bhubaneswar l sunday l june 20, 2021 l `12.00 l PAGES 24 l late CITY EDITION hardline cleric elected Iran’s next president A harsh critic of American policies Raisi, who won 62% of the votes, is from the ultraconservative camp that deeply distrusts the US, and has criticised outgoing leader Hassan Rouhani after Washington pulled out of the nuclear deal. Raisi has backed the ongoing talks to save the deal. However, analysts say his hardline stance would make it tough for the US to extract any major concessions from Iran Ebrahim Raisi was on Saturday declared the winner of Iran’s presidential election that saw a record low voter turnout Comes to power at a tough time ■ ■ ■ Raisi was a member of the “Death Commission” that secretly executed thousands of opposition prisoners in 1988 He comes to power at a time when Iran is battling job losses and a spiralling inflation, both of which have sparked discontent He is seen as a possible successor to Iran’s supreme leader | P9 48.8% Was the voter turnout in the election held on Friday 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 NC, PDP and Congress will decide whether to attend the meet after internal deliberations J&K statehood buzz as Modi calls all-party meeting E XPR E SS N E WS S E RVIC E @ Srinagar / New Delhi Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair an all-party meeting with at least 14 politicians from Jammu and Kashmir, including four former chief ministers and four deputy CMs, in Delhi on June 24, triggering speculation that restoration of statehood is on the cards. The move comes weeks before the second anniversary of scrapping of J&K’s special status and its bifurcation into Union Territories. The meeting’s agenda includes delimitation process and elections, officials said. PDP chief and former J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti has convened a meeting of the party’s Political Affairs Committee in Srinagar on Sunday to decide whether to participate. As a goodwill gesture, the government on Saturday released Mehbooba’s uncle Sartaj Madni, who was under detention for nearly six months. Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah of the National Conference, and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad are the other three former CMs invited. Both the National Conference and the Congress said they will decide on attending the meet after internal consultations. Union Home minister Amit Shah will also attend the meeting, the first such excercise since the Centre abrogated J&K’s special status. Political commentator Noor Mohammad Baba said the Centre is under pressure to soften its Kashmir policy due to both internal and external factors. “There are more strategic factors. Kashmir is not like any other place. It is being watched. The UN agencies are also keeping an eye on the situation,” he said. Odisha-born IAS officer dies of Covid WITH THIS ISSUE At Home with Covid PLUS 12 PAGES With gradual unlocking underway in many states, a third wave is “inevitable” in the next six to eight weeks if Covid-appropriate behaviour is not strictly followed, AIIMS chief Dr Randeep Guleria warned on Saturday. Authorities should keep in mind human behaviour while unlocking, he said, adding that it should be done in a graded manner. “As we have started unlocking, there is again a lack of Covid-appropriate behaviour. We don’t seem to have learnt from what happened between the first and the second wave. Again crowds are building up... people are gathering,” Dr Guleria said, warning that it’s just a matter of time before Covid cases shoot up again. “It all depends on how we go ahead in terms of Covid-appropriate behaviour and preventing crowds,” he added. With the main challenge being vaccination, the increase in the gap of dosage in Covishield “may not be bad”, he told a news channel. He said the country will require mini-lockdowns in areas that witness a spike in cases and positivity rate beyond 5%. He em- E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar With 13 people succumbing to Covid-19 and hundreds more getting infected post-vaccination, the Odisha government on Saturday initiated a process to study breakthrough infection among people who tested positive after inoculation. At the first meeting of the technical committee constituted for the study, it was decided to collect epidemiological and serological data of people who have tested positive even after receiving the doses along with the pattern of infection, severity of disease, hospitalisation and requirement of oxygen. A senior member of the study group said scientifically people getting infected two weeks after the full vaccination schedule is considered a breakthrough infection. “We will study the infection among such people flurry of organisational appointments made by party’s UP unit president Swatantra Dev Singh, hours after meeting BJP president J P Nadda and national general secretary B L Santhosh in New Delhi. Sharma’s appointment comes weeks after the leadership sent a two-member team, comprising Santhosh and former Union minister Radha Mohan Singh, to Lucknow to review the party’s organisational strength ahead of the Assembly election. The visit was followed by Yogi landing in New Delhi and meeting Modi, home minister Amit Shah and J P Nadda. Speculation was rife that Sharma would be given a high position in the UP cabinet, a scenario Yogi was opposed to, fearing it could potentially create dual power centres, sources said. A 1988 batch IAS officer of Gujarat Cadre, Sharma is a Bhumihar Brahmin, a community with sizeable influence in many eastern UP districts. @ Lucknow/New Delhi Ending speculation on former bureaucrat A K Sharma’s induction into the Yogi Adityanath cabinet in UP, the BJP’s state unit appointed him as its vice president on Saturday . Sharma’s appointment, with the crucial Assembly election just eight months away, is seen as an attempt to both bolster the party’s reach among the upper caste in eastern UP and execute the leadership’s poll strategies in the state. Sharma, who joined the party five months ago and was elected as an MLC shortly afterwards, is close to Prime Minister Modi. He played a key role in managing the Covid situation in PM Modi’s constituency Varanasi. The Varanasi Model of Covid-19 management was appreciated by the PM on several occasions. Sharma’s elevation was among a EXPRES READ Assam to implement two-child policy Guwahati: Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday said his government will gradually implement a two-child policy for availing of benefits under specific schemes funded by the state. The proposed population control policy will, however, not be applicable in all the schemes in Assam immediately as many of the benefits are offered by the central government, Sarma said. NATIONWIDE june 18 june 19 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 62,480 88,977 1,587 60,753 97,743 1,647 Jab-o-meter Take your shot June 18 29,84,172 doses June 19 33,00,085 doses Total doses: 27,23,88,783 odisha Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths june 18 june 19 3,806 6,252 37 3,427 5,281 42 t r i b u te to t h e l e g end Name sports awards after Milkha Singh Ashok Kumar I knew the legendary Milkha Singh personally because of my father, Major Dhyan Chand. Every time we met, he would enquire about his health. We had a practice camp in Chandigarh before the 1975 World Cup, which we won. Being an official of the Punjab Sports Department, Milkha sir would often visit us. He was a man of few wo ds, but always ensured we got the r best of facilities. One day he invited a few senior players for lunch. I was one of them. Given his keen eye on dining table etiquettes, we all had to use forks and knives. Most of us were not habituated to this, especially me. I somehow phasised that people would be vulnerable unless they are vaccinated. The focus should on ‘testing, tracking, and treating’ in hotspots, he added. Emphasising the need to be careful as the virus is mutating, he said, “When there is a huge increase in the number of cases, shortage of (hospital) beds follows. The strategy should be multi-pronged—we have to make sure fresh cases don’t rise. Any healthcare system globally will tend to collapse with the unprecedented rise in the infections.” State to study breakthrough Covid-19 infections E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Bhubaneswar CONTINUED ON: P5 E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi Modi aide elevated as BJP vice president in U.P. E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e Odisha-born IAS officer and Secretary in the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) Guruprasad Mohapatra passed away at New Delhi on Saturday due to Covid-19 related complications. A 1986-batch Gujarat cadre IAS officer, Mohapatra was the youngest son of renowned litterateur Mohapatra Nilamani Sahoo. In his career spanning over three decades, Mohapatra handled many assignments at the Central and State-level with distinction. Before his appointment as the Secretary in DPIIT in 2019, Mohapatra had served as the Chairman of Airports Authority of India during which he gave the organisation a new direction and steered it to achieve greater excellence in airport infrastructure. Third wave to hit India in 6-8 weeks if Covid norms ignored: AIIMS chief managed, without getting noticed. He accompanied us to a couple of felicitation functions after we won the World Cup. He was with the team in Mumbai when we were feted. Age difference and his seniority mea t we n interacted formally on most occasions. Mo t of our cons versations c tred on my faen ther, who us to address him ed as ‘Mil h ’. I lost my eldest k e brother Brijmohan Singh a couple of months ago. The demise of Milkha sir saddens me again. He and Balbir Singh Sr were the pillars of Indian sports after Independence. Unfortunately we lost both in a , short span of time. It’s time we gave them the recognition they deserve. We should name national sports awards after them. These legends inspired generations of athletes in the country and we must pay them back. Tributes pour in after legends die, but we should honour them during their lifetime. I am not complaining, but this will improve the sports culture in our country If athletes start . getting recognition, more will start pursuing sports as a career. I can only say he will keep inspiring Indian athletes for many years to come. Ashok Kumar former India hockey , captain and World Cup winner , spoke to Firoz Mirza along with those who have been re-infected - tested positive both before and after vaccination,” he said. Sources said the eight-member technical committee headed by Director of Institute of Life Sciences (ILS) Dr Ajaya Kumar Parida has sought data on people with breakthrough and reinfections from districts. Once the data is compiled, it will be matched with the vaccination data to ascertain whether they have completed the full vaccination schedule. “In most of the cases, we have data of vaccinated people, who went through RT-PCR tests. More evidence is being collected from rapid response teams deployed in the districts to monitor Covid patients. We will conduct antibody tests and genome sequencing on some people who have contracted the disease,” said the health official. The committee will study the incidence, spectrum of microbiological and clinical presentations and their outcome in suspected/confir med breakthrough Covid-19 during post vaccination period. While a majority of the breakthrough infections following vaccination was caused by the Delta variant, quoting the data released by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Dr Parida said only 0.04 per cent of people have tested positive after the first dose and 0.03 people after the second dose. CONTINUED ON: P5
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