the virus since december 2019 Modi in tears at Azad’s emotional Rajya Sabha farewell E x p r e s s N e w s S e r v i c e @ New Delhi An emotional Prime Minister Narendra Modi bade a tearful farewell to Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, whose close to three-decade career as an MP ends on February 15. In a speech interspersed by many breaks to clear his choked voice, Modi called Azad his true friend. “His work will inspire generations of MPs to come. Posts come, high offices come, power comes, but one must learn from Ghulam Nabi Azadji how to handle these,” Modi said. The PM could also be seen wiping tears while he praised Azad, Kerala scribe charge-sheeted for money laundering: ED TOBY ANTONY @ Kochi The Enforcement Directorate has filed a chargesheet against Campus Front of India (CFI) leader Rauf Sherif, Keralite journalist Sidhique Kappan and three others at a Special Court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) cases in Lucknow. In the chargesheet, ED claimed that Rauf and other Popular Front of India (PFI) and CFI members raised funds overseas and allegedly used them for anti-CAA protests and Delhi riots. The chargesheet named Athikur Rahman, Masud Alam and Mohammad Alam, besides Rauf and Kappan. The agency is probing the money laundering aspect in the case registered by the Uttar Pradesh police against Kappan and three others for the alleged attempt to disrupt social and communal harmony after the Hathras gang-rape incident. The ED had arrested Rauf last December from the Thiruv a n a n thapuram airport while Kappan was arrested by the UP police en route to Hathras from Delhi in October. The chargesheet stated that Rauf, a native of Anchal, was involved in criminal conspiracy, along with PFI and CFI members settled overseas, to fraudulently remit funds raised through bogus transactions to acquire the proceeds of crime. The chargesheet also said that Athikur, Masud, Kappan and Alam were travelling to Hathras to utilise the proceeds of crime and that they have committed offences of money laundering. Interestingly the ED finding , is that the `5,000 transferred to the account of Athikur’s account by Ahamed Shibili, an associate of Rauf, is part of the proceeds of crime. “Though Rauf was remanded by the PMLA court in Ernakulam, we decided to file the chargesheet at the Lucknow court as the incident related to the case took place in Uttar Pradesh. It was filed on Saturday an ED official said. ,” express read Don’s 2nd impeachment trial opens in Senate Washington DC: The historic second impeachment trial of Donald Trump opened Tuesday in the Senate with graphic video of the January 6 attack on Congress. The lead House prosecutor told senators the case would present “cold, hard facts” against the former US president who is charged with inciting the siege of the Capitol to overturn the election he lost to Democrat Joe Biden. Trump is the first former president to face impeachment. who also got emotional while he addressed the House. “Ghulam Nabi Azad has set very high standards as MP and Opposition leader. He not only worries about his party but also had similar passion towards the smooth running of the House and towards India’s development.” Modi recollected his long association with the Congress leader. “We were Chief Ministers together. We had interacted even before I became CM, when Azad Sahab was very much in active politics.” Recalling the 2007 terror attack in Kashmir, where a grenade was lobbed at a bus carrying Gujrat pilgrims, Modi said, “Nabiji was constantly following up. He sounded concerned like those stuck there were his own family . Nabiji was the first person to call me. During that call, he could not stop crying,” Modi said, adding that he would always expect Azad to share his inputs. On his part, Azad said he has cried only five times — when Sanjay, Indira and Rajiv Gandhi died, during the tsunami in 1999 and when terrorists had killed Gujarati tourists. “Today, I pray to God to end militancy from this country,” Azad said, pointing out that thousands have been killed in the battle against terror. The Congress veteran also remembered the Kashmiri Pandit community “Us . ashiyana jo ki is waqt ujda hua hai, uske liye hum sabko prayas karna hai (all of us have to make His work will inspire generations of MPs to come. Posts come, high offices come, power comes, but one must learn from Ghulam Nabi Azadji —Narendra Modi, PM Race trying to reach 37time against workers Rescuers trapped deep within the tunnel; 32 bodies found so far at various places V i n e e t U pa d h yay @ Raini (U’khand) With the toll in the Uttarakhand disaster climbing to 32, rescue workers raced against time on Tuesday to save the 37 workers trapped deep inside the Tapovan tunnel since Sunday’s flash floods that choked it with loads of slush. The 37 are part of the 174 others who are still missing. Officials from the Army Medical Corps (AMC) said the trapped workers are not just without food and water, night time temperature within the tunnel could go down to as low as 20C. “They don’t have food, water and additional amenities to shield themselves from the cold. Time indeed is running out for them,” an AMC official agreed.” But officials associated with the project said workers have enough clothing to give them some protection from the freezing temperature. Rakesh Dimri, an official from NTPC said, “The workers have war m clothes, boots, helmet with headlight, a torch, a rope, a knife and other items. I hope they will be rescued.” The key to survival is the availabliity of air vents, said medical experts. Dr Vipul Kandwal, a medical practitioner in Dehradun, said, “If they are not drowned, air passage would act as a lifesaver. The problem with sludge is it blocks almost everything, including oxygen.” Dr Adarsh Singh concurred. “Time is not on their side, as a human can survive without food or water or both for a No stone has been left unturned to save those men. We have reached beyond 100 m into the 180 m stretch of the tunnel Aparna Kumar, ITBP DIG week or so under such conditions.” However, they do not rule out the possibility of a miracle. “We have witnessed miracles and I am certain that our forces will save all those men. Whole nation’s prayers and wishes are with them,” said Dr Singh. Meanwhile, officials have deployed heli-bound Laser and Electromagnetic Pulse Imager to look for air pockets in the 1.9 km long tunnel network at the hydropower project site. Manjunath P C, commandant of Indian Reserve Battalion said, “This will act as a multiplier in our efforts to save the trapped workers.” Meanwhile, six bodies were found at different locations on Tuesday, including Raini village, Tapovan, Nandprayag, Karnpyarag and Haridwar, taking the total body count to 32. From within the tunnel, nine dismembered body parts were found. Also five vehicles that were swept into the tunnel have been recovered. They include a Scorpio and a JCB. Naval divers have been deployed to search for bodies at various locations, including in the vicinity of the Tapovan project as more than 100 workers were at the site when tragedy struck. Aparna Kumar, DIG, ITBP, Dehradun sector said, “No stone has been left unturned to save those men. We have reached beyond 100 metres into the 180-metre stretch of the tunnel where the men are trapped.” Many feel at this pace the operation could take P7 three-four more days. efforts to restore the nest, which is devastated now).” Azad signed off with a poignant speech that drew parallel between the lives of Muslims in India and Pakistan, and said he prided himself in being a Hindustani Muslim. Asserting that India was untainted by the evil practices prevalent in countries like Pakistan, he said, “If any Muslim in the world should be proud, it should be the Hindustani Muslims. I am among those who have never been to Pakistan, but when I read about the evils that exist in Pakistani society I think Hindustani , Muslims should be proud.” p7 Zero Covid death after nearly nine months, CM wants no drop in guard S o m r i ta G h o s h @ New Delhi After a gap of almost nine months, the national capital saw zero death owing to the deadly coronavirus in the past 24 hours, according to the daily health bulletin issued by the Delhi gover nment released on Tuesday . Delhi reported 100 fresh Covid-19 infections, 144 recoveries and zero deaths. Delhi’s death toll due to coronavirus stands at 10,882, with 1,052 active cases. There are 441 people in home isolation. The last time zero fatality Kashmir sees quieter Jan than previous two years FAYA Z WANI @ Srinagar Deep Sidhu in Delhi after being arrested from his hideout in Karnal | Express Deep Sidhu caught in Karnal, Delhi Police gets seven-day custody @ New Delhi Rescue effort Over 100 personnel from ITBP, SDRF and NDRF part of the rescue team. In all, over 800 personnel are on the site. 700 personnel are on standby Two excavator/JCB machines have excavated over 6,700 tonnes of slush from the tunnel. They have reached 130 m into the 30 ft high, 25 ft wide tunnel. But muck removal is taking time, reducing the cleared part to 90 m A drone is being used to look inside the tunnel to find possible entry points through the slush/muck to take complete precautions,” tweeted Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Health minister Satyendar Jain hailed Delhi’s collective will for the result. “I congratulate the people of Delhi for taking proper precautions and our healthcare and frontline workers who have fought this battle tooth and nail,” Jain tweeted. “Congratulations Delhi! Big positive news after so many months...The zero death day .... now let’s wish for zero case day,” tweeted Deputy CM Manish Sisodia. MILITANCY Express News Service (Clockwise from left) An aerial view of the Tapovan barrage two days after the flash floods; rescuers try to reach the tunnel from another end; and a recovered body | Shekhar Yadav c o u n t w a s re c o rd e d o n May 11 last year. The Delhi government’s latest data shows that the Capital’s recovery rate has risen to 98.12%, the highest so far. The city’s overall coronavirus case tally rose to 6,36,260, of which 6,24,326 have recovered. “Good news for Delhiites... Today, not a single death occurred due to corona. Congratulations to the people of Delhi. Corona cases have also reduced and the vaccine campaign is running rapidly Del. hiites fought very hard against corona. We still have A special team of the Delhi Police nabbed Punjabi actoractivist Deep Sidhu from his hideout in Haryana’s Karnal on Monday night. Sidhu carried a reward of `1 lakh after being named one of the main conspirators in the Red Fort violence on Republic Day . Sidhu was presented before a city court, which sent him to seven-day custody of the police. A team of the southwestern range of Special Cell led by DCP Sanjeev Yadav made the arrest around 10.30 pm in Karnal, where he had been hiding for the past 15 days. However, he kept releasing provocative videos to instigate Punjab and Haryana youth, police said. Sidhu was produced before the Metropolitan Magistrate at the Tis Hazari Court on Tuesday and was remanded for seven days. Crime branch officials claimed that the actor had instigated the mob to break the barricades with tractors and deviate from the police-approved route. DCP Special Cell Yadav said Sidhu had been changing his location to evade arrest. “We have evidence on how he instigated and provoked the youngsters on January 25 and 26,” he said. Five-six teams of the Special Cell had conducted multiple raids in Punjab and Haryana to nab Sidhu. A team was also sent to Jharkhand and Bihar. Sources claimed Sidhu’s friends had refused him accommodation and help. He had been wearing the same pair of dress for last five days. Sidhu managed to get in touch with an associate, who offered him a vehicle in Karnal. Sources said that Sidhu was in touch with a Califor nia-based woman friend, who helped him upload the provocative videos through Facebook. BATTLE MAMATA invokes Spirit of TIGER After BJP chief JP Nadda sought to present his party as the vanguard of Bengal’s cultural riches, Mamata asserted she would not yield without a fight. “I will live like a Royal Bengal Tiger till the time I live,” she thundered Page 8 Jammu and Kashmir had a relatively peaceful January as compared to the previous two years with only four militancy incidents in the first month. Of the four cases, two were grenade attacks — one on an ITBP vehicle at Awantipora in south Kashmir on January 2 in which eight civilians were injured while the other was on a police patrol party in Chatroo, Kishtwar on January 22. Luckily, the second grenade attack did not cause any injury or damage. A soldier was killed and three others injured in an IED attack on an Army vehicle at Shamsipora area in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district on January 27. The first face-to-face gunfight between militants and security forces this year took place on January 29 at Tral area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. It ended with the elimination of three Hizb ul militants. Last year, 10 encounters took place between militants and security forces in the Valley which ended with the death of 23 militants including Jaish chief Qari Yasir. Two security men were also killed in January last year. In 2019, 10 militancy incidents took place in which 20 people, including 17 militants, were killed. According to an MHA report, there were 244 militancy related incidents in J&K in 2020 as compared to 594 in 2019. It stated that 37 civilians and 62 security men were killed and 112 civilians and 106 security personnel injured in militancy violence in 2020. “In comparison, 39 civilians and 80 security men were killed and 188 civilians and 140 security men injured in militancy violence in 2019.”
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