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Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Daily Briefing: Backing farmers, oppn to boycott President’s address; No bail for Munawar

From the latest on the ongoing farmer agitation in the National Capital, to an interview with Bill Gates on the pandemic and the challenges it has presented for humanity; here are today's top stories.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: January 29, 2021 8:34:10 am
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Good morning, 

The Big Story 

It was only four months ago the monsoon session of Parliament ended on a bitter note with chaotic scenes in Rajya Sabha over the passage of the agriculture laws. Battle lines are drawn once again, setting stage for a stormy budget session, with 17 Opposition parties declaring they would boycott the President’s customary address to the joint sitting of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in solidarity with farmers protesting against the laws. 

Only in the Express

In an interview with the Indian Express, Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates spoke about the challenges the pandemic has presented for humanity. Watch the interview here. 

The new tax system, announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the last Budget, is likely to be incentivised by allowing some more categories of financial savings instruments for taxpayers. A major overhaul of the income tax slabs in the earlier regime is less likely.

In an interview with the Indian Express, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh said that it would be unfortunate if the Centre uses the Red Fort incident as an “excuse” to close the door on farmers. “Those who are guilty of inciting violence, and those who actively indulged in lawlessness, should definitely be punished but this incident should not become a tool to destroy the farmers’ movement,” he said. 

From the Front Page

A move by UP’s Ghaziabad district administration to clear the farmers’ protest site at Ghazipur border backfired. The gathering had visibly thinned, a day after the  tractor rally spiralled into violence. But more farmers started arriving by late Thursday after police in anti-riot gear started spreading out at the site.

Comedian Munawar Faruqui, who has been in jail since January 1, was denied bail by the Madhya Pradesh High Court which observed that he made “scurrilous, disparaging utterances… outraging religious feelings of a class of citizens of India with deliberate” intention “under the garb of stand-up comedy”. 

“Travesty of justice.” That was how India described Pakistan Supreme Court’s order to release British-born terrorist Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who was convicted of abducting and murdering US journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002. India said the case truly demonstrated Pakistan’s intent on taking action on terror. 

Must Read

As many as 21 cases involving communal violence and violence in the course of cow protection were dropped by courts in Karnataka between October and December last year, based on an August 31, 2020 order by the BJP government. The beneficiaries were the BJP MP from Mysuru Prathap Simha, 206 members of Hindu groups, and 106 Muslims.

The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court recently held that acts like “holding the hands of a minor” and the accused “opening of zip of the pant” does not amount to sexual assault under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012. Such acts would instead amount to “sexual harassment” under Section 354-A(1)(i) of the Indian Penal Code, the court said.

ICYMI

The Union Health Ministry has flagged six states — including Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Delhi — that need to “improve their performance” on vaccinating their priority group. 

The postmortem of Navreet Singh, 24, who died during the farmers’ protests in the national capital on Republic Day, shows severe head injuries, and the report has “completely ruled out bullet injuries.”

Stressing on the need to check “instigating” content on television, the Supreme Court Thursday said the government appeared to be “doing nothing about it”.

UP police lodged a complaint against Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and six journalists, including Rajdeep Sardesai and Mrinal Pandey, for allegedly spreading misinformation on the farmers’ tractor rally on January 26.

And Finally

For Namya Joshi, school is no work, all “play”. The 13-year-old from Ludhiana received the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar on Monday for using popular video game Minecraft to reshape curriculum and turning classrooms into educational gaming sessions. So what’s next on the agenda for the young girl? Namya is simultaneously working on a book, a podcast and possibly a YouTube channel for normal Minecraft gameplay. 

Delhi Confidential: With the SC completing 71 years since its first sitting on Thursday, Chief Justice of India S A Bobde asked Attorney General K K Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta during a hearing why the day is not commemorated.

In today’s episode of 3 Things, we look at how Delhi may be inching towards herd immunity, the unprecedented standoff between the faculty and director at IIM Calcutta, and finally we take a  look at the statements made by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on India-China ties.

Until tomorrow, 

Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

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