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Saturday, January 16, 2021

Daily Briefing: Farmers agree to continue talks with Centre; Public office has to face criticism, says Bombay HC

From over 30 award-winning athletes extending their support to the protesting farmers by returning their awards, to the alleged theft of Rs 5.25 crore from the daily collection of the Statue of Unity in Gujarat; here are today's top stories.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: December 2, 2020 9:00:32 am
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Good morning,

The Big Story

After camping for the last six days at Delhi’s borders, the centre opened talks with representatives of 35 farmer unions. The two sides agreed to meet again tomorrow after the farmer representatives rejected the suggestion to set up a committee to look into their demands.

Meanwhile, In the current standoff over the three agricultural reform legislations, the farmers seem to have time on their side. In Punjab and Haryana, the sowing of wheat for the new Rabi season is virtually over. The timing of the capital siege and ability to stay put for the next few weeks could work to their advantage.

From the Front Page

Shifting the burden of proof of a lawful religious conversion from the converted to his/her partner; different jail terms depending on gender; legitimising the intrusion of the state and third parties in the choice of who an individual wishes to marry—the new Uttar Pradesh “love jihad law” raises several questions of Constitutional propriety.

“If we do not allow the younger generation to express, how will they know that what they are expressing is right or wrong.” This observation was made by the Bombay High Court while hearing a plea filed by a 38-year-old woman who was booked for allegedly making offensive remarks on social media against Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and his son Aaditya Thackeray.

A cash management agency engaged by the HDFC bank has been booked after Rs 5.25 crore was found missing from the daily cash collection account of Statue of Unity and its allied projects. The money was allegedly siphoned off between October 2018 and March.

Only in the Express

Despite the Maharashtra government making it compulsory for travellers arriving from Delhi, Rajasthan, Goa and Gujarat to undergo Covid testing, thousands of them are slipping away everyday without being tested at the Mumbai airport. Low airport staff to manage the rush, testing kiosks set up close to the baggage collection belts are among the reasons being cited for the poor screening.

In Goa, the first election promise for the 2022 polls has been made: “imposition of compulsory siesta hour”. Goa Forward Party leader and BJP ally Vijai Sardesai has said that the need to preserve “sussegad” — that typically Goan characteristic that lies somewhere between being laid back and indolent — is tied to the fight against bigger changes sweeping across the state.

Must Read

More than 30 former Olympic and continental medal winners — led by basketball player and Arjuna awardee Sajja Singh Cheema — have said that they will return their awards to the President in support of protesting farmers. The group now plans to write a letter to President Ram Nath Kovind seeking an appointment.

Following a meeting on Tuesday evenings, the Trinamool Congress has claimed to have “sorted out” all issues with rebel party leader Suvendu Adhikari, who resigned as State Minister on Friday. While Adhikari is yet to comment, a close aide of his has said the former minister will probably announce his stand after speaking with his family.

With the country expected to witness its largest vaccination drive against Covid-19 next year, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan clarified that the “government has not spoken about vaccinating the entire country”. The government’s priority will be to first vaccinate a critical mass of the population and break the chain of transmission of the virus, he said.

ICYMI

Canada PM Justin Trudeau extended his support to the farmers protesting against three farm laws.

The SC has declined to interfere with a Bombay HC order upholding the decision of the ICICI Bank to sack Chanda Kochhar as its Managing Director and CEO.

Compared with the 41 per cent voter turnout in the first phase of the District Development Council (DDC) polls in Kashmir, only a third of voters cast their votes in the second phase.

After a Chennai-based trial participant sought compensation for suffering “a severe adverse reaction”, the Centre has said there is no need to stop vaccine trials.

Amid protests by the PMK demanding reservations for the Vanniyar community, the Tamil Nadu government will set up a commission to conduct a caste-based survey in the state.

And Finally

Delhi confidential: Farmer leaders who met Union Ministers Narendra Singh Tomar and Piyush Goyal refused to join them for a cup of tea and instead invited the ministers to join them at langars organised by farmers camped on Delhi’s borders.

In today’s episode of the Three Things podcast, we’re looking at Tamil superstar’s Rajinikanth’s potential entry into politics and why terror tunnels from Pakistan are a worry for security forces.

Until tomorrow, 

Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose

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