MADURAI FRIDAY APRIL 09, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 16 LATE CITY EDITION COURT ALLOWS ASI SURVEY AT KASHI GYANVAPI MOSQUE A local court on Thursday directed the ASI to form a ﬁve-member panel, including two minority representatives, for the study TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR THE PANEL STIRRING UP A HORNET’s NEST? The prime focus of the committee would be to find whether there is a “superimposition, alteration or addition or structural overlapping with/over any other religious structure” at the site. The order was passed on a plea, claiming the mosque stands at the site of an ancient Kashi Vishwanath Temple, which was razed by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in 1664 | P10 ■ The court ordered the ASI to bear the entire cost of survey and barred the panel from briefing the media on its findings. The ASI has also been told to make alternative arrangements for Namaz ■ What purpose would it serve if the panel were to establish superimposition? Would it reignite communal passions? 2,050 THE AGE OF THE ANCIENT TEMPLE BUILT BY KING VIKRAMADITYA, AS PER PETITIONERS 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 bility of vaccines, Modi said he didn’t want to get into vaccine politics. “Last DISAPPROVING political blame game year we succeeded in coming off from over vaccine availability and rejecting the peak of the Covid-19 cases without rumours of lockdown, Prime Minister vaccines by banking on proactive testNarendra Modi urged chief ministers ing and treatment of the patients, beon Thursday to focus on testing, track- sides larger people’s participation in ing and treating, besides suggesting following the protocol of wearing micro-containment zones as the strat- masks and personal hygiene. Now, egy to deal with the rising Covid-19 some of the states seem to have forgotcases. Amid widespread rumours on a ten testing as a means of containing fresh lockdown, Modi said states the pandemic and are only talking should work on local micro-contain- about vaccines,” he observed. ment zones instead and proactively Modi also called for political unity test all asymptomatic in tackling the pandemic NATIONAL SCENE cases. by suggesting that Gover“Lockdown as a strategy ■ Fresh cases ■ Recoveries nors in states can call allworked last year when ■ Deaths party meetings to arrive at enough facilities and actionable agendas to means to contain the Covwork on. He also urged id-19 cases weren’t availastates to host a Tika Utsav ble. Now, we have much (vaccine festival) during better health infrastrucApril 11-14 to coincide ture, including testing with the birth anniversalabs, and also the vaccines ries of Jyotiba Phule and along with experiences,” Bhim Rao Ambedkar. he said and advised that Punjab Chief Minister the night curfews be called Amarinder Singh sought “Corona curfews” for betflexibility in the vaccine ter awareness of the peoprotocol, saying people beple to follow the Covid-19 low the age of 45 with kidprotocols. ney and liver diseases In the backdrop of the should get the jab. Delhi Maharashtra government Chief Minister Arvind Keand the Centre entering in jriwal suggested camps be April 7 April 8 a slugfest over the availaheld for the vax drive. 685 Maoists unconditionally free commando E J A Z K A I S E R @Raipur After five days in captivity, a CRPF personnel abducted by Maoists during Saturday’s Bijapur ambush was released unconditionally on Thursday The rebels handed over the Co. BRA commando, Rakeshwar Singh Manhas, to a team of four mediators during a jan-adalat (kangaroo court). While there was no official word on who appointed the mediators, Chhattisgarh CM congratulated the team for its success. Manhas was brought to the Basaguda CRPF camp on a bike by 6-7 local journalists, who had also reached the jan adalat site unaccompanied by mediators. Padma Shri awardee Dharampal Saini (87), who was one of the mediators, said the unharmed jawan had shown signs of stress. He was later taken to a hospital for a medical checkup. The mediators arrived at Bijapur on Wednesday night and left for Pamed, a Maoist stronghold around 450 km south of Raipur, on Thursday A video clipping of the handing over . showed Maoists untying the jawan’s hands in the presence of locals. He was given food, medicine and was not harmed throughout the five days, the mediators said. The Maoists later appealed to the media to display the same alacrity they showed in this case when locals were detained by the police. Attached to the 210 CoBRA battalion, Manhas had gone missing after the April 5 ambush that killed 22 troopers. CRPF personnel Rakeshwar Singh Manhas, who was released on Thursday after a Maoist jan adalat at Pamed in Chhattisgarh | PTI Know the mediators Besides Dharampal Saini, who is head of social organisation Mata Rukmani Sewa Sansthan, the other mediators included the president of Gondwana Samanvaya Samiti Gelam Boraiya, retired teacher Rudra Kare and Bijapur’s Murtunda woman sarpanch Sukhmati Hakka. All four have good social standing in Bastar TAKING A TOLL? LIQUOR FASTag isn’t easing PONDYAS GOVERNMENT CHEAP AGAIN WITHDRAWS SPECIAL EXCISE DUTY congestion, thanks to low awareness: HC The tax was levied in May 2020 to get funds to combat Covid-19. It resulted in fewer tourists visiting the Union Territory EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai THE introduction of FASTag hasn’t eased congestion at toll plazas, the Madras High Court observed on Thursday , and said the present system remains inaccessible to several road users owing to inadequate awareness. The court made this observation on a plea seeking to restrain the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) from collecting toll from vehicles plying between Tambaram and Tindivanam at Paranur as the period of the concession agreement has expired. On Thursday, before the First Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy , the petitioner’s counsel argued that the NHAI is enti- tled to collect only 40 per cent fee as per the National Highways Fee (Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules 2008. While the collection of toll is allowed despite the provisional completion certificate, it indicates many deficiencies, the counsel added. The Bench recorded the submissions and sought information on the toll levied on each vehicle. However, the NHAI’s counsel argued that a status report on the plea, answering the petitioner’s queries, has been submitted. The Bench adjourned the hearing by two weeks and questioned the Highways department on the implementation of the FASTag system. “There has to be some amount of infrastructure set-up... and more publicity about its (FASTag) use will ease congestion,” it said. Mixed feelings: IPL begins With Chennai gearing up to host the first match of the 14th edition of IPL, here’s a look at a few talking points... TODAY’S MATCH RCB vs MI 7.00 pm | Chepauk Final is on May 30 NO OF VENUES 6 Ahmedabad, Chennai Kolkata Delhi Bengaluru Mumbai No festivals/religious congregations Chennai’s Koyambedu market, and fruit and vegetable outlets in wholesale markets across TN to be shut Passengers can’t travel standing in buses Devotees allowed at places of worship only till 8 pm; essential rituals to only be performed by staff Exhibition halls to be open only for business-to-business operations | MORE: P4 TN CASES 4,276 3,986 Thursday Wednesday UNLIKE ANY OTHER SEASON Hosting a two month tournament where there is going to be frequent travelling amid a pandemic will challenge every administration. BCCI pulled it off in UAE. Can they repeat it? LACKING BUZZ The IPL in India is akin to a festival. But that usual atmosphere is lacking. In 2020, the IPL acted as the great distraction. In 2021, it’s second in six months, can it have the same effect? ONFIELD MATTERS For players, though, this tournament is perhaps the most important one of the year. Impress selectors and they could be in with a shout of representing their countries at the T20 World Cup in the same cities in six months | P15 From tomorrow, no standing in buses, crowding in shops E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Chennai THINKING of making a dash for the store? Be prepared to wait outside. And if you’re going by bus, you’ll have to find a seat. That’s because the State government on Thursday imposed new restrictions to control the spread of Covid-19. Festivals and religious congregations will be prohibited, but TASMAC shops will function without new restrictions. Weddings may be held, but only 100 guests will be allowed. The new rules, to be enforced from Saturday, were needed as people aren’t wearing masks or practising physical distancing, an official release said, and blamed the public for the spike in Covid cases. However, it didn’t mention the large gatherings witnessed in the last four months for election campaigns across the State. The curbs were announced after Chief Secretary Rajeev Ranjan chaired meetings on April 5 and 7, during which experts observed that besides effective containment measures, restrictions should be intensified. Tamil Nadu on Thursday recorded more than 4,000 new cases for the first time in 172 days. On Wednesday 3,986 new cases were , CONTINUED ON: P4 reported. Vaccine shortage grips Maha, Odisha, AP EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE 59,258 1,26,789 M A N I S H A N A N D @ New Delhi 630 A day ahead of the 11th round of Sino-Indian Corps Commander-level talks, there was quiet optimism on the Indian side of some movement forward on further disengagement at friction points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh. A senior Army officer said, “We are hopeful of some positive outcome. The talks will begin at 10.30 am tomorrow.” In Bejing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian refused to be drawn into committing that India’s demand of restoring status quo as of April 2020 would be on the talks table.” That is ROUND 11 something for the two sides to discuss,” Indian Army’s he said. April 2020 refers to the pre-incur14 Corps sion situation along the LAC. Commander Lt His Indian counterpart Arindam Gen P G K Menon Bagchi said India would like disengageis scheduled to ment in remaining areas of friction. meet his Chinese counterpart Major “This will provide us the atmosphere of General Lin Liu on improving bilateral ties,” he said. The last round of talks was held on FebFriday in Chushul, ruary 19 at Moldo on the Chinese side of which is on the the LAC, immediately after full disenIndian side of gagement from all friction points at Panthe LAC gong Tso. Both sides had pulled back their heavy artillary and troops on both the north and south banks of the Pangong lake in a phased, coordinated and verified manner a few weeks ago. The stand-off, however, continues at Depsang, Gogra, Hot Spring, and in the Charding Ninglung Nallah track junction in the Demchok sector. Suggests micro-containment zones; raps vax politics 1,15,736 M AYA N K S I N G H A N D P U S H K A R B A N A K A R @ New Delhi National lockdown ruled out, says Modi 59,856 Fresh India, China disengagement talks to be held today WHAT THE RULES SAY Beneficiaries argue with officials outside a closed Covid-19 vaccination centre in Mumbai after the jab went out of stock on Thursday | PTI SHORTAGE of Covid-19 vaccines has forced 60 vaccination centres across Maharashtra to shut — 27 in Mumbai alone. Satara, Sangali, Gondia and Panvel stopped vaccination on Thursday The state had . received 1.4 crore doses, of which just 9 lakh are left now. The Centre has announced 7.5 lakh more doses. In Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad, people were reportedly turned away by hospitals, citing unavailability of vaccines. Odisha has also reported acute shortage of doses. On Thursday alone, as many as 670 vaccination centres downed shutters due to the scarcity On Wednesday 692 centres were closed. . , However, the situation is fairly better in southern states except in Andhra where the vaccine stock will last only for the next two days. Other southern states have stock for over 10 days. CONTINUED ON: P9
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