Pak court grants bail to Imran Khan In a relief to embattled Imran Khan, a top Pakistani court granted protective bail to the former PM on Friday in eight terrorism cases and a civil case after he appeared before it, hours after another court suspended non-bailable arrest warrants against him till March 18 in a corruption case. Khan, the 70-year-old chief of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, travelled to the Lahore High Court in a bulletproof vehicle to seek protective bail. bengaluru l saturday l march 18, 2023 l `9.00 l PAGES 20 l late city EDITION CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOgGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI ICC ARREST WARRANT AGAINST PUTIN BJP-Cong war of words E x p r e ss N e ws Se r v i c e Trinamool Congress head and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee greets Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, who called on her in Kolkata on Friday | PTI Oppn forms G-8, calls Congress for LS poll talks Wants freeze on the leadership issue till the 2024 elections are over S H A H I D F A RI D I @ New Delhi til after the elections was conveyed to the Congress. Seven non-Congress opposiTwo other chief ministers – tion chief ministers and a dep- Naveen Patnaik (Odisha) and uty CM have together formed a Jagan Mohan Reddy (Andhra group and had three video con- Pradesh) – have refused to have ferences over the last few weeks any pre-poll understanding to discuss a united fight against with the Congress. the BJP in 2024. Sources said if the Congress The eight leaders of this does not agree to their condigroup include seven chief min- tion on leadership, they would isters – Mamata Banerjee (West go ahead and expand the group Bengal), M K Stalin (Tamil by including the remaining opNadu), Nitish Kumar (Bihar), position CMs and other opposiK Chandrashekar Rao (Telan- tion parties. gana), Hemant Soren According to sources, Mama(Jharkhand), Bhagwant Mann ta Banerjee’s meeting with Sa(Punjab), Arvind Kejriwal (Del- majwadi Par ty president hi) – and Bihar deputy Akhilesh Yadav on chief minister TejasFriday was an attempt hwi Yadav. The Conby the non-Congress gress is part of the opposition leaders to ruling alliance in TN, We will go our own send a message to the way, maintain Jharkhand and grand old party not to distance from the Bihar. insist on a leadership Sources said the Congress and BJP. We p o s i t i o n i n t h e are not talking about group, called G-8, has forming a third front opposition. invited the Congress The opposition leadat the moment to start seat-sharing ers had not taken talks on the condition Sudip Bandyopadhyay, kindly to Congress TMC MP that the leadership of president Mallikarjun the united opposition Kharge’s remark at an group is left open until after the election rally that his party Lok Sabha elections. would lead the opposition and The Congress is yet to re- form the next government by spond to the proposal. But ousting the BJP . sources said Rahul Gandhi is An opposition leader who is keen to engage with G-8 lead- privy to the discussions among ers. They said a united chal- the G-8 said that the Congress lenge to the BJP with all oppo- had failed to take on the BJP in sition parties coming on one the last two Lok Sabha elecplatform was the plan Rahul tions. “It was routed in states Gandhi had referred to in Lon- where it was in a direct fight don recently . with the BJP .” Some of the group’s leaders It is time the Congress allike KCR, Kejriwal and Mama- lowed the regional parties that ta oppose breaking bread with have successfully halted the the Congress. It is on their in- BJP’s march in their respective sistence that the condition to states to take the leadership pofreeze the leadership issue un- sition, he said. statue BJP tries to attract masses ahead of polls The Basavaraj Bommai-led government is on a statue unveiling spree. In the past few months, the CM has unveiled at least 15 statues in various districts. P4 IN a rare move, the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague on Friday issued an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin, holding him responsible for the alleged war crimes in Ukraine. Accusing Putin of forced transfer of children from Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine, the ICC also issued an arrest warrant against Russia’s Commissioner for Children’s Rights, Maria Lvova-Belova, for her “individual criminal responsibility” for the crimes. The ICC’s action does not mean Putin will be extradited as the court doesn’t have the power to arrest suspects; it can only exercise jurisdiction within countries that are signatories to the Rome Statute, the agreement that set up ICC. Russia is not a signatory However, . technically Putin can be arrest, ed if he travels to ICC member states. The ICC said the arrest warrants are intended to be secret in order to protect victims and witnesses, but in this case it was making them public to prevent any further abductions of children in future. The court’s president, Piotr Hofmanski, said in a video statement that while the ICC’s campaign blitz Himanta: No need for madrasas, will shut all in Assam E x p r e s s N e w s Se r v i c e @ B e l a g a v i Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma categorically stated here on Friday that there is no need for madrasas in society and instead, colleges and universities should be built to churn out doctors, engineers and other professionals for nation-building. Sarma, campaigning in Karnataka for BJP ahead of the Assembly elections, was speaking after inaugurating an exhibition, “Shivacharitra”, depicting the life and achievements of Chhatrapati Shivaji, at Shivaji Garden in Belagavi. He said all madrasas in Assam will be closed soon, and already 600 such religious institutions have been shuttered. He alleged that “atrocities” were committed during the Mughal rule and Congress is continuing with the same legacy “The Grand Old party . will not succeed in its efforts. Indian culture and heritage will continue to thrive,” he added. Sarma said, “Mughals wanted to weaken the country by destroying the Sanatan Hindu culture and Congress today has a similar agenda. Mughal rulers of Delhi destroyed the country’s places of worship. However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is helping people finally realise their dreams of having a Ram temple in Ayodhya and Kashi Vishwanath corridor.” Stating that Congressmen only spoke about Babri Mosque, he said, “People should teach them a lesson in the coming elections. There is a need to root out Congress and make Modi more powerful.” He said historians only glorified Mughal rulers, but never spoke about the life and achievements of Shivaji. “Chhatrapati Shivaji, Guru Gobind Singh and Swami Vivekananda are our heroes. We need to rewrite Indian history Shivaji . had successfully stopped the advance of Mughals towards Deccan,’’ he added. Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma addresses a gathering in Belagavi on Friday | Express Compromised safety led to piped gas mishap B os k y Khanna @ Bengaluru Supply of piped gas to homes for cooking in the absence of strict adherence to standard operating procedures (SOPs) to ensure safety has made houses vulnerable to fire accidents. The Thursday gas leak in HSR Layout, which injured two women, is an incident that has opened the eyes to this vulnerability — especially when cracks in the pipes are sealed without proper protocols being followed, as has been revealed to be the cause of this fire accident. Although Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) has filed a complaint against Bangalore Water Supply & Sewerage Board (BWSSB) engineers over the incident, the latter said it will be asking GAIL for a list of locations where gas pipelines are passing through BWSSB manholes. While GAIL has blamed BWSSB for not following SOPs, BWSSB officials said it was the first time such an incident had come to light wherein a gas pipeline passed through a manhole. Officials in the Infrastructure Development Department (IDD) and Urban Development Department (UDD) have said this raised concerns about the SOPs to be followed. “Using piped natural gas is the future and the government is working on this. But such incidents do raise safety concerns. It is thus important that not just the citizens, but also the agencies and the contractors follow due safety procedures listed out,” said a UDD official. Continued on: P3 judges have issued the warrants, it will be up to the international community to enforce them. “The ICC is doing its part of work as a court of law,” he said, adding: “The judges issued arrest warrants. The execution depends on internation- al cooperation.” ICC has no police force of its own to enforce warrants. Ukraine welcomed ICC’s move but Russia termed it ‘meaningless’. Ukraine is not a member of the court, but it has granted the ICC jurisdiction over its territory . Moscow has repeatedly denied accusations that its forces have committed atrocities during Russia’s invasion of its neighbour. Putin is the third serving president to have been issued an ICC arrest warrant. In the past, Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi P12 were issued warrants. express read Lokayukta cops seek Madal Virupakshappa’s custody Bengaluru: The Karnataka Lokayukta police on Friday argued before the Karnataka High Court that Channagiri BJP MLA and former chairman of the Karnataka Soaps and Detergents Ltd K Madal Virupakshappa is required for custodial interrogation as he is not cooperating with the investigation | P4 NIA books two engineers in Shivamogga conspiracy case bengaluru: The NIA chargesheeted two B.Tech graduates in last year’s Shivamogga IS conspiracy case. “B.Tech graduates Maaz Muneer Ahmed (23) and Syed Yasin (22) were radicalised and motivated by an online foreign-based handler... and were paid in cryptocurrency to target public and private properties,” NIA stated | P5 fight gets shriller P r ee t ha N a i r @ New Delhi The war of words between the BJP and the Congress got shriller on Friday with their respective party heads sparring in the context of Rahul Gandhi’s ‘democracy under siege’ statement in London recently . In Parliament, too, the Congress retaliated against a BJP member’s demand to set up a special panel to probe Rahul’s remarks and consider his expulsion, by moving a privilege motion against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his alleged derogatory remarks against party leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. The Congress also criticised the alleged ‘muting’ of Parliament’s proceedings after the day’s session began. Both Houses were adjourned after ruckus for the fifth consecutive day . Continued on: P9
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