CHENNAI TUESDAY JUNE 23, 2020 `7.00 PAGES 16 LATE CITY EDITION IN U-TURN, SUPREME COURT GREEN-LIGHTS RATH YATRA Four days after it stayed the Puri Rath Yatra due to Covid-19, the top court on Monday let it proceed with restrictions PUBLIC BARRED FROM PARTICIPATING Monday’s decision by the Supreme Court follows assurances from the Centre and the Odisha government that all Covid-19 precautions will be followed during the event. “In Puri, we will impose a curfew, the yatra will be held only by the servitors. We won’t allow public participation,” an advocate appearing for the Odisha government told the apex court | P5 ■ 5,160 CHARIOT FESTIVAL ONLY IN PURI ■ ■ SC directed the Odisha government to ensure each Rath would be pulled by less than 500 people, all tested negative for Covid-19 A curfew has been imposed in Puri. People have been told not to step out of their homes when the chariot procession takes place The festival will be held only in Puri and no other parts of Odisha IS THE TOTAL CONFIRMED COVID-19 CASES IN ODISHA AS OF MONDAY CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOGGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ WARANGAL ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI Over 10-hour meeting of Shankar murder: Prime accused acquitted Corps Commanders ends H A R I S H M U R A L I @ Chennai No information on talks outcome yet; Army chief plans to visit to Leh this week; Chinese commander too died in the June 15 face-off Manmohan assails Modi, Nadda hits back at ex-PM EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi An Indian fighter jet flies over a mountain range near Leh in Ladakh, where forces have been given a free hand to respond to Chinese aggression on the border | AFP M AYA N K S I N G H A N D P U S H K A R B A N A K A R @ New Delhi A marathon meeting of Corps Commanders of India and China got wrapped up late on Monday night, indicating the intricacies involved in the border negotiations along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). There was no immediate word on its outcome. Also, the Indian Army decided to harden its stance on deployments along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh. “The over 10-hour-long meeting Lt General Harinder Singh, head of Leh-based 14 Corps, had with Major General Lin Liu, commander of the People’s Liberation Army in South Xinjiang region, ended around 10 pm,” a senior officer informed. The meeting was called to defuse tensions along the border, which soared after the June 15 attack on Indian soldiers by Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley . Sources said now the Army is also preparing to strengthen its defences, with senior officers from the Operations Branch visiting Leh in quick succession. Army Chief General M M Naravane is likely to make a trip to Leh next week to take stock of the situation on the ground, said another source. The Annual Ar my Commanders Conference in Delhi on Monday extensively discussed the stand-off and the way forward. Further discussions are expected on Tuesday in the presence of the Army chief and the vice chief. While troops of 3 Division of the Army are directly handling the stand-off, they are strongly supported by troops of two other divisions. Also, the Indo Tibetan Border Police has been put into standby, informed sources. While India has been open about its fatalities (20) in the deadly fight in the Galwan area on June 15, China continues to play ostrich. Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian on Monday said he had no information about PLA casualties, a day after Union minister and former Army Chief General V K Singh revealed that at least 40 Chinese soldiers, too, were killed. Among the PLA fatalities was its local commander, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is learnt to have told the all-party meeting called by the prime minister on Friday. As for Colonel B Santosh Babu, the local Indian commander, he was killed in action after sustaining head injury he added. , Hu Xijin, editor in chief of Global Times, the Chinese government’s mouthpiece, is the only one who has acknowledged Chinese fatalities so far. “My understanding is the Chinese side doesn’t want people of the two countries to compare the casualties number so to avoid stoking public mood. This is goodwill from Beijing,” he tweeted last week. IT’S TIME FOR RIC DIPLOMACY The next diplomatic push could come from the virtual Russia, India, China (RIC) foreign ministers’ conference that begins today. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar was not keen on sharing space with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi but was persuaded by Russia to relent. Russia has taken a cautious and measured approach to the LAC situation and urged both sides to resolve disputes through dialogue | P7 Panic in bus as passenger gets Covid test results N I R U PA S A M PAT H @ Cuddalore IT was supposed to be a ‘secret operation’. Cuddalore officials called Ravi (name changed) to inform him that he had tested positive, and realised that he was in a public bus, travelling home after visiting a relative on Monday . They had to be discreet so as FORMER prime minister Manmohan Singh on Monday advised his successor Narendra Modi to always be mindful of the implications of his words in the Chinese context, drawing a sharp retort from BJP chief J P Nadda. Singh told Modi that China should not be allowed to use his words as a vindication of their position. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, too, wondered why China was praising the PM. Singh’s remarks came after the PM during an all-party meeting last week — following the killing of 20 Indian soldiers by Chinese troops in Galwan in Ladakh on June 15 — said, “neither has anyone entered Indian territory nor is anyone present , in Indian territory currently, and nor is any Indian post captured.” Singh pressed on, saying: “We remind the government that disinformation is no substitute for diplomacy or decisive leadership. The truth cannot be suppressed by having pliant allies spout comforting but false statements.” However, Nadda pounced on Singh, accusing that under his watch China illegally occupied vast tracts of land besides launching not less than 600 incursions across the Line of Actual Control (LAC). “Dear Dr. Singh and Congress Party, Please stop insulting our forces repeatedly, questioning their valour. You did this post the air strikes (Balakot) and surgical strikes. Please understand the true meaning of national unity , especially in such times. It’s never too late to improve,” Nadda tweeted. Rahul Gandhi added to the Twitter war, saying: “China killed our soldiers. China took our land. Then, why is China praising Mr Modi during this conflict.” He tagged a news report in the Chinese media that lauded Modi’s concluding address during an all-party meeting on the Ladakh situation. not to spook other passengers, but also ensure Ravi is quickly taken away to a hospital in isolation. The official at the other end of the phone line decided the best thing to do would be to talk to the conductor. Ravi passed the phone on to the conductor, and hell broke loose. Once the conductor was A division bench of the Madras High Court on Monday acquitted the prime accused, B Chinnasamy, father of Kausalya, in the sensational 2016 Udumalpet Shankar’s socalled honour killing case. The court also set aside the death sentence awarded to five convicts, reducing it to life imprisonment with a minimum of 25 years without any right for remission. Flagging several serious lapses in the police investigation and prosecution, the court said the prosecution was unable to prove the “charge of a conspiracy of the prime accused beyond any reasonable doubt”. A division bench comprising justices M Sathyanarayanan and M Nirmal Kumar in its 311-page judgment also confirmed the Tirupur District Sessions court’s acquittal of Kausalya’s mother C Annalakshmi and maternal uncle P Pandidurai. The HC ordered that all those imprisoned in the case who were now acquitted should be released immediately unless their custody was required in connection with any other case. C Emiliyas, additional advocate general who appeared for the case, told Express that the State would move the Supreme Court against the HC order as even the prime accused had been acquitted. NEPAL GANDAK BARRAGE GANDAK RIVER UP BIHAR Bihar flood threat as Nepal stops repair of embankment R A J E S H K U M A R T H A K U R @ Patna REPAIR works on the embankments of a border barrage, traditionally carried out by India on both sides, have been blocked for the first time by Nepal, leading to anxiety in Bihar. Barricades have been put up by NeBig worry, pal to prevent the entry of men, materials says minister and machinery from the Indian side to The embankment repair its embankments. Nepal’s aggression comes a week after protects Dhaka it put out a new map showing three terand other areas ritories in Uttarakhand as belonging to it. of East Sources said, the repair works of the Champaran from Gandak barrage, being done by Bihar’s flood. Bihar’s Water Resource Department, have been water resource going on for a long time. But on June 15, minister said if repair is not done the Nepal Armed Border Force reached the spot and halted the works. The adminon time, north istration alerted the state government. Bihar would face Bihar’s water resource minister Sanjay a deluge. Kumar Jha confirmed the development on Monday “This is the first time that Nepal has placed a . barrier to stop movement of material, men and machinery from the Indian side,” Jha said, adding the Ministry of External Affairs has been being apprised of the situation. “The Gandak Barrage has 36 gates, half of which fall on our side. Repair of these has been completed. However, when we tried to cross over to the other side to repair the remaining 18 gates, maintenance of which is carried out by us, we found the barricades,” Jha said. informed that Ravi was positive, he realised that he had just taken the phone from the infected man. He couldn’t control his emotions anymore. The secret was out in the open, and around 15 passengers who were in the bus — instead of waiting to get checked — literally broke into a run for their lives. Now, officials are trying to track down the 15 missing passengers. Speaking to Express, officials say that Ravi, a Tuberculosis patient, was supposed to have quarantined himself at home after undergoing the test. Instead, he seemed to have travelled around quite a P4 bit. Kausalya, who belongs to the socially dominant Thevar community, had mar ried Shankar, a Dalit youth of Udumalpet in Tirupur district, in 2015. On March 13, 2016, the couple was brutally attacked by a three-member gang near Udumalpet town bus stand. Shankar, only 22 at the time, succumbed to his injuries while 19-year-old Kausalya survived. On December 12, 2017, the Tirupur district sessions court awarded six people, including Chinnasamy, the death sentence for murdering Shankar. Three others, including Annalakshmi, Pandithurai and a 16-year-old relative, were acquitted, while two others received lower punishments. While the six sentenced to death appealed against the verdict, State also moved the high court against the acquittal of Annalakshmi and others. In its detailed order on Monday the HC said that the pros, ecution had failed to link the circumstances which would have established ChinnaP2 samy’s guilt. Acquitting my father is gross injustice done to Shankar. I will fight till justice is done Kausalya, victim’s wife We submitted evidences, including the call records of the accused, but they were all overlooked C Emiliyas, AAG Transporters hit as fuel cost goes North, jacks up freight rates that the increase in freight prices have been “nowhere MONDAY marked the sixteenth close” to the over 20% rise in straight day of fuel price hikes diesel rates seen over the sumfor Indian consumers, petrol mer in places like Delhi. and diesel rates having surged “We are in a position where by a record `8.30 and `9.46 per we cannot pass on the full imlitre respectively in little over a pact of the fuel hike to consumfortnight. The day’s diesel pric- ers. Prices are a factor of dees reached yet another all-time mand and supply, and both high — `78.85 per litre in New remain very low,” said Naveen Delhi — while petrol Kumar Gupta, secrewas being sold just Livelihood of tary general, All Inshy of the `80 per li20 crore tied dia Motor Transport tre mark at `79.56. to the sector Congress. He also This steep rise is pointed out that since India’s fleet of already having a fuel prices are remarked impact on the commercial trucks vised daily, it was cost of road freight currently stand at very difficult to facover one crore transport. According tor in these changes to S P Singh, senior light, medium and for trips that generheavy duty trucks. ally last over several fellow at the Indian Around 20 crore Foundation of Transdays. people are port Research and “Most transporters dependent on it, Training (IFTRT), are currently runaccording to All truck rental rates ning on huge losses India Motor have increased by as and over 60 per cent much as 10-12 per Transport Congress of the fleet remains cent over the fortidle,” Gupta said. Sinnight beginning June 7. gh agreed: “Current fleet utili“The impact of the fuel price sation is only at around 30-35 hikes have been observed on per cent.” trunk routes pan-India,” he Around 20 crore people are said, adding freight costs had dependent on the commercial already been rising over the truck sector. “Even if we do summer. “Very low demand pass on the entire impact, these meant transporters weren’t 20 crore people will still be afable to get assured return loads fected, since prices of food and and tried to protect their mar- other articles on the ground gins,” he noted. will also increase,” Gupta Transporters say, however, pointed out. CONTINUED ON: P10 J O N AT H A N A N A N D A @ New Delhi THE UPWARD TRAJECTORY Price on June 6 (New Delhi) Price on June 22 (New Delhi) PETROL A71.26 A79.56 0.60 0.60 0.60 0.60 0.54 0.40 0.60 0.57 0.60 0.58 0.45 0.59 0.58 0.64 Jun 10 0.64 0.60 0.63 0.61 Price on June 6 (New Delhi) DIESEL Jun 14 0.33 0.56 0.51 0.35 0.55 0.53 0.60 0.59 0.57 DIESEL PETROL Jun 7 0.59 0.62 0.48 0.47 0.58 Price on June 22 (New Delhi) A69.39 A78.85 Jun 18 Jun 22 2,710 new Covid cases, 37 deaths in Tamil Nadu; Madurai to enter intense lockdown EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai THE State recorded a staggering 2,710 new Covid-19 cases, the highest-ever single day spike, and 37 deaths on Monday . The Statewide tally is 62,087 and the toll, 794. Chennai alone recorded cases 1,487 cases, raising the city’s tally to 42,752. While 66 per cent of new cases were reported from Chennai and its surrounding districts of Kancheepuram, Chengalpattu and Tiruvallur, 34 per cent came from the rest of the State. Madurai led the pack with 153 new Covid patients being added to its tally. As a result, the district and neighbouring areas will be entering a complete lockdown from Wednesday till June 30. Meanwhile, Health Minister C Vijayabaskar, in a televised address, reiterated that the government was not hiding any Ranipet 52 Tirupathur 24 Dharmapuri 2 Salem 23 Erode 2 Tiruchy 51 Nilgiris 2 Coimbatore 11 Karur 4 Tirupur 2 Dindigul 7 Theni 36 Madurai 153 Virudhunagar 5 Tenkasi 20 Kanniyakumari 8 Tiruvallur 120 Vellore 13 Kancheepuram 56 Chennai 1,487 Chengalpattu 126 Tiruvannamalai 130 Villupuram 40 Kallakurichi 13 Cuddalore 50 Perambalur 1 Sivaganga 33 Ariyalur 12 Nagapattinam 14 Tiruvarur 13 Thanjavur 36 Pudukkottai 16 Ramanathapuram 18 Tirunelveli 5 Thoothukudi 57 LOCKED FROM JUNE 24 TO 30 Madurai will be in complete lockdown owing to rise in the number of cases. Essentials will be permitted P4 information related to Covid and had also ramped up testing. “Even Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami took a test and it was negative,” he said, adding that Tamil Nadu, has so far conducted 9,19,204 tests, the highest in the country . The State also tested 25,234 persons on Monday . News of the CM testing negative comes days after a senior private secretary in his office died of Covid. A few of the de- ceased’s contacts at work had also tested positive. Responding to charges levelled by DMK chief M K Stalin, Vijayabaskar said even experts could not predict the disease pattern in coming days. “When such is the situation, Stalin is finding fault with the CM’s reply to a reporter on when the cases will come down. This is not fair,” he asserted. Noting that many doctors and frontline warriors were re- joining duty after contracting and recovering from the virus, he revealed that the dean of the nodal Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital had also tested positive. Referring to epidemiological surveys, he said currently it is taking over 15 days for the number of cases to double in the State. “Earlier it was six-seven days. So, it is an indicator that the State is going in the right direction,” he said.
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