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Friday, February 26, 2021

Daily Briefing: Siddique Kappan can visit mother, can’t talk to media, says SC; With eye on election, Mamata serves up Rs 5 a platter scheme

From the Supreme Court allowing jailed journalist Siddique Kappan to visit his ailing mother in Kerala to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee launching a meal scheme, here are today's top stories.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: February 16, 2021 8:59:02 am
Daily briefing: Congress Puducherry govt falls, BJP, ADMK weigh options; Bombay High Court gives Varavara Rao bailA look at the top news today, February 23, 2021.

The Big Story 

The Delhi Police issued non-bailable warrants against Mumbai-based advocate Nikita Jacob and her associate Shantanu, an engineer, saying they were allegedly responsible for creating the toolkit tweeted by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg on the farmers’ protest. Police believe they enlisted 22-year-old climate activist Disha Ravi because she “has contact with Greta”. 

Express Editorial: Weaponising an advocacy document to arrest an activist signals paranoia, not democratic power.

Only in the Express

 Himanta Biswa Sarma, BJP leader and minister in the Assam government, writes: “Congress has conveniently forgotten its record in dismantling and weakening the MSP regime.  It was a bit rich to see former Union Minister Kapil Sibal argue in the Rajya Sabha that the current regime is not willing to give even MSP to farmers.”

From the Front Page

Referring to the arrest of climate change activist Disha Ravi by the Delhi Police, Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij has called for complete eradication of people who have anti-national thoughts”. He later added, “I do not say that objecting to government’s policies is a crime. It is democracy and anybody can object on any issue. But conspiring with foreign forces to raise an objection comes under the category of anti-national. 

The Supreme Court sought WhatsApp’s response on seeking to restrain it from implementing its new privacy policy in the country, observing that it was the duty of the court to protect people’s privacy. “People have grave concern about their privacy. You may be a two trillion or three trillion company, but people value their privacy more…,” Chief Justice of India S A Bobde said. 

Journalist Siddique Kappan, who was arrested on his way to Hathras in Uttar Pradesh, was granted five days interim bail to visit his ailing mother in Kerala. The Supreme Court, however, laid down a few conditions: “he shall not give any interview to any media including the social media”; and, “he shall not meet the members of the public”

Must Read

With an eye on the upcoming West Bengal Assembly elections, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee launched a meal scheme named “Maa” under which the government will provide a meal mostly to poor people at a nominal cost of Rs 5. People will get a platter of rice, dal, a vegetable and egg curry.

Now, a nodal agency set up by the central government will deal with complaints of financial fraud and pesky SMSes and calls from tele-marketers. Special strategies, including blocking of telecom operations in regions, such as Jamtara and Mewat, which are infamous for running digital fraud transaction centres, shall also be taken. 

Witnessing a spike in infections in several pockets of Maharashtra, including Mumbai and Amravati, the state epidemiology cell has decided to do genome sequencing on at least 5 per cent of RT-PCR positive Covid-19 cases daily. 

ICYMI

A year after the Delhi Police received prosecution sanction against former JNU Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar and nine others in the 2016 JNU sedition case, a Delhi court Monday took cognisance of the chargesheet and summoned all the accused on March 15.

Speaking at a kisan panchayat organised by Congress at Chandpur in Bijnor district of Uttar Pradesh, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra Monday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi could not differentiate between “deshbhakt (patriot)” and “deshdrohi (anti-national)”.

Retired Supreme Court (SC) Justice P B Sawant passed away in Pune on Monday morning. He was 91.

India will begin vaccinating its third priority group of people — those who are 50 years and above — in two or three weeks, but the crucial decision on whether the vaccine will be administered free of cost to this set of 26 crore people is being discussed by the expert group, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said on Monday.

Almost 19 years after a mob torched a coach of Sabarmati Express at Godhra station in Panchmahal district of Gujarat, leading to the death 59 “karsevaks”, key accused Rafiq Hussain Bhatuk has been nabbed from Godhra town, police said on Monday.

And Finally…

Ravichandran Ashwin’s Test century against England took him past Garry Sobers and closed in on Ian Botham in the record books. It was the third time in his career that he had taken a five-for and scored a century in the same match. Sobers and South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis did it twice, while Botham achieved the feat five times. 

Delhi confidential: Days after he was censured by his party, CPI leader from Bihar, Kanhaiya Kumar, has created a political buzz by meeting senior JD(U) functionary and state minister Ashok Choudhary. 

In today’s podcast, we take a look at why testing data was fudged in Bihar, the concerns it raises, and whether it should change our understanding of Bihar’s COVID-19 situation.

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