tirupati l thursday l february 18, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 12 l anantapur EDITION Petrol price crosses `100/ltr in Rajasthan 60% of the retail cost is govt taxes At `100.13, a litre of petrol was at its costliest in Sriganganagar town of the western state. In Madhya Pradesh, the rate is `99.90 Modi blames predecessors for spike The all-time high price comes weeks after the state slashed 2% VAT on fuel. Still, at 36% after the rate cut, Rajasthan’s levy is the highest in India. Diesel in Sriganganagar is at `92.13. Central and state taxes make up for as much as 60% of the retail price of petrol and over 54% of diesel. The Centre levies `32.90 a litre as excise duty on petrol ■ Petrol rates have risen by `19.95 a litre since mid-March ’20, after Centre hiked levy to benefit from the fall in international prices ■ PM Modi said if previous regimes had focused on reducing India’s energy dependence, global fluctuations wouldn’t have hurt the middle-class. India imported 85% of fuel in the last financial year `91.45 petrol price in chennai. In Mumbai, it’s `96, Delhi `89.54, Kolakata `90.78 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 FIR says toolkit part of plot to damage India Panchayat poll results@ a glance 1,800 1,622 44 125 Results declared YSRC sympathisers won 74 of 89 gram panchayats in Kuppam Assembly constituency represented by TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu No names of accused in it; Nikita Jacob gets three-week advance bail from HC G ayat h r i M a n i a n d S u d h i r S u r ya w a n s h i @New Delhi/Mumbai An accidentally-leaked toolkit Google doc was not just meant to amplify the ongoing farmers protest, it also contained a detailed plan and was part of a larger conspiracy to wage an economic, social, cultural and regional war against India, if one were to go by the first information report (FIR) the Delhi Police filed on February 4. The FIR does not name any of the accused, including activists Disha Ravi, Shantanu Muluk and Nikita Jacob, but Disha’s arrest and the subsequent actions are on its basis. Disha’s advocate got access to the FIR on Wednesday . The toolkit accidentally shared by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg said: “On 26th January a major day , of globally coordinated actions. Show your support at local and physical locations wherever you are. Either find protests happening in your city state, country and partici, pate in large or small numbers or organise one. You are encouraged to organise solidarity protests either near Indian embassies, near your local government offices.” The FIR also states that the January 26 violence was part of a ‘pre-planned conspiracy’ executed by the Pro-Khalistani Poetic Justice Foundation (PJF). “A perusal of the said document reveals that it was promoting campaign material by Poetic Justice Foundation (PJF), a Canada-based organization that openly and deliberately shared posts on social YSRC backed candidates YSRC rebels Kuppam result, however, does not surprise us much as we were expecting it. It can be, in fact, viewed as voters giving their mandate to Jagan Mohan Reddy and his governance rather than a drubbing of Chandrababu Naidu —K Kanna Babu, Agriculture Minister media to create disharmony and enmity hatred and ill-will , among different religious, cultural and regional groups,” the FIR states. Various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) like 123 A, 153, 153A and 120B pertaining to sedition, hatching criminal conspiracy and creating disharmony or enmity ill-will , between different groups religious, regional and social groups have been invoked. Meanwhile, Mumbai-based advocate Nikita Jacob was given three-week transit anticipa- Khalistani outfit’s footprint visible The FIR mentions the name of the proscribed pro-Khalistani organisation Sikh for Justice (SFJ), which announced cash rewards of $2.5 lakh for anyone hoisting a seditious flag at India Gate on January 26. “The banned organisation also made provocative and seditious appeals to people,” the FIR says tory bail by the Bombay High Court on Wednesday . While passing the bail order, Justice P D Naik cited the Aurangabad bench order that gave advance bail to another accused Shantanu Muluk, while adding: “It would not be appropriate to make any observations on the merits of the case.” The Delhi Police claim that Disha Ravi and Nikita Jacob were editors of the toolkit created by Shantanu Muluk. K a n u S a r d a @ New Delhi Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy takes part in Rajasyamala Yagam at Sri Sarada Peetham in Vizag on Wednesday | Express Priya Ramani MJ Akbar as guaranteed in Indian Constitution under Article 21 and right of equality before law and equal protection of law as guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution.” The court accepted Ramani’s contention that Akbar wasn’t a man of stellar reputation. In its 91-page verdict, Congress sweeps Punjab civic polls, BJP gets zilch As expected, the ruling Congress swept the civic polls in Punjab held in the backdrop of a prolonged farmers’ protests being supported by it. The Shiromani Akali Dal came a distant second and the BJP last, with the main opposition AAP faring well below its expectations. The civic polls were held barely a year ahead of the Assembly polls. The Congress swept seven municipal corporations in the state as it bagged Hoshiarpur, K a p u r t h a l a , A b o h a r, Pathankot, Batala, Moga and Bathinda. It was after decades that the party wrested the Bathinda civic body from the Akali Dal. The results of Mohali Municipal Corporation will be declared on Thursday . Bathinda Lok Sabha constituency is represented by former Union minister Harsimrat Badal of SAD, which broke off from the NDA last year over the new farm laws. Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh said the victory was due to its “progressive policies”. chayats. However, this time, it trounced the TDP by winning more than 80 per cent of the In a major setback to the op- panchayats. position TDP, the YSRC on Several TDP backed candiWednesday swept the third dates lost deposits and YSRC phase of gram panchayat elec- supporters romped home victions also, including in Kup- torious in the panchayats in pam Assembly constituency -- the four mandals of Gudipalli, the home turf of Kuppam, RamakupOpposition leader N pam and ShanChandrababu Naidu. tipuram. The TDP YSRC sympathishad a record of winers won 74 of the 89 ning a majority in The third phase panchayats in KupKuppam over a long polls showed that pam that went to polls period as Naidu has the bastion of Wednesday, denting been representing Naidu has been the TDP’s confidence the segment for over dented. When he further and Naidu’s lost in Chandragiri, three decades. he went to claims of a strong Commenting on showing by the party Kuppam. Now, he the disastrous perin the first two phas- may search for an formance of the TDP alternative in es. The TDP could in Kuppam, AgriculTelangana or win in just 14 panchature Minister K KanAndamans yats while the countna Babu said the ing was going on for Kanna Babu, Minister third phase polls two other panchayats clearly showed that when reports last the bastion of Naidu came in. Though there are 93 has been dented. “This result, panchayats in Kuppam, only however, does not surprise us 89 went to polls. much as we were expecting The YSRC made significant them. It can be, in fact, viewed inroads into Naidu’s bastion as voters giving their mandate by reversing the results of the to Jagan Mohan Reddy and his panchayat elections held in gover nance rather than a 2013. The YSRC, in 2013 elec- drubbing of Naidu,’’ Kanna P5 tions, won just 12 of the 93 pan- Babu observed. E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Vijayawada AP will pressurise Centre against VSP privatisation: CM E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Visakhapatnam Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Wednesday said, if necessary, the State Assembly would pass a resolution in the ensuing Budget session to exert pressure on the Centre to stop privatisation of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP). Jagan, who arrived in the city to participate in the anniversary celebrations of Sri Sarada Peetham, held a meet- the court said, “It cannot be ignored that most of the time, the offence of sexual harassment and sexual abuse (was) committed in the close doors or privately. Sometimes the victims herself does not understand what is happening to them or what is happening to them is wrong. Despite how well respected some persons are in the society they in their , personal lives, could show extreme cruelty to females.” The court took note of the systematic abuse at the workplace due to lack of grievance redressal mechanisms at the time Priya Ramani and wit- harvest of success H a r p r ee t B a j w a @ Chandigarh 6 BJP-Jana Sena Party combine TDP could win in just 14 panchayats Several TDP backed candidates lost deposits and YSRC supporters romped home victorious in the panchayats in the four mandals of Gudipalli, Kuppam, Ramakuppam and Shantipuram of Kuppam Assembly constituency ending the dominance of Telugu Desam ing with the representatives of 14 employees’ unions of the VSP, which formed into Visakha Ukku Parirakshana Committee, during which he explained at length the efforts of his government to stop privatisation of the steel plant. In the meeting that lasted for more than an hour, the Chief Minister made it amply clear that the plant comes under the purview of the Centre and the State government has no role in its privatisation. “Keeping Delhi court chucks Akbar’s defamation suit Stressing that women cannot be punished for raising their voice against sexual a buse, a Delhi court on Wednesday acquitted journalist Priya Ramani in a defamation suit filed by former Union minister M J Akbar contesting her allegations of sexual harassment by him in the past. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ravindra Kumar Pandey said, “The right of reputation cannot be protected at the cost of the right of life and dignity of woman Telugu Desam Party YSRC decimates TDP on home turf of Naidu as it sweeps 3rd phase ness Ghazala Wahab were allegedly sexually harassed. “Time has come for society to understand sexual abuse and harassment and its implications on the victim,” the court said, adding most women do not speak about it because of social stigma. “This judgment is a validation of the stand taken by us and all women during the #Metoo campaign,” Ramani’s lawyer Rebecca John later said. Ramani had in 2018 made allegations of sexual harassment against Akbar in w a ke o f t h e # M e To o movement. POSCO may not come to Vizag, says Jagan “I requested representatives of POSCO to explore setting up of a steel plant in Kadapa, Krishnapatnam or Bhavanapadu in the State. It is wrong to say that POSCO is making all out efforts to come to Vizag. Its representatives visited Krishnapatnam on Tuesday, CM Jagan said. in view the circumstances that led to the setting up of the plant at Visakhapatnam, we are trying to exert pressure on the Centre to stop its privatisation,’’ he said. Stating that he had already written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the steps that needed to be taken for revival of the plant, Jagan explained that the VSP is incurring an additional expenditure of `4,000 per tonne due to lack a captive iron ore mine. “We TTD fixes Kalyanamastu muhurtham on May 28 E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Tirumala The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) pundits have fixed three auspicious dates in 2021 for the conduct of Kalyanamastu mass marriage programme, which include May 28, October 30 and November 17. Announcing this here on Wednesday, TTD Executive Officer KS Jawahar Reddy said the Kalyanamastu programme is meant for poor families which cannot afford marriage expenses of their children. The TTD successfully implemented six phases of Kalyanamastu from 2007 to 2011 as part of the Sanatana Hindu Dharma Pracharam programme. Hundreds of prospective brides and bridegrooms hailing from poor families got married with the implementation of Kalyanamastu. The TTD Trust Board under the chairmanship of YV Subba Reddy, decided to relaunch Kalyanamastu at its last meeting and asked pundits P4 to fix muhurtham for it. have urged the PM to allocate a captive mine in Odisha to the VSP as the neighbouring State has ample iron ore deposits. The Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL) has five iron mines in Odisha and their lease period has expired. The RINL has 51 per cent share in the mines, while the LIC, Centre and OMDC hold the remaining shares. We have to make efforts to see that RINL gets iron ore from the mines with the renewal of its lease,” Jagan said. P4 express read Three armymen held for bid to kidnap minor Srinagar: Three armymen have been arrested for allegedly attempting to abduct a minor girl in Kashmir’s Bandipora. While the Army remained tightlipped, the police confirmed the arrests but refused to identify the personnel. The bid to kidnap the 8-year old was made when she was returning home after tuitions on February 10. SSP Bandipora Rahul Malik said investigations were on. However, he refused to reveal the identities the three men Tsitsipas stuns Nadal in five-set thriller c a b i n et s t a m p DMs to approve adoption, ease bottleneck S u m i S u k a n ya D u t ta @ New Delhi The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved a key change in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 to authorise district magistrates to validate adoptions. The decision is meant to address the rather slow in-country adoptions in India, as hundreds of prospective parents are forced to wait for years to adopt orphaned or abandoned children. As of now, prospective adoptive parents are re- quired to go to civil or family courts to get the final go-ahead after all formalities are over. However, with pendency high in civil and family courts, it is not easy to get a date for hearing, said officials in the Central Adoption Resource Agency under the Union women and child development ministry . Government figures show that 2,160 adoptions took place in India in 2020-21 but officials pointed out that about 1,000 adoption cases are pending in courts at any given time. “Though the JJ law mandates that courts have to dispose of adoption cases within two months from the date of filing of application, it rarely happens,” said an official. “The parameters for appointing CWC members Defining eligibility parameters for appointment of child welfare committee members, and categorising previously undefined offences as “serious offence” are some of the other aspects of the proposal latest amendment will clear these major hindrances in the way of children reaching their adoptive families.” As per the norms, orphaned and abandoned children are required to be declared legally free for adoption within two months in the case of a child up to the age of two years and within four months in case of a child above the age of two years, after following due procedure. Further, surrendered children are required to be declared legally free for adoption after two months, called reconsideration period, from the date of surrender of the child. Stefanos Tsitsipas came back from two sets down to beat Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinal of the Australian Open. The five setter scoreline read 3-6, 2-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4, 7-5 I AFP
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