HYDERABAD FRIDAY FEBRUARY 19, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 28 LATE CITY EDITION FARMERS’ RAIL BLOCKADE PEACEFUL TRAINS HALTED AT STATIONS IN FEROZEPUR CAUTIOUS DELHI METRO In Punjab, protesters sat on tracks at many places on the DelhiLudhiana-Amritsar railway route. The Ferozepur division halted trains at stations so that passengers faced less inconvenience during the protest Entry and exit at four metro stations, including at the Tikri border, were shut by the DMRC authorities for nearly four hours in view of the security situation due to a rail blockade. The Tikri Border metro station is near the farmers’ protest site. The entry, exit points were reopened after the four-hour protest ended. Meanwhile, the Delhi Police and paramilitary personnel kept a tight vigil in several parts of the National Capital RESUMED NORMAL OPERATIONS AFTER 4 PM The noon to 4 pm agitation had minimal impact on train services across the country, Indian Railways officials said No untoward incident was reported. Train movement in all the zones resumed normal operations after the agitation. The railways had deployed 20 additional companies of the RPF across the country, especially in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal ELSEWHERE IN THE COUNTRY At least 12 people were detained at Lasur station in Aurangabad after they stopped the Jalna-Mumbai Janshatabdi train ahead of the protest schedule In Rajasthan, the Rewari-Sri Ganganagar special train was cancelled. Apart from this, the protest was largely symbolic with little impact on traffic In Bengaluru, the protest was lowkey but there was a good turnout of protesters in Raichur, Belagavi and Davangere, where some were arrested 25 TRAINS REGULATED DURING THE STIR Farmers leader Rakesh Tikait said there would be no let up in the protest, and urged his colleagues to even be prepared to sacrifice their standing crop 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 BIG SPLASH L 14.25 cr Glenn Maxwell (RCB) Franchises spent big on all-rounders and bowlers at the IPL player auction in Chennai on Thursday L 16.25 cr Chris Morris (RR) L 14 cr Jhye Richardson (PK) L 9.25 cr K Gowtham (CSK) L 15 cr Kyle Jamieson (RCB) L 8 cr Riley Meredith (PK) L 7 cr Moeen Ali (CSK) LIVES CUT SHORT Mystery shrouds death of 2 UP girls, 3rd critical N A M I TA B A J PA I @ Lucknow TWO Dalit girls died while their sister was battling for life at a Kanpur hospital after they were found unconscious, with their hands tied, on their farm in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao district on Wednesday . Police said the three girls were rushed to a community health centre (CHC), where two — aged 13 and 15 — of them were declared dead on arrival. The third girl, aged 17, was referred to the Regency Hospital in Kanpur, where she remains on life CONTINUED ON P7 support. TENDULKAR SON IN MI The last buy at 2021 Player Auction was that of Arjun, the son of Sachin Tendulkar. Mumbai Indians bought the left-arm seamer at his base price of `20 lakhs PACERS ARE THE NEW SEXY Bowlers capable of generating heat (think Ferguson, Bumrah, Nortje, Rabada Archer) have done well in recent seasons. So it was no surprise to see the likes of Meredith -- who touches north of 145 km/ ph easily -- commanding attention. Put Milne (Mumbai) and Richardson (Punjab) in the same bracket. SPECIALIST OPENERS FAIL If recency bias was anything, Alex Hales, who was an inspiration at the Big Bash, should have got a bid. But he didn’t. One reason maybe he doesn’t bowl. Ditto Jason Roy. Liam Livingstone, a six-hitting machine, got a bid but only because he bowls the odd over. TRS leader masterminded lawyers’ ghastly murder, arrested with 2 aides The credibility of the State rests on the investigation of this case. The probe should live up to the expectations of the Bar and the people — TS High Court Soon after intercepting the couple’s car, Chiranjeevi stabbed Nagamani first. Later, Srinu dragged Vaman Rao out and they hacked him to death — Y Nagireddy, IG R R A J A S H E K A R R A O @ Hyderabad FB ‘unlikes’ Australia ... over a proposed law to force it to share ad revenue with media. Here’s why it’s putting the squeeze THE BIG NUMBERS Advocates boycott their duties and block the road in front of the Telangana High Court in Hyderabad on Thursday in protest against the murder of lawyer couple G Vaman Rao and Nagamani at Kalvacherla | VINAY MADAPU 17 million Australians disenfranchised from sharing news content 50% People dependent on Google and Facebook for news access 2.8 billion Facebook users worldwide can’t share articles from Australian publishers OZ BILL Aims to make big tech firms compensate local media for losses in advertising revenue FB COUNTERPOINT 5.1 billion $315 million Free referrals Worth revenue for Australian generated for publishers created publishers WHY WORRY Fear Australia’s action can inspire similar laws across the world Google is already signing deals with publishers in other countries | P9 EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Peddapalli A day after the gruesome daylight murder of lawyer couple Gattu Vaman Rao and his wife PV Nagamani at Kalvacherla in the district, police on Thursday arrested the three main accused in the case — TRS’ Manthani mandal president Kunta Srinu, his driver Chiranjeevi and Akkapaka Kumar, who helped them in the perpetration of the crime. According to Inspector General (IG) of Police Y Nagireddy , soon after intercepting the couple’s car, Chiranjeevi stabbed Nagamani first and as Srinu dragged Vaman Rao out, they both hacked him to death. “Apart from Vaman Rao’s video statement in which he said that it was Srinu who attacked him, his driver also confirmed the Kunta Srinu suspended The TRS suspended its Manthani mandal president Kunta Srinu form the party with immediate effect. But netizens slammed the TRS saying it should have expelled him from the party same,” Nagireddy said at a press conference. The motive behind the murders was that the couple used to take up cases against Srinu, who masterminded the killings. For instance, Vaman Rao took up the case of an “illegal” house construction by Srinu. He also had a flaming row with the TRS leader over the constitution of a temple committee for the local Ramalayam. In another incident, he was getting ready to file a peti- FRUITS OF HARITHA HAARAM Tree City: Another feather in Hyd’s cap EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Hyderabad HYDERABAD has been recognised as a ‘Tree City’ for the year 2020 by the international organisation, Arbor Day Foundation. The Municipal Administration and Urban Development Minister, KT Rama Rao shared the information on Twitter in Thursday . He tweeted, “Happy to share that @arborday foundation (which works with FAO of UN) has recognised Hyderabad as a Tree City of the world. The only Indian city to be included HC directs govt, cops to ensure watertight investigation in this list. This is an acknowledgement of our efforts to improve green cover as part of # H a r i t h a H a a r a m programme”. The organisation recognised Hyderabad for planting of 2.4 crore trees. Five standards The Arbor Day Foundation mentions on its website that the recognition of a city as a ‘Tree City’ is based on five standards — the city must have a written statement by city leaders delegating re- sponsibility for the care of trees within the municipal boundary to a staff member, a city department, or a group of citizens; the city has in place a law or an official policy that governs the management of forests and trees; the city has an updated inventory or assessment of the local tree resource; the city has a dedicated annual budget for the routine implementation of the tree management plan and the city holds an annual celebration of trees to raise awareness. tion in court against the construction of the Peddama Talli temple in Gunjapadugu village. The couple even visited the village and took the signatures of Vaman Rao’s father Kishan Rao and brother on some documents to fight a case against the temple’s construction. The IG said they arrested the accused near the Maharashtra border and questioned them. Chiranjeevi, accused no. 2, is Srinu’s driver, who felt obliged to him because of the monetary help he had extended to him during lockdown. “Srinu had loaned him `50,000 and ever since, he has been working as his driver,” the IG said. Police did not get any evidence that suggests the murders were politically motivated. PROTESTS ERUPT ACROSS TS: P4 TERMING the double murder of advocate couple G Vaman Rao and PV Nagamani as very grave and most unfortunate, the Telangana High Court on Thursday took suo motu cognisance of the incident. It directed the State government and police to ensure a detailed probe in a time-bound manner and book the culprits. It also told the State to file a status report of the investigation by March 1 and ensure that all relevant material evidence is collected, preserved and placed before it along with the video clippings which have gone viral on social media. Forensic evidence must be collected scientifically it said. , Nobody should be allowed to take the law into their hands. Even the statements of passersby — including those who were travelling in the RTC buses and other vehicles, and witnessed the incident — should be taken, the court said. “The credibility of the State rests on this investigation. The probe should live up to the expectations of the Bar and the people. We are governed by the rule of law and the people should repose faith on the administration,” a division bench comprising Chief Justice Hima Kohli and Justice B Vijaysen Reddy observed while taking suo moto notice of the incident based on news reports published in various dailies. Advocates Rapolu Bhaskar and Shravanth sought an impartial and independent probe. CONTINUED ON P4 Modi moots spl visas for docs, nurses in India’s neighbourhood EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi PRIME Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday suggested the creation of special visas for doctors and nurses in neighbouring countries to help them respond to health emergencies in the region more effectively . The prime minister was addressing a workshop, initiated by India, on Covid management. “Over the past year, our health cooperation has already achieved so much. Can we now think of raising our ambition further? Can we consider creating a special visa scheme for our doctors and nurses, so that they can travel quickly within our region during health emergencies, on the request of the receiving country?” he said. The workshop assumed significance as for the first time in years, Pakistan attended an event initiated by India. Representatives of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, Seychelles and Sri Lanka participated. Modi made a slew of other suggestions, including the creation of an air ambulance agreement and a platform for collating, compiling and studying data about the effectiveness of Covid vaccines among the population. Recalling how a Covid19 Emergency Fund was created last year by the SAARC member states, he sought cooperation for rapid deployment of vaccines. All countries, including Pakistan, supported Modi’s proposals, said sources. They suggested a structured discussion for regional cooperation on these proposals to take them forward. All countries, except Pakistan, thanked India and Modi for vaccine supply, and of medicines, equipment and training in the past. LOCKDOWNS BACK IN PARTS OF MAHARASHTRA With fresh Covid cases spiralling again, Maharashtra ordered a 10-day lockdown in Yavatmal district from Thursday night. Also, weekend lockdown was announced in Amravati district from 8 pm on Saturday to 7 am on Monday. The state reported 4,787 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, the highest one-day count this year COVID SURGE IN MAHA WORRIES TS OFFICIALS D O N I TA J O S E @ Hyderabad TELANGANA may witness a surge in Covid-19 cases in the next three-four weeks with neighbouring districts in Maharashtra — Yavatmal, Amravati and the Vidarbha region — recording a sharp spike over the last one week. The situation has already sent alarm bells ringing across the Adilabad border, with the DMHO alerting the staff of seven PHCs and CHCs to keep a lookout for cases and trace their contacts. The officials are worried as Yavatmal, which borders Adilabad in Telangana, reported 507 cases in a week and had a 11.4 per cent positivity rate. A few kilometres away , the district of Amravati reported 2,843 cases in seven days with a positivity rate of 56.7 per cent. These two surges are being seen as having a possible link with the South African strain which is far more infectious and spreads faster. Keeping this in mind, the high movement of people between Telangana and Maharashtra is likely to bring the variant here, resulting in a surge in cases, experts have noted. Speaking to Express, the director of the Indian Institute of Public Health’s Hyderabad chapter, Dr GVS Murthy said not just the northwestern-bordering districts , of Telangana such as Adilabad, but also Hyderabad is susceptible to a surge due to frequent visits by people to religious places in Maharashtra such as Shirdi. CONTINUED ON P5 Nephew, son in spotlight as Shah, Didi trade barbs P R A N A B M O N D A L @ Kolkata UNION home minister Amit Shah and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee were on Thursday locked in a war of words while addressing two separate rallies in South 24 Parganas district on the issue of nepotism. With Shah accusing Mamata’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee of siphoning off the Centre’s grants meant for people’s welfare and warning that the BJPled government, after wresting power in Bengal, would bring all culprits to book, Mamata hit back saying Shah’s son will also not be spared either for The Centre’s grants have been siphoned off by the nephew and his men Amit Shah, Union home minister earning crores of rupees. Abhishek represents Diamond Harbour in South 24 Parganas in the Lok Sabha and Jai Amit Shah is the powerful secretary of the Indian cricket board. While addressing a rally at Namkhana, Shah said, ‘’Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government gave financial assist- Your son is earning crores of money. How? Your son will also not be spared Mamata Banerjee, chief minister ance of `3,59,000 crore in the past five years for the people of West Bengal. But the money was siphoned off by the nephew and his men. If the BJP wrests power in Bengal, the new government will find the culprits even if they take refuge under the ground, and put them behind bars.’’ A riled Mamata for the first time responded to the nephew barb. “Every day you (Shah) raise the nephew issue. Your son is earning crores of money . How? Your son will also not be spared,’’ she growled. Alleging corruption in distributing relief to cyclone Amphan’s victims, Shah said the Centre’s grant was stolen by Abhishek and TMC’s goons. A few kilometres away from Shah’s rally venue, Mamata gave it back while addressing a gathering in Pailan in the same district. “My family will not do anything that could malign the image of Bengal... Abhishek is facing attacks because of me.’’
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