SaturDAY Lakshadweep filmmaker faces sedition case for ‘bio-weapon’ remark 12 June, 2021 Lakshadweep Police, which registered a sedition case against Aisha Sulthana for criticising UT administrator, serves her a notice to appear for probe epaper.morningstandard.in facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard s t r ate g y ta l k day of pan-india political churn Lots brewing in Maharashtra, Punjab and Bihar as big names make moves Page 8 A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS l New Delhi l J8.00 l PAGES 12 Mukul Roy ghar wapsi Jolt to Bengal BJP as he rejoins Trinamool; was soft on Didi during poll P r ana b M o n d a l @ Kolkata taking to the streets Nursing staff demanding hike in their salaries perform a street play at NSCB Medical College in Jabalpur on Friday | pti Covaxin’s emergency nod push in US fails S u m i S u k an ya D u t ta @ New Delhi C ova x in m a n u f a c t u r e r Bharat Biotech, which is already drawing flak in India for the unusual delay in releasing its final phase 3 clinical trial results, got a fresh jolt as the US drug regulator declined emergency use authorisation (EUA) for the vaccine in its country . Indian authorities, however, claimed the US decision will have no bearing on the nation’s Covid vaccination drive, of which Covaxin — apart from Covishield — is a key element. The USFDA advised Bharat Biotech’s US partner Ocugen to take the biological license applications — or full approval — route instead for the approval. Putting it in context, Bharat Biotech said the USFDA has already stopped issuing EUAs, since the country now has good herd immunity and a signifi- cant percentage of its population is vaccinated. “Our US partner, Ocugen, has received a recommendation from the Food and Drug Administration to pursue a Biologics License Applications path for Covaxin,” the firm said. It added that for standard approval, data from an additional clinical trial will be required, extending the company’s timelines. No vaccine manufactured or developed from India has ever received EUA or full licensure from USFDA. “Thus, it will be a great leap forward for vaccine innovation and manufacturing from India when approved,” claimed Bharat Biotech. Covaxin has restricted use permission from 14 countries while its applications are under evaluation in more than 50 other countries. The WHO is yet to issue its EUA due to lack Continued on: P8 of data. Centre asks bihar for death details | P7 the BJP, which is still smarting from the poor show in the recently held Assembly election in West Bengal, on Friday received another jolt as its national vice-president Mukul Roy and his son Subhrangshu deserted the saffron party to rejoin the Trinamool Congress. Roy met West Bengal chief minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee and her nephew Abhishek, the party’s national general secretary, at the party’s headquarters Trinamool Bhavan. “Mukul is an old member of the TMC family and old is gold. The BJP had threatened and tortured him using central agencies. After coming back to the TMC, mental peace has returned to him. No one in Bengal can survive in the BJP. Mukul’s return is a reflection of the BJP’s intra-party oppression,’’ said Mamata. Roy was TMC’s national secretary and the second-in-com- for an early onset. It (monsoon) may reach Delhi by June 15 this time,” he said. A low pressure area lies over northwest Bay of Bengal. It is likely to move across Odisha, Jharkhand and north Chhattisgarh over the next three to four days, the IMD said. A trough runs from south Punjab to the centre of this low pressure area. Also, strong south-westerly winds are prevailing along the west coast and an offshore trough in maharashtra covid fatality tally Over 10,000 deaths added to official total after revision. Government says technical glitch, BJP smells a rat | P7 NATIONWIDE Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths Delhi Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths june 10 june 11 94,052 91,702 1,51,367 1,34,580 6,148 3,403 june 10 305 560 44 june 11 238 504 24 lies off the west coast. These conditions are likely to persist over the next five to six days. “Under these favourable meteorological conditions, the southwest monsoon is likely to advance over the entire country outside south Rajasthan and Kutch region of Gujarat during the next fivesix days,” the IMD said. Last year, the wind system had covered the country by June 29, seven days before the usual date of July 8. ens Po s iti v e Night vaccination drive in Kashmir villages draws encouraging response F aya z Wan i @ Srinagar Healthcare workers have launched a night vaccination drive against Covid in three remote villages of Bandipora in north Kashmir, where males usually go out for grazing cattle during the day and return in the evening. Block Medical Officer (BMO) Bandipora Dr Masrat Iqbal told this paper that the drive is aimed at 100% vaccination of the north Kashmir district. Three villages — Kudara, Sumlar and Chandaji – have been chosen for the 7-11 pm slot since most males in these villages retur n only in the evening. “We changed our strategy – rather than they coming to us, we decided to reach their doorstep at night for their convenience,” he said. Health workers have to walk many kilometers to reach these The drive is aimed at 100% vaccination of the north Kashmir district | pti three villages and stay overnight to be able to vaccinate the villagers. “Had we not launched night vaccination, we would not have been able to vaccinate a large population of the district,” the BMO said. He said of the total 500 villagers falling in the 45-plus age group, 370 have been vaccinated during the night vaccination drive. “The left-outs will also be vaccinated in the coming days to achieve the 100% vaccination target,” said Dr Masrat. mand when he switched over to the BJP in 2017 after he was interrogated by the CBI and the ED in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam and the Narada sting operation case. Roy’s return to the TMC was not entirely unexpected. Mamata’s soft stance on Roy during the election campaign had triggered speculation. While addressing a rally in Nandigram, from where Mamata contested and lost to Suvendu Adhikari, she said Roy was much better than Suvendu. Roy, too, re- Aisha is a model and filmmaker and is from the Chetiath island in Lakshadweep. On Thursday, the police had registered a case under Sections 124 A and 153 B of IPC against Aisha based on a complaint filed by BJP Lakshadweep chief C Abdul Khader Haji. “Lakshadweep had 0 cases of Covid-19. Now, it is reporting a daily spike of 100 cases. What the Centre has deployed is a bioweapon,” Aisha had allegedly said. Sulthana served notice, 12 of bjp quit in protest E x p r ess N e w s S e r v i c e @ Kochi The Kavaratti Police in Lakshadweep, which registered a sedition case against filmmaker Aisha Sulthana, served her a notice on Friday to appear for interrogation on June 20. The police had on Thursday registered a case under Sections 124 A and 153 B of IPC against Aisha based on a complaint filed by BJP Lakshadweep state president C Abdul Khader Haji. According to the complaint, Aisha, while participating in a media discussion on June 7, made a serious allegation that the Union government has used a “biological weapon” against the people of Lakshadweep, while referring to the spread of Covid on the island. A film professional, Aisha has been at the forefront of the campaign against the reforms introduced by the Lakshadweep administration, which includes a ban on beef and beef products. Twelve BJP members in Chethlath Island — the native place of Aisha — including party state secretary Abdul Hameed Mullipura, Lakshadweep Wakf Board member Ummul Kulus Puthiyapura, Lakshadweep Khadi Board member Saifulla Pakkiyoda, BJP Chethlath unit secretary Jabir Salihath Manzil and eight others, submitted the resignation letter on Friday pledging support to the filmmaker B i t r a u n i t p re s i d e n t Hameed Kakkaillam also announced his decision to resign. In his complaint lodged with District Collector S Asker Ali, who forwarded the case to the senior superintendent of police, Abdul Khader had said: “The state BJP unit protests against the anti-national act, which has tarnished the patriotic image of the Union government.” Aisha Sulthana said she will raise her voice louder for her motherland. ERROR Now, buzz on Cabinet expansion at Centre too Monsoon MAY reach Delhi by June 15, TWO WEEKS EARLY: imd NEW DELHI: The people of Delhi are likely to get some respite from simmering heat, with the India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Friday forecasting that the southwest monsoon may reach Delhi by June 15, 12 days before its usual date of June 27. Kuldeep Srivastava, head of the IMD’s regional forecasting centre, said in 2008, too, the wind system had reached Delhi on June 15. “Conditions are favourable Mukul Roy with TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee and her nephew Abhishek Banerjee in Kolkata on Friday | PTI frained from launching a frontal attack against the TMC. Endorsing the speculations, Mamata said, “Many others attacked the TMC and showed their cheap mentality, but Mukul was not like them.’’ After he was welcomed back to the TMC fold, Roy said, “I am happy to be in my old place. I could not continue in the BJP, so I decided to join the TMC.” BJP state president Dilip Ghosh, however, sought to downplay Roy’s departure, saying, “With his presence, we did not get any dividend. What damage will be caused because of his defection?’’ TMC sources told this newspaper Roy’s old rivalry with Mamata’s nephew could dent his position in the party. “He was the second-in-command in the party But later, he became . unhappy with the rise of the CM’s nephew Abhishek. Now Abhishek is much more powerful as the national general secretary which indicates the par, P7 ty’s line of succession.” Aisha, while participating in a media debate, alleged that the Centre has used a "biological weapon" against the people of Lakshadweep while referring to the spread of Covid on the island. For vaccinating those in the 18-45-year age group, he said the administration was registering such people. “After completing their registration, we will be vaccinating them too. About 1,000 villagers in the three villages fall in the category of the 18-45 age group,” said Dr Masrat. He said the night vaccination drive has received a good response from villagers as they don’t have to travel to vaccination centres. He said due to rumours, there was some hesitancy among villagers initially , but with proper counseling and awareness, they have chosen to get vaccinated. The remote Weyan hamlet in Bandipora district was the first village in India where all adult population was vaccinated against the pandemic. “It was all possible due to our door-to-door vaccination campaign,” he said. M A N I S H A N A N D @ New Delhi The BJP’s attempts to energise its organisation and governments at the Centre and Lucknow gained pace on Friday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi holding extensive discussions with Union home minister Amit Shah and party chief J P Nadda. They got into a huddle after UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath met Modi and Nadda separately, amid indications that the party brass will take full command of the poll preparations in the battleground state. The much delayed Cabinet expansion at the Centre, filling of vacancies in the BJP Parliamentary Board and organisational issues in the specific cont e x t o f U P, were learnt to be on the meeting a g enda. The BJP’s attempt to make course corrections by wooing smaller parties that were previously allies but drifted away due to differences with Adityanath, could be reflected in the Cabinet expansions both at the Centre and UP sources said. , Flipkart footprint K’taka HC allows competition panel probe into e-tailers B i sma h M a l i k @ Bengaluru IN a major win for small retailers, who have been alleging that foreign firms are violating the Competition Act and Foreign Direct Investment Act, the Karnataka High Court on Friday allowed the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to probe the anti-competitive practices by e-commerce giants Amazon and Flipkart. The HC dismissed the e-tailers’ petitions seeking quashing of a probe ordered by the CCI last January based on a complaint by the Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh. The e-comm giants are accused of making special agreements with select ED lens on sellers, having stakes in Amazon Indian companies selling Enforcement on their platforms, and Directorate is deep discounting. investigating Earlier, the CCI had apallegations of proached the Supreme FEMA violations Court, which told the Karby Amazon nataka HC to decide on after the Union the matter in six weeks. commerce Amazon told TNIE that ministry asked it will review the judgthe agency to ment and decide on the take necessary next step. Flipkart didn’t action respond to queries. Senior lawyer Abir Roy , who appeared for the Delhi Vyapar Mahasangh, said the CCI can continue the ongoing probe against the companies. However, the e-comm giants may appeal before a larger bench. The CCI’s lawyers informed the court that it was in possession of emails exchanged between Amazon, Flipkart and sellers offering to incur a part of the discounts during big sale events as well as allegations of common directors at Amazon, Flipkart and seller firms like Cloudtail, Omnichannel Retail, Appario which merits investigation. While the Prime Minister’s Office completed its performance appraisal of the Union ministers early last year, the expected shakeup in the team was put of f primarily because of the C ov i d ch a l l e n g e, s a i d sources. They added that the BJP is now keen to give visibility to NDA allies. The list of the Union Cabinet hopefuls has grown, with former Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal joining the likes of Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sushil Kumar Modi, besides NDA ally JD (U). And the Parliamentary Board has four vacancies. A common theme emerging out of consultations between RSS and BJP leaders recently is the need for an image makeover of the government with the induction of new faces. Yogi meets Shah, Nadda Modi, Shah and Nadda got into a huddle after Adityanath met PM and BJP chief separately, amid indications that the party brass will take command of the poll preparations in UP
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