SATURDAY PM MODI TO ADDRESS U.S. CONGRESS JOINT SESSION FOR THE SECOND TIME 03 On June 22, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will share his vision of India’s future and speak on the global challenges facing the two countries JUNE, 2023 facebook.com/TheMorningStandard twitter.com/TheMornStandard JAPAN BIRTH RATE FALLS FOR 7TH YR IN ROW Govt is seen as too slow to take steps to address its rapidly shrinking population PAGE 9 A CAPITAL VIEW OF NEWS NEW DELHI AT LEAST 30 KILLED IN ODISHA TRAIN COLLISION B’luru-Howrah Exp rams into capsized bogies of Coromandel Exp HEMANT KUMAR ROUT @ Bhubaneswar OVER 30 passengers are believed to have died and hundreds injured in one of the most horrific railway accidents when the Coromandel Superfast Express derailed and was rammed by an express train coming from opposite direction at Bahanaga railway station in Balasore district on Friday . The accident took place around 7 pm after the HowrahChennai Coromandel Superfast Express reportedly derailed and its coaches landed on a parallel track. The capsized coaches were then rammed by Bengaluru-Howrah Express at Bahanaga, about 180 km from here. Bahanaga station comes under Bhadrak section of the South Eastern Railway . Under the impact of the collision, at least 15 Coromandel coaches went into a tailspin and capsized. The casualties could well rise as rescue teams found evacuation extremely tough with passengers crushed under the capsized coaches. The train which bore the brunt of the impact has a passenger capacity of 1,516. Going Rescue work on at the accident site in Odisha’s Balasore district on Friday | EXPRESS Stalin deputes minister, Mamata sends team CM Stalin has deputed transport minister S S Sivasankar and three IAS officers to Odisha to assist in rescue efforts. West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee sent a team to the spot to coordinate with the Odisha government and southern-eastern railway. by preliminary reports, the toll could go well beyond 30. Another source said the number may reach 50. The Odisha government and Indian Railways mounted a massive rescue operation but found it challenging to move the injured from the site to different hospitals in Balasore given the rising number of injured passengers. Railway sources said the Coromandel on the Up track derailed and its capsized coaches fell on the CONTINUED ON: P5 Down line. Kejriwal meets Soren, says Cong must take a call on ordinance M U K ES H RA N JA N @ Ranchi Weapons surrendered at different locations in Manipur | PTI Miscreants surrender 140 weapons in Manipur P R A S A N TA M A Z U M D A R @ Guwahati HOURS after Home Minister Amit Shah’s appeal, miscreants in Manipur surrendered over 140 weapons they had looted from police stations and battalions, officials said on Friday . After concluding his four-day visit to the state on Thursday, Shah had made an appeal to the miscreants to surrender the looted weapons. He had also warned the police would launch a combing operation from Friday and those found with weapons would be prosecuted. Self-loading rifles, carbine, AK and INSAS rifles, light machine guns, pistols, M16 rifles, smoke gun/tear gas, sten gun and grenade launcher were among the weapons surrendered. However, the surrendered weapons are only a fraction of the official account of looted arms. On May 8, Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh had revealed that 1,041 weapons and 7,460 cartridges were looted. He said 214 weapons and 4,273 bullets were recovered later. There were several other incidents of looting of arms and ammunition. Meanwhile, a statement issued by the chief minister’s office said at least 98 people lost their lives and 310 others were injured in the ethnic violence in Manipur. A total of 37,450 people are in 272 relief camps at present, it added. Dec 10, 1824 RARE HONOUR FOR INDIAN PRIME MINISTER epaper.morningstandard.in DELHI Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday met his Jharkhand counterpart Hemant Soren in Ranchi and said that it is for the Congress to decide whether they are with the Constitution and democracy or with PM Modi. Addressing a joint press conference with Soren, Kejriwal said that he would be writing to all the MPs, including those of the BJP, seeking their support against the Centre’s Delhi ordinance. Kejriwal, along with Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann, was in Ranchi to seek support from Soren against the Centre’s ordinance that nullifies a SC verdict and wrest control of services from Delhi government. When a reporter pointed out that the Congress has not made any statement on the ordinance, Kejriwal said that he has sought time from the party’s leaders and that he is sure they will help him in turning down the Bill in Parliament. “I can never even think of any party voting in favour of this ordinance in Parliament. Entire country is looking at this, and therefore, the Congress has to decide whether they are with the democracy, the Constitution, 140 crore people of this country or with Narendra Modi,” said Kejriwal. “All political parties will have ‘Spell out stand’ Arvind Kejriwal said that he can never think of any party voting in favour of the ordinance in Parliament. “...Therefore, the Congress has to decide whether they are with the democracy, the Constitution, 140 crore people of this country or with Narendra Modi,” said Kejriwal. to bend down before the people of this country as this ordinance is an attack on the independence, attack on the foundation of India,” he said. “Every MP is important for us, and therefore, I will write to the BJP MPs to seek their support against the ordinance,” said Kejriwal. “The BJP is in a habit of toppling elected governments, but they did not succeed in Delhi, hence it is not allowing us to work by bringing the ordinance,” he said. Kejriwal said that similar attempts were also made in Jharkhand, but Soren foiled their (BJP) plot. J8.00 PAGES 12 Ex-British PM Winston Churchill and South African prez Nelson Mandela are among the few who were accorded this rare honour on two occasions. Earlier, Modi had addressed a joint session in June 2016. Ex-PM Manmohan Singh had addressed the joint session on July 19, 2005, Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Sept 14, 2000, Narasimha Rao on May 18, 1994 and Rajiv Gandhi on July 13, 1985 WHEN THE TRADITION OF FOREIGN LEADERS ADDRESSING THE U.S. CONGRESS BEGAN BIDEN TO HOST MODI FOR STATE DINNER The invitation to Modi was issued by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries ■ ■ US President Joe Biden will host Prime Minister Modi for an Official State visit to the US, which will include a state dinner on June 22 Oppn cross as panel backs sedition law S H R U T I K A K K A R @ New Delhi APPALLED at the Law Commission of India recommending the retention of the colonial sedition law, the Opposition on Friday charged that the government wants to use its report to make it more draconian. The panel recommended amending the law to enhance the prison term for offenders from three years to seven years, and incorporating a clause on the “tendency to incite violence” or causing public disorder, citing a Supreme Court verdict in the Kedar Nath case. The tendency to incite violence would mean “mere inclination to incite violence or cause public order rather than proof of actual violence or imminent threat to violence”, which would make the law more draconian. In his pushback, Union law minister Arjun Ram Meghwal said the recommendations were persuasive but not binding, adding the final call would be taken only after consulting all the stakeholders. The report said the sedition law is the traditional penal mechanism to safeguard the unity and integrity on the country, adding it seeks to prevent violent, illegal, and unconstitutional overthrow of a democratically elected government. The Commission headed by former Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, in its report, said merely being a colonial legacy cannot be a valid ground for the repeal of Section 124A (sedition) of the Commission’s position Sedition law needed to combat antinational and secessionist elements Sedition is a reasonable restriction for the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression Existence of counter terror legislations like UAPA, National Security Act does not obviate the need for Section 124A Indian Penal Code. It went on to claim that the law is a reasonable restriction on the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression. The report also said repealing Section 124A merely because certain countries have done so would essentially mean turning a blind eye to the ground realities in India. The 42nd report of the Law Commission said the punishment under the sedition law was odd since it had two extremes — life imprisonment or three years in jail. “It is, therefore, suggested that the provision be revised to bring it in consonance with the scheme of punishment provided for other offences under Chapter VI. This would allow courts greater room to award punishment for a case of sedition in accordance with the scale and gravity of the act committed,” the report said. The Law Commission recommended the Centre to issue model guidelines to curb the misuse of Section 124A. Alternatively it suggested amending , Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to the effect that an FIR under Section 124A would be registered only after a police officer, not below the rank of Inspector, conducts P7 a preliminary inquiry . COVID ’83 World Cup team bats for PANEL wrestlers, farmers corner govt JOHNSON OFFERS ALL UNREDACTED WA TEXTS Former British PM handed over all his unredacted WhatsApp messages to public inquiry set up to probe the government’s handling of the pandemic | P9 Mere possession of meat not an offence, says Allahabad HC N A M I TA BA J PA I @ Lucknow THE Allahabad High Court has said that merely possessing or carrying meat cannot amount to sale or transport beef or beef products and that it cannot be a punishable offence under the UP Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act unless proven by sufficient evidence that the substance recovered is beef. The HC, in its May 25 order, which was uploaded recently, had granted bail to an accused booked under the UP Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act saying that the prosecution could not produce c o g e n t ev i dence that the substance recovered from the possession of accused was beef or b e e f product. Accused Ibran was held in March this year in connection with recovery of 30.5kg of meat from his possession and booked under the UP Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act, 1955. “Mere possession of meat by itself cannot amount to committing, abetting or attempting an offence under Section 3 of Act No 1 of 1956. No report of the competent authority or authorised lab has been shown to demonstrate that the meat recovered is beef,” observed Justice Vikram D Chauhan while granting bail to the accused. EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ Chennai/Chandigarh THE pressure is mounting on the Centre to take action against the sidelined Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh. After portions of the FIR against Singh went public, members of India’s iconic World Cup-winning team of 1983 came out with a statement against the manhandling of the wrestlers and hoped their grievances would be heard. Later on Friday evening, khap mahapanshayat set a June 9 deadline to arrest Singh. The Class of 1983 issued a statement saying: “We are distressed and disturbed at the unseemly visuals of our champion wrestlers being manhandled. We are also most concerned that they are thinking of dumping their hard earned medals into river Ganga.” Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat — all of whom have been demanding Singh’s arrest for a couple of months — were shoved and dragged during a protest march in New Delhi on Sunday Their tents and . belongings were forcibly removed from Jantar Mantar, their protest site since April 23. Left with no option, the wrestlers then went to Haridwar to immerse their medals in. “Those medals have involved years of effort, sacrifice, determination, and grit and are not only their own but the nation’s pride and joy,” the Class of 1983 said in their statement. “We urge them not to take any hasty decision in this matter and also fervently hope that their grievances are heard and resolved quickly Let the law of the land prevail.” . Indian cricket board president Roger Binny, who was part of the 1983 team, We are distressed and disturbed at the unseemly visuals of our champion wrestlers being manhandled. We are also most concerned that they are thinking of dumping their hard earned medals into river Ganga The Class of 1983 however, distanced himself from the statement. “Contrary to some media reports, I would like to clarify that I have not issued any statement regarding the current situation of the wrestlers’ protest,” Binny reportedly said. “I believe that the competent authorities are working on to resolve the issue. As a former cricketer, I believe that sports should not be mixed with politics.” In Kurukshetra, a mahapanchayat was held to decide the future course of action. After the mahapanchayat, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait said Singh should be arrested. “We are giving the government time till June 9 to act on the demand, else the agitation will be intensified by holding panchayats across the country and the wrestlers will return to Jantar Mantar to protest.” The representatives of various khaps and farmers’ outfits reached the Jat Dharamshala from Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. P3 Khaps set June 9 deadline After a khap mahapanchayat at Kurukshetra, with BKU leader Rakesh Tikait said WFI chief should be arrested and the government must act by June 9, or else the agitation will be intensified across the country and the wrestlers will return to Jantar Mantar to protest EXPRESS READ Stock limit on tur, urad pulses imposed Sisodia allowed to meet wife at home Siddu fixes timeline to meet poll promises In order to control the skyrocketing price of tur and urad dal and the crackdown on hoarders, the Centre has imposed the stock limit with immediate effect till the next harvesting season from September 1. The stock limits will apply to wholesalers, retailers, big chain retailers, millers and importers to prevent hoarding and speculation. The Delhi High Court on Friday allowed Manish Sisodia to meet his ailing wife at his residence on Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm. The HC made it clear that Sisodia shall not interact with the media or any other person except his family members, and not access phone or internet. He is under arrest in cases related to alleged irregularities in the now-scrapped excise policy. P3 The Karnataka cabinet on Friday decided to implement the five poll guarantees, without any discrimination of caste or religion, and has fixed a timeline to operationalise the schemes within this financial year, CM Siddaramaiah said. The cabinet held talks on the five guarantees and their implementation, Siddaramaiah, who headed the meeting, told reporters. P5 Send Ariha back home fast, 59 MPs from 19 parties write to German envoy Y ES H I S E L I @ New Delhi FIFTY-NINE MPs from 19 political parties have written to the German Ambassador to India asking for the early repatriation of Ariha Shah who has been under forced German foster care for over 20 months now. The MPs include Jaya Bachchan, Hema Malini, Shashi Tharoor, Mahua Moitra, Farooq Abdullah, Priyanka Chaturvedi and others. “Baby Ariha was taken away from her parents in September 2021 when she was seven months old by Jugendamt, German Child Services. This was after the child had suffered an accident and was hospitalised. An initial investigation had begun on allegations of child sexual abuse but this was found baseless and the case was closed in February 2022 without any charges being levelled against the parents. Following this the baby was shifted to a special child care and then moved to foster care. As MPs we have special responsibility for the welfare of our citizens. We request you to do whatever is necessary to send the child back to India,” said the letter signed by Rajya Sabha MP John Brittas on behalf of the other 58 MPs. The letter addressed to German Ambassador Dr Phillip Ackerman reads that though they respect German laws, German authorities to do all that is necessary: MEA German authorities took custody of Ariha Shah on September 23, 2021, when she was seven months old, alleging the parents harassed her. “We urge German authorities to do all that is necessary to send Ariha to India at the earliest...” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said. since there are no criminal cases against the parents, the child should be repatriated to India. The German Ambassador refused to comment on the letter. The parents of the child are practising Jains and have opposed what the child has been fed in foster care, which is contrary to their beliefs. The Ministry of External Affairs said it has been persistently advocating for Ariha’s return. MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said Ariha’s continued stay in the German foster care and “infringement” of her social, cultural and linguistic rights is of deep concern to the government of India and the parents. “We would like to reiterate that Ariha Shah is an Indian national and her nationality and socio-cultural background is the most important determinant of where her foster care is to be provided,” Bagchi said.
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