monDAY srikanth gets Loh-cut, ends Worlds with historic silver 20 First Indian man to feature in final of badminton Worlds, Kidambi Srikanth goes down to Singapore’s Loh Kean Yew december, 2021 epaper.morningstandard.in former world no 1 back for good? Srikanth’s resurgence can be one of the sporting stories of 2021. After failing to reach the Olympics, the former World No 1 has given impressive performances. He’s No 3 in the ‘Race to Guangzhou’ standings. Free of injuries, his net play and the jump smash are working. It’s now a question of consistency. facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard DELIMITATION panel may table j&K report today Reservation of constituencies for Kashmiri Pandits, SCs, STs in focus Page 7 A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS l New Delhi l J8.00 l PAGES 12 (From left) Silver medalist Kidambi Srikanth, gold medalist Loh Kean Yew, bronze medalists Anders Antonsen and Lakshya Sen at the World Championships in Huelva on Sunday | AP | P11 Second case of lynching Yogi tapping phones, claims Akhilesh at Sikh shrine in Punjab E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Lucknow Allegation of sacrilege again, but police team finds no evidence to establish the charge; SIT formed to probe case in Golden Temple CM appeals for peace H a r p r ee t B a j w a @ Chandigarh A day after a youth was beaten to death over an alleged attempt at sacrilege at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, a youth was on Sunday lynched at a gurdwara in the Kapurthala for allegedly disrespecting the Nishan Sahib (Sikh flag) there. The second person was killed in the presence of a police team led by a Senior Superintendent of Police and two SPs. Assumed to be a migrant labourer, his alleged sacrilege was spotted around 4 am at a gurdwara in Nizampur village in Kapurthala district. Gurdwara caretaker Amarjit Singh said he saw that the youth desecrating the Sikh flag but managed hide as there was a power cut. He was caught after power was restored. Enraged locals lodged him in a room in the gurdwara and demanded that he be questioned before them in the shrine itself instead of taking him to the police station. After heated arguments with representatives of Sikh outfits over the custody of the youth, the police broke into the room where the youth was lodged. Sikh activists followed and in the ensuing scuffle the mob attacked the youth with a sword. He later succumbed to his injuries in a hospital. Senior Superintendent of Police, Kapurthala, Harkamalpreet Singh Khakh, said: “The mob broken open the window of the room where the suspect was lodged and assaulted him. revenge Kerala rocked by 2 back-to-back political killings E x p r ess N e ws Se r v i c e @ Alappuzha Kerala’s Alappuzha district was shocked on Sunday by two political revenge killings within a span of 12 hours. One of the victims was a leader from the Muslim outfit SDPI and the other from the BJP . Around 8 pm on Saturday night, the Social Democratic Party of India’s state secretary K S Shan, 39, died after a gang attacked him near Mannanchery. And on Sunday mor ning, the BJP’s OBC Morcha state secretary Renjith Sreenivasan, 40, was hacked to death in front of his mother at his home at Vellakinar. District police chief G Jaydev said the killings were connected, indicating that they could be retaliatory in nature. IGP Harshitha Attalluri, who is leading the probe into the violence, said 50 people were taken into custody, including SDPI and RSS activists and two who arranged the vehicle for those who attacked Shan. As the situation remained volatile, with both SDPI and RSS camps organising protest marches, District Collector A Alexander clamped Section 144 in the district on Sunday and Monday. He also convened an all-party meet in Alappuzha on Monday, set to be attended by state ministers Saji Cherian and P Prasad. The murders evoked strong reactions, with Governor Arif Mohammed Khan saying that such political killings are a disgrace to Kerala and reflect the devaluation of democracy Ker. ala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan promised stern action. “It is possible that in view of the upcoming polls, some inimical forces or agencies may be trying to play a negative role...I appeal to the sangat to pay attention to take care of religious places — temples and gurdwaras, and institutions of all religions. People should maintain peace and mutual brotherhood,” the chief minister said Devotees arrive to worship at the Golden Temple in Amritsar on Sunday | PTI Police personnel were also manhandled; three of them suffered injuries. As per initial investigation, sacrilege has not been established. It seems theft was the motive.” Inspector General of Police Gurinder Singh Dhillon said there was no visible evidence of sacrilege at the Kapurthala gurdwara. “Everything was found intact, including the holy Guru Granth Sahib.” Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Sunday visited Amritsar’s Golden Temple, where the first incident hap- pened. He saw an ulterior motive by some “inimical forces or agencies” ahead of the state polls early next year. A special investigation team has been formed to probe the Amritsar case and submit a report in two days. The police registered FIRs in both cases, but there was no clarity on cases over the deaths. The identities of both victims, too, are yet to be established. In the first case, the man jumped over the rails in the Golden Temple sanctum sanctorum and allegedly picked up the ceremonial sword. A day after income tax raids on the premises of the Samajwadi Party’s associates across Uttar Pradesh, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday alleged that the Yogi Adityanath government was tapping phones of his party leaders. Akhilesh claimed even his phone calls were tapped, and blamed Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath of personally of snooping on their phone conversations. While interacting with media persons on Sunday, the SP Voting in Kolkata’s civic body elections took place in a tense atmosphere on Sunday, amid allegations that workers of the TMC, the ruling party in West Bengal, were involved in violence against opposition candidates across the city . After the polls opened at 7 am, police received hundreds of complaints from different political parties, who claim election agents were driven out of polling booths. In the city’s Sealdah and Khanna areas, two crude bombs were thrown, injuring at least two people. Opposition parties BJP, CPI(M) and Congress staged demonstrations in front of police sta- A policeman helps a person wear gloves before voting in Kolkata on Sunday | pti tions and alleged high-handedness by the ruling party . The state election commission recorded a 63.63% turnout in 144 wards as of 5 pm. The BJP’s candidate in ward 22, sitting councillor Meena Devi Purohit, said she was manhandled by TMC activists, a charge the TMC denied. The Bihar fights corruption with double-edged plan R A M A S H A N K A R @ Patna CROREPATI babus in Bihar are having sleepless nights these days, thanks to the twopronged strategy of the state government to fight graft. At least 10 senior officers, including IPS, Bihar Administrative Service, and Bihar Police Service, have fallen in the net of the government’s anti-corruption wings. Disproportionate assets worth `50 crore were unearthed in the last three months. The government has intensified operation against corrupt government employees, and focused on getting them convicted through speedy trials in special courts. The law department last week wrote to the registrar of the high court urging it to conduct a speedy trial of the cases lodged under the Prevention of Corruption Act. “We hope the chief justice will pay attention to our request,” law minister Pramod Kumar said. An executive engineer of the rural works department, Ajay Kumar Singh, is the latest official to fall in the net of the Vigilance Investigation Bureau on Saturday. The investigating team unearthed `95 lakh in cash, gold jewellery worth `66.51 lakh, and documents related to investments in real estate, bank deposits, and insurance policies. The property belonging to the officer is estimated not less than `5 crore. A day earlier, simultaneous searches were conducted at the residents of sub-registrar Mani Ranjan in Patna, Samastistipur, and Muzaffarpur which yielded `73.5 lakh in cash besides gold jewelry. He owned an under construction hotel at Muzaffarpur, the market value of which is stated to be `20 crore. directives issued by the “useless” chief minister of the state. “Wherever there are elections, the BJP taps phones of Opposition leaders...I am the one who is being targeted,” said the former chief minister. “The BJP is following the Congress’ way . Like the Congress, it is rearing to use the central agencies to instil fear (in rival political parties),” Yadav said. The UP government is running a WhatsApp University, Yadav said derisively . Akhilesh was accompanied by the party’s national secretary and spokesperson Rajiv Rai, whose premises were raided by income tax sleuths in Mau district Saturday. Others whose premises were raided w e r e J a i n e n d r a Ya d av (Akhilesh’s OSD when he was CM) and businessman Rahul Bhasin (both Lucknow) and c o n t r a c t o r M a n o j Ya d av in Mainpuri. Later in the day, Adityanath defended the tax raids, saying he could understand why SP was “feeling the pain”. E x p r e ss r e ad 8 new infections push Omicron case tally to 151 New Delhi: India’s Omicron COVID count rose to 151 on Sunday after Maharashtra reported six fresh cases while a 45-year-old nonresident Indian and a teenage boy, who recently arrived in Gujarat from the UK, also tested positive for the variant. Maharashtra’s total Omicron count now stands at 54 and Gujarat’s has risen to nine haste IS it time for Phase 2? Without solving socio-infra problems that surfaced after Phase 1 inauguration, officials start looking at the next stage of Chandni Chowk redevelopment Page 5 Violence mars Kolkata civic body polls E x p r e ss N e ws Se r v i c e @ Kolkata chief said: “Our phones are being tapped. This includes calls made from the Samajwadi Party office and of people associated with us. The chief minister himself listens to the r e c o r d i n g s every evening. ‘‘We have got a useless government. It is my warning to all of you that if you call me up, our calls will be tapped and recordings will be heard.” Akhilesh alleged that phones tapping was happening on the BJP candidate in ward 86 also made a similar allegation. In ward 21, CPI(M)’s Sujata Saha was allegedly assaulted and later hospitalised. In another part of Kolkata, the Congress alleged that its polling agents were thrashed in a booth on Brabourne Road by TMC supporters. CPI(M) activists staged a road blockade in the Bagha Jatin area, alleging that their polling agents were not allowed inside the booths. The poll commission, however, said it did not receive any complaint of booth capturing. Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari said the civic elections were a mockery and demanded a re-poll in all the 144 wards. A worker installs an oxygen cylinder inside a Covid facility at Delhi’s CWG Village on Sunday | Parveen Negi Covid cases rising in Delhi, highest since June now E x p r e ss N e ws Se r v i c e @ New Delhii The national capital reported 107 new Covid cases on Sunday — the highest daily rise since June 27 during the pandemic’s second wave. The rise in daily cases comes amid an Omicron scare as the total number of patients found infected with the latest variant of the coronavirus jumped by 12 on Friday to reach 22. One death was reported even as the positivity rate stood at 0.17 per cent on Sunday according to data shared , by the state health department, following which the death toll due to Covid in Delhi stands at 25,101. While 85 cases were recorded on Thursday, the number came down to 69 on Friday On Sat. urday, the figure went up again with Delhi logging 86 new cases and a positivity rate of 0.13 per cent. On June 27, Delhi had logged 259 cases and four deaths, according to government data. While schools and colleges NATIONWIDE Dec 18 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths Delhi Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 7,145 8,706 289 Dec 18 86 68 00 Dec 19 7,081 7,469 264 Dec 19 107 50 01 in Delhi have been reopened after a long break due to pollution and residents are preparing for the festive season and the year end, the city has witnessed an upsurge in Covid cases. Last year, the entire festive season in the city had gone by amid lockdown restrictions due to Covid. Three deaths due to Covid have been recorded in December so far in Delhi. Seven deaths were reported in November, four in October and five in September. The number of Covid cases recorded in Delhi so far has reached 14,42,197. Meanwhile, 14.16 lakh patients have recovered from the disease. The number of active cases in Delhi has also breached the 500-mark for the first time in over four months. The city currently has 540 active cases, including 225 in home isolation. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday had said the state government is ready to tackle the Omicron variant. “Delhi is unlikely to face another wave of infections since according to the sero survey conducted by the Delhi government, 96% of the state population was found to have antibodies and a majority of them were vaccinated,” Kejriwal had said. Amid the jump in cases, doctors said people should avoid all gatherings and follow Covid-appropriate behaviours, else the pandemic situation may worsen given the highly transmissible nature of Omicron. Health experts felt a sense of complacency has again crept in among a large section of citizens. refreshing Mahua drink is passé, try cake and laddoo Giving dIgnity to women M U K E S H R A N JA N @ Ranchi PUNIA Xalxo, 31, from Susai Maria Toli under Mandar Block in Ranchi earlier used to brew liquor from Mahua at her home to support her family But now, . she has started making laddoos and cakes out of the very Mahua. Torang Trust trains tribal women to make laddoos out of the Mahua flower, instead of using it to brew liquor. Notably, Mahua is a tree found in abundance in the forests of Jharkhand. Despite health benefits and medicinal values, it has become a curse for the tribal society as its flowers are used in almost every tribal village to brew countrymade liquor, leading to drinking menace among the tribal households. Mahua is now being used for making laddoos, cakes, pickles, j e l ly, a n d va r i o u s o t h e r edible products. According to Torang Trust president Vasavi Kiro, the initiative is not only helping tribal women become self-dependent but also helping in the eradication of alcoholism among the tribal society. “Over 1,000 women in four villages under Mandar Block are engaged in collection, processing, production and marketing of laddoo,” she said. A group of 40 women is now making Mahua laddoos, cakes, pickles, jelly, and various other edible products | Express Punia started making Mahuva laddoos in 2017. “Earlier, it was difficult even to fulfill dayto-day household requirements through brewery business, but after I started making laddoos from Mahua, my income has increased manifold,” she says. It has not only made her selfdependent, but has also relieved her from the ogling and comments by men coming to her house for drinking liquor, she says. She is also inspiring other women to adopt the business and has also trained hundreds of women living in 12 villages in the neighbourhood. Currently a group of 40 women are as, sociated with her in making different products of Mahua like laddoos and earning up to `2 lakh by producing around 500 kg of the sweet. Another woman, Sarojini Minz (45) from Mandar village under the same block, said, “Over the last few years, gradually the demands for Mahua laddoo has increased so much t h at we f i n d i t h a rd t o fulfill it.”
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