kozhikode l monday l june 21, 2021 l `7.00 l PAGES 28 l city EDITION `4L relief to covid victims not doable, centre tells SC The govt’s affidavit expressed inability to offer the proposed ex gratia as it would exhaust the disaster relief funds of states could affect pandemic response: Govt The Union home ministry was responding to a plea seeking minimum standards of relief to the relatives of Covid-19 victims. “Utilisation of scarce resources for giving ex-gratia, may have unfortunate consequences of affecting the pandemic response and health expenditure in other aspects and hence cause more damage than good,” the affidavit said A1,313 cr ‘Don’t encroach on executive’s domain’ ■ ■ The Centre said it is the authority that decides on such matters. This is not a matter where the Supreme Court should substitute its own judgment in place of the Executive’s decision, it argued The affidavit said the term ex gratia means it’s not based on legal given to states through national entitlement. The matter will be heard by the SC on Monday health mission for covid this year 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 Charged-up Cong on the offensive, CPM cautious After Pinarayi-Sudhakaran slugfest, more Congress leaders join bandwagon blaming CM for current turn of events E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ T’Puram A day after the tit-for-tat onslaught by new Congress state president K Sudhakaran, he and other party leaders remained on the offensive on Sunday attacking Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. In a Facebook post, Sudhakaran termed his verbal attack on Pinarayi personal and said he would continue in the same vein till the CM expresses readiness for a political debate. The Congress camp is upbeat after the new chief ’s aggressive posturing, and more leaders, in- If the chief minister comes up with political allegations, he will naturally get strong replies from the Congress camp — K Muraleedharan, MP We ended the controversy yesterday itself, but Sudhakaran is trying to go back to his old style of functioning. The Congress brass should make its stand clear on the style Sudhakaran was trying to experiment with — A K Balan, CPM leader cluding K Muraleedharan and Ramesh Chennithala, on Sunday jumped onto the bandwagon blaming Pinarayi of being responsible for the current turn of events. A section of Congress leaders believe Sudhakaran has scored in the first round by denting the “invincible” image of Pinarayi. At the same time, another section feels personal fights should have been avoided. Meanwhile, the CPM camp is treading cautiously in their response to the allegations, with some leaders maintaining that there is no need for the chief minister to respond any further on the issue as he had made his stand clear. In the Facebook post, Sudhakaran said “political criminals” like Pinarayi have to be dealt with in a personal manner. Pinarayi has been building up a cult of personal worship inside the party like a dictator. “Several victims of his ingrati- tude for protecting his own interest still live in north Kerala villages. The political life of V S Achuthanandan, M A Baby and Shailaja Teacher are examples of his political dictatorship inside the party,” Sudhakaran wrote. He said the state will slip into anarchy if a person like Pinarayi remains in power. “This is what the state has been witnessing for the past five years. This has to be stopped, for which he has to be politically exposed or attacked personally he ,” ● More on P4 said. India rebuts UN concerns on IT rules Aisha quizzed, told not to Sedition charges leave dweep for four days E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ Kochi Filmmaker Aisha Sultana, who has been booked under sedition charges, appeared before the Kavaratti police on Sunday . After interrogation, the police allowed her to go but instructed that she should not leave the island for four days. Aisha—who was booked for allegedly saying that the Centre had used ‘bio-weapon’ against the residents of Lakshadweep — appeared before the police by 4.30pm along with her lawyer. According to the police officials, she was let off after about three hours of interrogation in the presence of ASP Sarath Kumar Sinha at the office of Senior Superintendent of Police, Lakshadweep, Kavaratti. “She has been directed not to leave the island for the next four days. If required, she will be summoned again, “ said a source with the Lakshadweep police. The police did not record the arrest of the filmmaker on Sunday The Kerala High Court . had on Thursday granted anticipatory bail to the filmmaker, while asking her to appear before the police on June 20. Aisha Sultana also confirmed that she has been asked to continue in the island for four days. “The police may summon me for interrogation within two days. However, they informed me that they would not record my arrest in this case,” she told media after the interrogation. The Kavaratti police had registered a case under Sections 124 A and 153 B of IPC against Aisha on June 10 based on a complaint filed by BJP Lakshadweep state president C Abdul Khader Haji. According to the plaint, Aisha, while participating in a media discussion on June 7, stated that the Centre used a ‘biological weapon’ against the people of Lakshadweep, while referring to the relaxations in SOP for Covid man● More on P4 agement. L’dweep admn denies shifting its legal jurisdiction to Karnataka: P4 Kumbh testing scam: Sleeping at the wheel V i nee t U pa d h yay @ Dehradun There were clear red flags of Covid-19 testing irregularities in Haridwar during the Kumbh mela in April, but they didn’t appear to have stirred the authorities into action, resulting in the testing scam being unearthed only last week. Official data analysed by this newspaper of testing and positivity rate during April 1-30, the duration of the Maha Kumbh 2021, showed that Haridwar conducted more tests than the rest of the state, but the number of positive cases detected was far less. During April 1-30, a total of 6,00,291 tests were conducted in Haridwar, of which only 17,375 positive cases were detected. During the same period, the rest of the 12 districts of the state conducted 4,42,432 tests and this showed 62,735 positive cases. In terms of percentage, 60% of all tests in April was conducted in Haridwar, but they were able to detect alarmingly fewer positive cases than the rest of the state. The figures indicated two things: either fake testing was going on, or the numbers were covered up, deliberately or otherwise. But either way the authorities did not appear to have smelt a rat. , E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ New Delhi India on Sunday rebuffed concerns raised by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) that the country’s new IT rules may hamper freedom of speech, saying such concerns were misplaced and the new rules were designed to empower ordinary users of social media. India’s Permanent Mission to the UN told the Special Procedures Branch of the UNHRC that the country’s democratic credentials are well recognised and the new rules were finalised after consultations with various stakeholders, according to a statement issued by the IT ministry . “The right to freedom of speech and expression is guaranteed under the Indian Constitution. The independent judiciary and a robust media are part of India’s democratic structure,” the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) said in the statement. “The rules are designed to empower ordinary users of social media. The victims of abuse on Fresh CBM to draw J&K leaders to meet F aya z W a n i @ Srinagar A day after the Centre sought to rev up political activity in J&K by calling an all-party meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi on June 24, authorities shifted detained PDP leader Waheed Para to Srinagar as a confidence building measure (CBM). Another senior PDP leader and Mehbooba Mufti’s maternal uncle Sartaj Madni was released on Saturday after nearly six months of detention as a ‘goodwill gesture’. The twin gestures are expected to brighten the chances of Mufti attending the meet. With the Opposition Gupkar alliance deciding to hold its strategy session on Tuesday, major J&K political players on Sunday went into a huddle with their party leaders take a call on participation. PDP’s Political Affairs Committee was largely in favour of Mufti attending the Delhi meet, but party spokesman Suhail Bukhari said the final decision will be taken after Tuesday’s meeting. The Centre has invited 14 J&K leaders for the meet. While there is no ambiguity on the participation of 10, it remains to be seen whether Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar, Mufti and Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami would attend it. today’s matches Sunday’s results Italy bt Wales 1-0 Switzerland bt Turkey 3-1 Ukraine vs Austria 9.30pm North Macedonia vs Netherlands 9.30pm Tuesday’s matches Uruguay vs Chile 2.30am Argentina vs Paraguay 5.30am olympic support Sports ministry requests, BCCI donates `10cr Ven k ata K r i s h n a B @ Chennai THE Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to donate `10 crore to the Sports Ministry to support the Indian contingent that will take part in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, scheduled to start on July 23. Interestingly the major, ity of the funds will be used for promotional activities of the Olympic-bound athletes. The BCCI will directly pay the agency handling the promotional campaign. On receiving the request from the ministry the BCCI made the , decision at an emergent Apex Council meet on Sunday. During the meeting, the BCCI also decided to form a commmittee to decide on the compensation package for domestic cricketers. The Sports Ministry’s request to BCCI to fund promotional activity is curious. Does it mean the ministry lack funds? For its part, the ministry said its funding essentially goes towards sports development activities and not event promo- tion. But apparently, the ministry is keen on creating buzz ahead of the Olympics, where it expects a record haul of medals, hence the outreach. “BCCI is helping the ministry on that front too. The campaign is handled by a private agency and the BCCI will pay them directly ,” said the ministry . The BCCI will also place expressions of interest to the ICC to host the 2028 T20 World Cup, 2031 WC and 2025 Champions Trophy . Based on the request received from the IOA/ MYAS, the apex council of BCCI has decided to extend support to the IOA and has pledged a monetary support of Rs10 crore Jay Shah, BCCI secretary social media platforms shall have a forum for redressal of their grievances,” it said. The special branch of the UNHRC had on June 11 raised concerns on a number of provisions in the new IT rules saying they do not appear to meet the requirement of international law and standards related to the right to privacy and freedom of speech and expression as protected by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, acceded to by India on April 10, 1979. express read NATIONWIDE june 19 june 20 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths statewide Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths 60,753 97,743 1,647 58,419 87,619 1,576 june 19 june 20 12,443 13,145 115 11,647 12,459 112 W ITH THI S I S S UE THE ESSENTIAL CAMPUS DIGEST YOUR LIFE COACH 28 PAGES, INCLUDING 16 OF edex (TABLOID) Bars to stop sale of liquor from today T’Puram: The bar hotels in the state will stop the retail sale of liquor from Monday in protest against the Kerala State Beverages Corporation’s decision to increase the wholesale profit margin on sale of liquor provided to Consumerfed and bar hotels from the warehouses of the corporation. 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