FREE PRESS Regd. No. Indore MP/ICD 216/2021-2023 INDORE BHOPAL UJJAIN MUMBAI PUNE - VOL. 10 NO. 244 | BHOPAL | THURSDAY | FEBRUARY 18, 2021 | PAGES 12 COVID 'HUMAN BARRICADE' TO KEEP CASES UNDER CONTROL: EXPERTS Pg-7 EDIT INTER-FAITH MARRIAGES: SC refuses to stay conversion law SUPPORT TO FARM STIR WINS CONG PUNJAB CIVIC POLLS Pg- 6 ALLOWS MP, HP to be made party. Jamiat Ulema-I Hind claims harassment of Muslims to become a party AGENCIES New Delhi Court Supreme The Wednesday permitted an NGO to make Himachal Madhya and Pradesh Pradesh as parties to a pending petition challenging the controversial state laws regulating conversions due to inter-faith marriages. A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde also allowed Muslim body Jamiat Ulema-I-Hind to become a party to the petition on the ground that a large number of Muslims are being harassed under these laws . across the country The apex court on January 6 had agreed to examine controversial new laws of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand regulating religious conversions due to The Uttarakhand law entails 2-year jail term to any person or persons found guilty of religious conversion through force or 'allurement'. interfaith marriages. The bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, however refused to stay the controversial provisions of the laws and issued notices to both the state governments on the petitions. The pleas, filed by advocate Vishal Thakre and others and an NGO 'Citizens for Justice and Peace', have challenged the Constitutional validity of the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Ordinance, 2020 and the Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018 which regulate religious conversions of interfaith During the marriages. brief hearing, senior advocate C U Singh appeared for the NGO and sought impleadment of Himachal Madhya and Pradesh Pradesh as parties saying they have also framed laws on the lines of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The controversial UP ordinance was cleared by the state Cabinet and given asGovernor by cent As fuel prices shoot up, minister advises people to ride bicycle Dewas MP, too, makes strange statements OUR STAFF REPORTER BHOPAL News Brief Two more bodies found in Tapovan tunnel, toll 58 TAPOVAN: Two more bodies were recovered early Tuesday from the Tapovan tunnel where efforts were underway on the 10th consecutive day to reach workers feared trapped inside after a flash flood in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district. The confirmed death toll in the Chamoli disaster has now mounted to 58 and another 148 people are missing, an official said. Eleven of the bodies were recovered from the tunnel at the NTPC's TapovanVishnugad project site, where about 30 people were initially feared trapped. Pak unlikely to exit 'grey' list of FATF untill June ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is unlikely to exit the Financial Action Task Force's 'grey' list until June, despite its efforts to garner support from the member nations ahead of the plenary meeting of the global terror financing and money laundering watchdog next week, according to a media report on Wednesday. The FATF's Plenary and Working Group meetings, scheduled to be held from February 21 to 26 in Paris, is all set to decide on Pakistan's grey list status. The prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas are going through the roof. Nevertheless, as the BJP leaders have failed to justify the hike, they have begun to put up strange arguments. Energy minister Pradhuman Singh Tomar said in Gwalior on Wednesday because the prices of petrol are shooting up, people should use bicycles. The fuel prices are fixed on the ground of its cost in the international market, he said, adding that one should ride a bicycle to go to market for buying vegetables. Riding a bicycle saves money and is also good for health, he said. Earlier, Member of Parliament from Dewas, Mahendra Solanki, said as the prices of petroleum products were rising people’s incomes were also going up. Congress spokesperson Vibha Patel said instead of giving advice to people, the minister should ride a bicycle and ask his wife to use a country-made stove to make chapattis. The minister will be able , to understand the reality she said, adding that while Central and state governments are collecting taxes from common man, the minister is giving advice to people. The Congress has called for a half-day closure of the state on February 20 to protest the rising prices of essential commodities. THEFT IN VVIP AREA Anandiben Patel on November 28. The ordinance relates to not only inter-faith marriages but all religious conversions and lays down elaborate procedures for any person who wishes to convert to another religion. The Uttarakhand law entails two-year jail term to any person or persons found guilty of religious conversion through force or "allurement". The allurement can be in cash, in kind of employment, or material benefit. Thakre and others in their plea have said that they are aggrieved by the ordinance which curtails the fundamental rights of the citizens of India which has been provided in the Constitution. CONTD. ON P8 Court acquits Ramani in Akbar's defamation case NEW DELHI: A Delhi court Wednesday acquitted journalist Priya Ramani in M J Akbar's criminal defamation case against her over the allegations of sexual harassment, saying a woman has the right to put grievances before any platform of her choice even after decades. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ravindra Kumar Pandey dismissed the complaint filed by Akbar saying that no charges were proved against her. The court said it is shameful that crimes against women are taking place in a country where mega epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana were written about respecting them. The court asked Ramani to furnish a bail bond of Rs 10,000 in case an appeal is preferred against the order. WEATHER 30.30c. 16.20c Sunrise : 06.57 Sunset : 06.24 THOUGHT FOR THE DAY One who has awakened the propensity to love God within the heart can achieve real peace. ADITI RAO HYDARIAND KONKONA SEN TO STAR IN NETFLIX’S NEXT? Pg-12 Cabinet hikes financial powers of commanders AGENCIES New Delhi For faster processing and implementation of projects of modernisation for armed forces to meet the security the challenges, Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved enhanced delegation of financial powers under capital procurement to deputy chiefs and command chiefs of the armed forces. The Cabinet approved enhanced delegation of financial powers under capital procurement to levels below the vice chiefs. As per the approval, under other capital procurement procedure of Defence ProcedureAcquisition 2020, financial powers up to Rs 100 crore have been delegated to the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (army), the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (navy), the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (IAF) at the command level of the three services, and the regional commanders of the Indian Coast Guard. Powers up to Rs 200 crore has been delegated to the Deputy COAS, the Master Sustenance General (Army), the Chief of Material (Navy), the Air Officer Maintenance (IAF), the Dy Chief of Integrated Defence Staff and ADG , Coast Guard. CONTD. ON P8 Sidhi accident toll 51 4 MORE BODIES fished out; three still missing OUR STAFF REPORTER BHOPAL The toll in Tuesday’s Sidhi bus accident has increased to 51 and three are still missing till Wednesday evening. The Sidhi police have arrested the driver of the ill-fated bus. The bus, heading for Satna from Sidhi, had skidded off the narrow road adjacent to the Bansagar canal on Tuesday and fallen into the , water. On Tuesday rescue work was on till the evening hours, but, as night fell and it grew dark, the rescue operations were put on hold. , On the day 47 bodies had been fished out. Beginning in the early hours of Wednes, day I-G, Rewa, Umesh Joga, and the DIG conducted a joint operation covering 10 km of the canal area. As the searchand-rescue operations started again, 4 more bodies were fished out, including that of a five-month-old girl. Two bodies were fished out from within the limits of Sidhi district, while two bodies had been swept away by current and had reached Rewa district. - His Holiness Radhanath Swami Maharaj CM meets kin of victims, pays Rs 7L ex gratia to each Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan reached Sidhi on Wednesday and paid a visit to the victims’ families to console them. The chief minister distributed cheques of Rs 7 lakh as ex gratia amount to the family members. Chouhan made a night halt at Sidhi and took a total report of the incident from the officials. The chief minister MPRDC divisional manager, AGM and reached Rampur Nanki manager responsible for maintenance village and met the of roads have been suspended with family members of the immediate effect along with Sidhi RTO three-yeardeceased old, Atharv Gupta, who died along with his mother, Pinkey Gupta. The family requested the chief minister to get the highway properly constructed and repaired. They also said that, if the road had been in good shape, this accident would not have happened. The CM visited the CHC and inquired after the health of the victims of the accident admitted there. CONTD. ON P8 Bus driver arrested The I-G said that the driver of the bus, Balendru Vishwarkarma, had been arrested on Tuesday evening. The driver claimed that his driving licence had been swept away by the canal water, but another copy was kept in Rewa. A police team has headed for Rewa to recover the licence copy. TRANSPORT COMMISSIONER has displayed the same insensitivity as his minister OUR STAFF REPORTER BHOPAL Minister Chief Singh Shivraj has Chounan shown compassion to the family members of those who lost their lives in the bus accident in . Sidhi on Tuesday On the other hand, the transport AGENCIES New Delhi OUR STAFF REPORTER BHOPAL Even manned bungalows of ministers are not safe in state capital. In a daring act, thieves struck at the bungalow of a cabinet minister and made away with a TV set on Tuesday night. Thieves barged into official residence of Minister for tribal welfare Meena Singh in 74-Bungalow area, which houses ministers and senior bureaucrats. The incident has raised questions on the government’s tall claims of safety and security in the state. The theft was noticed by Yamunaprasad Jogi, who lives with his family in a servant quarter on the bungalow premises. Jogi’s daughter had gone with the minister, while his wife Anita and son Nitin were in their quarter when the theft occurred. On Wednesday morning when Jogi went inside the bungalow to perform pooja, he found the household items scattered and the LED set missing. Jogi informed the security officials and later lodged a complaint with TT Nagar Sub-Inspector police. Suneel Raghuvanshi said the accused had entered the house from rearside as the gate there was not locked. The S-I said that statements of Jogi and his family members have been taken and search has been launched to nab the culprits. This is not the first theft in 74-Bungalow area as earlier thieves had stolen sandalwood trees from the bungalow of MLA Jitu Patwari, a few months ago. lover Salim, on April 14/15 night in 2008. Both were awarded death sentences by the District and Sessions Court on July 14, 2010. Shabnam and Salim had challenged the lower court’s verdict in the Supreme Court but did not get any reprieve. Her death sentence was upheld by the apex court also. Later, both had sent a mercy petition to the President but it was rejected, too. After ten years of the pronouncement of death sentence, all doors for review and mercy are shut. The Mathura Jail administration is merely waiting for a fresh death warrant order to hang Shabnam and Salim to death. Shabnam is currently lodged in Bareilly jail while Salim is in Agra jail. , Incidentally Mathura jail is the only prison in the country with facilities for hanging of female prisoners. It was established by Britishers in 1870 with special provisions of a hanging house for women prisoners. A senior jail officer claimed that they have made all arrangements for her hanging. “We have placed an order for the rope and are waiting for a fresh death warrant to execute her,” he said. The gruesome murders of seven members are still fresh in the minds of peo- Confusion prevails There is still confusion over the number of passengers who were in the bus. It was earlier claimed that a total of 63 people had boarded the vehicle, but, just before the accident, three of them had alighted from the bus. But now, it is being claimed that there were 60 passengers in the bus. Despite info about tragedy, TC left for Jaipur minister and the commissioner of the department are not at all serious about the accident in which 51 people died. Even after getting information , about the accident on Tuesday transport commissioner Mukesh Jain left for Jaipur to hold discussions with his counterpart in Rajasthan on . Wednesday The proposed discussions with the Rajasthan transport commissioner seemed to be more im. portant to Jain than the bus tragedy The meeting was for inter-state Burglars break into minister’s UGC to univs: Encourage students bungalow, decamp with TV set to take exam on 'cow science' SHE HAD AXED TO DEATH seven of her family members in collusion with her lover in 2008 She will be the first woman convict in independent India to face the gallows. The Mathura jail administration has started preparations for hanging Shabnam, who had axed to death seven of her family members, along with her Quality at Value www.freepressjournal.in University The CommisGrants sion (UGC) has asked vice-chancellors of varsities across the country to 'encourage' students to take an online voluntary national-level exam to test their knowledge on 'Gau vigyan' (cow science). Vigyan Gau 'Kamdhenu The Prachar-Prasar Examination', for which there is no registration fee, will be held on February 25, and students from primary, secondary and senior-secondary schools as well as colleges can take the test being conducted by the Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog (RKA). Besides them, anyone from general public can also take the hour-long multiple choice question-based exam that will be held in 11 regional languages and English. The commission was constituted by the govern- ment for conservation, preservation, protection and development of cows. The exam on February 25 aims to curiosity 'infuse into all Indians about cows and make them aware of the unexplored potential and business opportunities a cow can offer, even after it stops giving milk", the RKA had said in its notification for the exam on January 5. University Grants Commission (UGC) secretary Rajnish Jain in a letter to vice-chancellors said that "you are aware the Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, government of India, established in February 2019, has been working on dissemination of information on economic, scientific, environmental, health, agriculture and spiritual relevance of indigenous cow in the country". CONTD. ON P8 Shabnam will be first woman to be hanged post-Independence SARWAN SHUKLA Lucknow `3 RNI No. mpeng/2010/35815 ple in Amroha. On April 14/15 2008 night, Shabnam, along with boyfriend Salim, had axed to death her father Shaukat, mother Hashmi, brothers Anees and Rashid, sister Rabia and sister in law Anjum. She did not spare even her nephew Arsh whom she strangled to death. Both committed these murders as the family was against their love affair. They were arrested by the Amroha Police on murder charges. Hangman-in-waiting Meerut-based hangman Pawan Jallad is ready to execute the death warrant of Shabnam and Salim in Mathura jail. Pawan had inspected Mathura jail's hanging house six months ago and found it in a dilapidated state. He had even got the wooden platform and lever repaired. Pawan claims that he is ready for the task at hand and waiting for a call from the authorities. agreement on transport services between MP and Rajasthan, which could have been put off. Transport minister Govind Singh Rajput’s insensitivity to the tragedy came to light when he not only took part in a feast but also laughed aloud at a time when the bodies of passengers were being fished out. According to the permission that Jain took from the administration, he had to go to Jaipur through Gwalior . on Tuesday CONTD. ON P8 Rail roko stir today: Tikait AGENCIES New Delhi The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait on Wednesday announced that the farmer groups protesting against the Centre's new farm laws will be holding a 'rail roko' (railway blockade) across the country on Thurs. day The protest will be staged from 12 pm to 4 pm. Speaking to IANS, Tikait said the Centre has not been permitting many trains to ply for the last eight months despite the fact that many other curbs were removed after people faced difficulties. The BKU leader said the people from their villages will also take part in the protest, adding that arrangements have been made for the children travelling by the trains. Rlys deploys 20 additional RPF companies: The railways has deployed 20 additional companies of the RPSF across the country, with focus on Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, in the wake of the "rail roko" called on Thursday by farmer groups protesting against the Centre's new agri laws. Bengal minister injured in bomb attack at rly stn BAHARAMPUR West Bengal minister Jakir Hossain was seriously injured after unidentified attackers hurled bombs at him in Nimtita railway station in Murshidabad district on Wednesday night, police said. At least two other persons who were with him were also injured in the incident. Hossain, the minister of state for labour, was waiting at platform no 2 of the station to catch a train to Kolkata at around 10 pm when he was attacked, a senior police officer of West Bengal Police told PTI. The MLA of Jangipur in Murshidabad district and the two other injured persons were taken to Jangipur Subdivisional Hospital, he said. Assembly election is due in West Bengal in April-May this year.