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China occupies 1,000 sq. km of Indian territory in Ladakh

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BY S VENKAT NARAYAN,

Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, September 4:

About 1,000 square kilometres of area in India’s Ladakh region along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) is now under Chinese control, intelligence inputs provided to the Union Government here suggest.

China has been amassing troops and fortifying its presence along the LAC since April-May. Twenty soldiers were killed on June 15 in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in violent clashes with China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops.

The Hindu today quoted a senior government official as saying that, from Depsang Plains ti Chushul, there has been a systematic mobilisation by the Chinese troops along the undefined LAC.

The official revealed that in Depsang Plains, from patrolling point 10-13, the scale of Chinese control of India’s perception of the LAC stood at about 900 sq.km.

About 20 sq. km in Galwan Valley and 12 sq. km in Hot Springs area is said to be under Chinese occupation, the official said. In Pangong Tso, the area under Chinese control is 65 sq. km, whereas in Chushul it is 20 sq. km, the official said.

The standoff at the China border continues even after several rounds of diplomatic and military level talks. A partial disengagement commenced after Special Representatives (SRs) Ajit Doval and Wang Yi, tasked to hammer out a solution to the boundary dispute, spoke on July 5.

However, as per the agreement, Indian troops also moved back from their existing positions leading to the creation of buffer zones at all the disputed sites.

Chinese forces are occupying a considerable area from Finger 4 to 8 near Pangong Tso (lake). The distance between Finger 4-8, the mountainous spurs abutting the lake, is about eight km. The stretch was patrolled both by India and China till May and India considers it to form part of its perception of the LAC.

 

 

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Special COVID-19 probe crippled by infections among CCD sleuths: AG calls for new police team

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By Shamindra Ferdinando

Brandix Apparel Limited yesterday (29) said that the company would fully cooperate with relevant authorities in the investigation ordered by the Attorney General (AG). A spokesperson for the company said so when The Island sought a clarification with regard to AG Dappula de Livera, PC, directing the police to launch a criminal investigation into the alleged lapses on the part of the company as well as those officials leading to the devastating COVID-19 outbreak.

The Minuwangoda eruption, which happened in the first week of October is widely believed to be the cause of the fast expanding Peliyagoda cluster.

Asked whether the police had contacted the Brandix management as regards the investigation and sought access to Brandix management and workers at its Minuwangoda apparel manufacturing facility as well as records at the Minuwangoda facility, the spokesperson said: “We will work with the relevant authorities in this regard”.

The Colombo Crime Division (CCD) tasked with the probe has suffered a serious setback due to a section of its officers being tested positive for COVID-19. Authoritative sources said that the CCD lacked sufficient strength to carry out the investigation.

AG de Livera early this week told DIG Ajith Rohana that a progress report should be submitted to him by or before Nov. 13.

Sources said that the badly depleted CCD was not in a position to conduct the high-profile investigation, in addition to other ongoing inquiries. The AG has directed the Acting IGP to constitute a special team of law enforcement officers to conduct the investigation. Sources acknowledged the urgent need for a thorough inquiry into the far worse second corona wave. Sources said that the AG issued fresh instructions in that regard after the crisis in the CCD was brought to his notice.

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Most garment workers under self-quarantine left to fend for themselves

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

A large number of garment workers who were undergoing self-quarantine in Minuwangoda did not receive any assistance, Chamila Thushari of the Dabindu Collective, a labour organisation that works with garment workers, told The Island yesterday.

She said that those who were under self-quarantine did not have money to purchase food and even those who were willing to help could not reach them.

“Some of them have received food parcels from their work places but that is not adequate. Most others have not received any assistance. Matters will only get worse after curfew is imposed throughout the Western Province,” Thushari said.

Most of these workers are undergoing self-quarantine at their boarding places, which also house individuals who still work in garment factories. “Although there is a curfew, they can go to work. These are perfect incubators for the virus,” she said.

Thushari said that every day between 20-30 workers under self-quarantine, tested positive for COVID-19.

There were no public health inspectors to monitor the boarding houses of garment workers to ensure that COVID-19 prevention measures were being followed, she said.

“Not even Grama Niladaris visit them,” Chamila said.

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SJB requests separate seats for its dissidents

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Chief Opposition Whip and Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella has written to Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena requesting him to make arrangements to provide separate seats to the nine MPs who had voted with the government for the 20th Amendment to the Constitution recently.

The letter dated yesterday said that the SJB parliamentary group had decided to expel MPs Diana Gamage, A. Aravind Kumar, Ishak Rahuman, Faisal Cassim, H. M. M. Haris, M.S. Thowfeeq, Nazeer Ahmed, A.A.S.M. Raheem and S.M.M. Musharaf and it requests the Speaker to make separate seating arrangements for these MPs in the Chamber.

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