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Daily briefing: Veerappan’s daughter is now BJP youth wing leader; Glimmer in Delhi as Covid recoveries trend up

From the Centre seeking a report on the Rajasthan Congress' audio tapes to the "pathetic Covid situation" in Bengaluru, read the top stories from the print edition today.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: July 19, 2020 8:45:04 am
top news briefing today, top news today, india latest news, india latest news updates, rajasthan government crisis, ram temple, ram mandir construction date, india coronavirus latest updates July 19, 2020: A look at the top news today.

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The Big Story

The decade-long plan for the construction of the Ayodhya Ram Mandir took another step forward on Saturday after the Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to choose either August 3 or August 5 for the “bhoomi pujan” at the temple site. “The entire country is of the opinion that it (the bhoomi pujan) should be done by the Prime Minister,” Kameshwar Chaupal, one of the 15 members of the Trust, said.

From the Front Page

The two audio tapes purportedly showing a plot to topple the Ashok Gehlot government continued to add to the ongoing turmoil in Rajasthan with the BJP demanding a CBI probe into the phone tapping and the Centre seeking a report from the state government. Meanwhile, the government secured the support of 2 BTP MLAs, taking the number of legislators backing it (excluding the 19 rebels) to 103 in a House of 200.

At the centre of the war over these audio clips are Congress rebel MLA Bhanwarlal Sharma and Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. However, little is known about the third alleged person in the tapes, and the only one arrested in the case: Sanjay Jain. With both the BJP and Congress accusing him of being close to the other party, where does he belong? 

The Centre has offered to grant citizenship to an Afghan Sikh, who was abducted a month ago from a gurudwara in Afghanistan and released Saturday, under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act should he apply. Nidan Singh Sachdeva and his family moved to India in the 1990s — well before the required cut-off date of December 31, 2014 to be eligible for grant of Indian citizenship.

The Pandemic

After a continuous surge in Covid-19 cases, there is a glimmer of hope in the national capital that the spread is slowing. For 17 of the last 20 days, including 11 in a row now, the number of people recovering from Covid here has remained higher than newly detected infections — no other state has come close, yet. If the trend holds for at least two consecutive weeks, it could be an indication that the disease is reaching its peak and that a decline is around the corner. 

The case is entirely opposite in Bengaluru where the healthcare infrastructure, which seemingly had the Covid situation under control three weeks ago, is now wilting under the growing pressure, as cases have grown five-fold — from June 30 to July 17. The situation has prompted Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa to direct private hospitals to provide 50 per cent of beds as promised by them “with effect from tomorrow”. 

In the hierarchy of frontline workers, ambulance staff rank among the lowest. As one of them dies in Tamil Nadu, The Indian Express spends a day with two on duty in Delhi, India’s worst-hit city.

Beyond Covid-19

In a step that could give debtors significantly more elbow room to settle, the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal has held that a company can exit the insolvency process even if an interim resolution professional has been appointed and a moratorium has been imposed by the tribunal under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.

Action Replay: Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force and forensic teams re-enact the events leading to the ‘encounter’ of gangster Vikas Dubey in Kanpur district on Saturday. (PTI)

Vidhya Veerappan” — The name once struck terror across two states and an entire forest range in the Western Ghats. Today, it’s a surname that signals a new future. The daughter of forest brigand Veerappan, who was killed by police in 2004, is now a 29-year-old law graduate who runs a “school for kids” in Krishnagiri — and the new vice-president of the BJP’s Tamil Nadu youth wing.

And finally

A policeman and his colleague have nabbed a “wanted” guy and are on their way to hand him over to the authorities. The cop gets a phone call. It is an order. He puts a gun to the guy’s head and pulls the trigger. The bad guy collapses, the back of his head a splatter on the wall. Sounds familiar? The valorisation of the reel cop often blurs the line between vigilantism and justice. But beyond the larger-than-life screen persona, what does it say about our engagement with law enforcement?

🎧 International cricket made a comeback amidst the pandemic with the test series between England and West Indies. In our latest episode of podcast, we discuss West Indies’ win, the conditions under which the match took place and whether a live audience ends up helping or hurting the player’s performance and the viewing experience.

 

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