27122021-TTB-01.qxd 12/27/2021 12:06 AM Page 1 13 CHANDIGARH | GURUGRAM | JALANDHAR | BATHINDA | VOL. 141 NO. 357 | 14 PAGES | ~5.00 | REGD. NO. CHD/0006/2021-2023 ESTABLISHED IN 1881 HARYANA KL RAHUL UNBEATEN AT 122, INDIA IN COMMAND SPORTS /thetribunechd TERRORIST KILLED IN ANANTNAG ENCOUNTER J&K GEAR UP TO REMAIN RELEVANT IN GLOBAL MARKET INFOCUS BACK PAGE monday | 27 december 2021 /thetribunechd www.tribuneindia.com Blast accused was in touch with drug kingpin, calls traced Nikhil Bhardwaj MADE FROM JAIL Tribune News Service Ludhiana, December 26 The role of Ludhiana Central Jail authorities has come under scanner in connection with the recent court complex blast here. It is learnt that the conspiracy for the incident was hatched by the suspects using mobile phones while lodged in this jail. Drug kingpin Ranjit Singh Cheeta and terror case undertrial Sukhwinder Singh Soni, both lodged in the jail, reportedly had phone calls with blast suspect Gagandeep Singh, a dismissed Punjab Police constable who died in the incident. Sources claimed the police had seized mobile phones used by Cheeta and Soni to communicate with Gagandeep and to facilitate his interaction with some proKhalistani activists. Despite the fact that around 150 phones are seized from Ludhiana Central Jail inmates every year, the authorities have neither been able to ascertain the channel through which inmates obtain phones nor could they establish connivance of jail officials. Jail Superintendent Balkar Undertrials lodged in the Ludhiana Central Jail reportedly had phone calls with blast suspect Gagandeep Singh, who died in the incident Singh said inmates might obtain phones with the help of outsiders who lobbed these over the jail boundary wall or there might be connivance of some corrupt jail officials. “Soni and Cheeta are being quizzed and the police will soon come to know how they obtained the phone,” he said. In May this year, a hookah party video of Manvinder Singh, alias Nikka Jatana, who faces 16 criminal cases, had gone viral. In June 2020, Nikka Jatana reportedly planned a murderous attack on his rival gangsters using a phone while lodged in the jail. Later, he accepted the responsibility for the attack via a social media post. On April 28, 2019, the STF nabbed a woman smuggler with 440 gm heroin. The drug racket was being run by her son from the jail using a mobile phone. Central panel to weigh AFSPA rollback Five-member committee to submit suggestions in 45 days, says Nagaland CM Rio Mukesh Ranjan BOTCHED OP: 14 CIVILIANS KILLED IN EARLY DEC Tribune News Service New Delhi, December 26 The Centre has decided to constitute a five-member panel to look into the demand for the withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from states in the North-East region. Announcing this, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, in an official statement (a copy of which is with The Tribune), said the Centre had decided “to institute a five-member ■ Fourteen civilians were killed in a botched counter-insurgency op earlier this month in Nagaland’s Oting village that triggered a demand for withdrawal of the AFSPA. PERSONNEL BEING PROBED FACE SUSPENSION ■ A court of inquiry will initiate disciplinary proceedings Panel led by Vivek Joshi, Secy (Border Management), to include Addl Secy (NE), Nagaland CS & DGP, Assam Rifles DG committee to look into the withdrawal of AFSPA from northeastern states”. against the Army personnel involved in the Oting incident. ■ The identified persons facing the probe will be placed under suspension with immediate effect, Nagaland Chief Minister said. The panel will be headed by Vivek Joshi, Secretary (Border Management), MHA, and will include Additional Secretary (North-East), MHA, Nagaland Chief Secretary Tribune News Service New Delhi, December 26 A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced expansion of vaccination coverage, the Congress demanded jabs for children between 5 and 15 years. Demanding that the government must follow a clear vaccination policy, the Opposition party also asked the PM to spell out the plan for combating the pandemic. Taking a swipe at the PM for holding political rallies, the Congress said, while in Uttar Pradesh gatherings at weddings were being limited to 200, Modi was holding A medic collects sample of a commuter for RT-PCR test in New Delhi. 9-12 MONTH GAP BETWEEN 2ND SHOT, BOOSTER? The gap between the second dose of Covid-19 vaccine and the booster shot, which is being called a “precaution dose”, is likely to be nine to 12 months, sources said on Sunday. huge rallies. On Saturday, the PM had announced that vaccination for children between 15 and 18 years would start from January 3, while the “precaution dose” for healthcare and frontline workers would be administered from January 10. In an address to the nation, Modi said the precaution dose would also be available for citizens above 60 years of age having comorbidities on the advice of their doctors from January 10 next year. Briefing media at AICC headquarters here, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala alleged that the Modi government had “failed India” during the pandemic. He said, “Modi ji failed the migrant workers, poor and small traders during the Covid waves.” continued on page 11 HP CM hints at reshuffle as govt completes 4 years New Delhi, December 26 Over 4.43 crore income tax returns (ITRs) for financial year 2020-21 have been filed till December 25 with no indication of a further extension in the deadline (December 31) despite the fact that the number so far is over 1.5 crore less than that for the last year. The Income Tax Department said 11.68 lakh returns were filed on Christmas. Pratibha Chauhan IN NUMBERS Returns filed 2020-21 5.95 cr 2018-19 Shimla, December 26 With the BJP government in Himachal completing four years in power, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur has stressed the need for changes both in the government and party set-up to improve functioning. Thakur’s reply came when questioned on the BJP’s 0-4 loss to the Opposition Congress in the recent bypolls to one Lok Sabha and three Assembly seats. “Several factors, including sympathy wave after the death of former CM Virbhadra Singh, were to blame. But I do admit the need for change in the government as well as the BJP’s organisational set-up. The high command has been apprised and it will act at an opportune time,” the CM said in an interview with The Tribune. Asked whether he was satisfied with the performance of his Cabinet colleagues, Thakur said, “I am more or WORKING TOWARDS ‘MISSION REPEAT’ ❝ The defeat in the recent byelections came as an eyeopener ahead of the Vidhan Sabha elections. We will work more aggressively to achieve ‘mission repeat’. Jai Ram Thakur, HIMACHAL CHIEF MINISTER less happy with the performance of my ministers, but there is always a scope for improvement. Any decision on reshuffle will be taken by the central leadership.” On how he and his party took the bypoll debacle and what would be the BJP’s strategy to reverse the trend in the 2022 Assembly elections, he said, “Whatever the reasons, it’s the victory that matters in the end. The bypoll defeat came as an eyeopener ahead of the Vidhan Sabha elections. We will work more aggressively to achieve ‘mission repeat’.” He claimed that for the “factionridden” Congress, putting up continued on page 11 5.67 cr Of the total, 2.41 crore ITR1 returns were filed for fiscal 2020-21. ITR-1 form is filed by resident individuals having annual income below Rs 50 lakh and is considered a marker of middle class. The filings so far are 58 lakh less than 2.99 crore ITR1 returns filed for the previous fiscal. The figure was 3.11 crore for the 2018-2019 fiscal. ITR-4 filings have been showing an increase. Last year, over 1.49 crore ITR-4 returns were filed. This year, 1.09 crore ITR-4 returns have been filed so far. — TNS Snowflakes bring cheer Never said farm laws will be back, Rahul creating confusion: Tomar Tribune News Service Tourists take delight in light snowfall in Shimla on Sunday. AMIT KANWAR New Delhi, December 26 A day after his purported comments on farm laws led to political mudslinging, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar today clarified that he never said that the Centre would bring the legislations back. “I had said that the government had made good (farm) laws. We took them back due to some reasons. The govern- CHEAP POLITICS ❝ People like Rahul Gandhi indulge in cheap politics. They have unsuccessfully tried to mislead the country. NS Tomar, AGRI MINISTER ment will continue to work for the welfare of the farmers,” he said. The Congress had react- Tributes paid to Dabwali fire tragedy victims Deepender Deswal Tribune News Service Hisar, December 26 A large number of people turned up here today for a blood donation camp organised as a tribute to the victims of the Dabwali fire tragedy, an incident that had claimed 442 lives at a school function on December 23, 1995. Among the dead were 173 children, all below 10 years. It was perhaps the most heartrending day for not only Dabwali, but the entire coun- BIHAR BOILER BLAST KILLS 7 Desmond Tutu dead Johannesburg/New Delhi, December 26 Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South Africa’s anti-apartheid icon who won the Nobel Peace Prize for fighting racial discrimination in the country, died on Sunday at the age of 90. President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that Tutu passed away in Cape Town in the early hours of Sunday. Tutu, who previously survived tuberculosis, had undergone a surgery for prostate cancer in 1997. He was also hospitalised several times in recent years for various ailments. “The passing away of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu is another chapter of bereavement in our nation’s farewell to a generation of outstanding South Africans who have bequeathed us a liberated South Africa,” Ramaphosa said. “Desmond Tutu was a man of extraordinary intellect, integrity and invincibility against the forces of apartheid, he was also tender and vulnerable in his com- PM, Dalai Lama express grief DESMOND TUTU GUIDING LIGHT ❝ He was a guiding light. His emphasis on human dignity and equality will be forever remembered. PM Modi LOST A GREAT MAN ❝ He lived a truly meaningful life. The best tribute will be to see how we too can be of help to others. Dalai Lama passion for those who had suffered oppression, injustice and violence under apartheid, and oppressed and downtrodden people continued on page 11 IN BRIEF Health Secretary to brief EC on Covid today NEW DELHI: As the Election Commission prepares for polls in five 4.43 cr 2019-20 Tribune News Service and DGP and the Assam Rifles Director General. Rio further said the committee would submit its recommendations within 45 days, based on which the Centre will decide whether to continue to designate Nagaland as a “disturbed area” or withdraw AFSPA from the state. The statement was jointly issued by Rio, Deputy CM Y Patton and leader of Naga People’s Front Legislature Party TR Zeliang in Kohima. continued on page 11 Cong seeks vaccine for 5-15 age group Anti-apartheid icon 1.5 cr fewer I-T returns filed so far Fiscal BRAHMOS TO SERVE AS A DETERRENT: RAJNATH try as hundreds of students of local DAV Public School and their parents, who had gone to attend the school’s annual day function, got trapped in the fire. The function was being held in a makeshift tent, which caught fire probably due to short-circuit. Almost every family in the town was affected and the scars of the tragedy are visible even today. Though a remembrance function is held every year in Dabwali on December 23, a self-help group, Surbhi Man- 26th anniv: Blood donation camp held BLAZE KILLED 173 KIDS ■ The fire that engulfed a makeshift tent during a school function left 442 dead ■ Among the victims were 173 children below 10 yrs of age ■ Almost every family in Dabwali was affected by tragedy av Kalyan Samiti, on Sunday organised the blood donation camp to mark the 26th anniversary of the incident. The group was constituted in the memory of five-yearold Surbhi who was among the victims, said founder member Surender Narang. She was the daughter of Anil Kumar Rao, adviser to the Haryana Chief Minister on public safety and good governance. A 1994-batch IPS officer, he retired as ADGP in 2020. Incidentally, Rao was then posted as Dabwali DSP and was present at the function and his daughter was about to perform on the stage when the fire broke out. “Rao had joined in Dabwali only four days before the tragedy. He suffered nearly 40 per cent burns and saved several children, but couldn’t save his own daughter,” said Narang. It was the group’s fourth blood donation camp and 90 units were collected. Interacting with the donors, Rao appreciated the gesture. Vinod Kumar Bansal, a municipal council member continued on page 11 ed to his earlier comments and said the Centre would try to bring back the farm laws with amendments after the Assembly elections in five states. “There is no proposal to bring back agriculture reform laws. People like Rahul Gandhi indulge in cheap politics. These people have tried unsuccessfully to mislead the country by misquoting my statement. There is no such proposal to bring back the repealed laws,” Tomar said. states, its top brass is slated to interact with Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Monday for updates on the Covid situation. PTI AAP declares 15 more candidates in Punjab CHANDIGARH: The AAP on Sunday declared 15 more candidates in Punjab. In Rupnagar, the party has allotted ticket to Dinesh Chadha and dropped current MLA Amarjit Singh Sandoa. TNS Winter helicopter service in Ladakh from Dec 29 KARGIL:The winter helicopter service in Ladakh will commence on December 29. Ladakh remains cut-off from the rest of the country owing to heavy snowfall. PTI I’m a 24-carat Congress man, says Azad JAMMU: Ghulam Nabi Azad, among those who sought a organi- sational overhaul, on Sunday put to rest speculation about his “exit”, calling himself a "24-carat Congress man”. PTI Taliban govt dissolves Afghan election panels ISLAMABAD:The Taliban-run government dissolved Afghanistan's two election commissions as well as the state ministries for peace and parliamentarian affairs on Sunday, official sources said. AP HP cricketers lift Hazare Trophy Subhash Rajta Tribune News Service Shimla, December 26 Himachal Pradesh are no longer minnows in domestic cricket. The team shed the tag it had been carrying for decades in style, thumping Tamil Nadu, arguably the country’s best limited-overs team currently, to win Vijay Hazare Trophy and become the 50-over national champion. HP shocked TN in the final of the country’s premier 50over tournament in Jaipur on NO LONGER MINNOWS It’s not easy to beat a team like Tamil Nadu which has several India and IPL stars. In comparison, there’s not a single player from this team in the IPL. ❝ Rajeev Nayyar, FORMER CAPTAIN Sunday, with Shubham Arora leading the way with an unbeaten 136. “It’s a massive achievement, can’t be described in words,” said Shakti Singh, a former HP pace bowler. “A huge mental barrier has been broken. Never again will players from the state think they can’t win big games and trophies. The players will now come with a different approach and attitude.” To the casual observer, the victory may appear a stroke of luck. For those who know HP cricket inside out, it is a reflection of serious efforts being made at the grassroots level to produce good cricketers. continued on page 11
The Tribune, now published from Chandigarh, started publication on February 2, 1881, in Lahore (now in Pakistan). It was started by Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, a public-spirited philanthropist, and is run by a trust comprising four eminent persons as trustees.
The Tribune, the largest selling daily in North India, publishes news and views without any bias or prejudice of any kind. Restraint and moderation, rather than agitational language and partisanship, are the hallmarks of the paper. It is an independent newspaper in the real sense of the term.
The English edition apart, the 133-year-old Tribune has two sister publications, Punjabi Tribune (in Punjabi) and Dainik Tribune (in Hindi).