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Sunday, February 28, 2021

Daily Briefing: Punjab CM cites state’s past, calls for resolution to farmer agitation; Journalist Punia gets bail

From the latest on the ongoing farmers' protests, to the Biden administration's first comments on the tensions along the India-China border; here are today's top stories.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
February 3, 2021 8:28:39 am
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Good morning,

Big Story

“If anger builds here, it will be exploited.” Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh sounded caution over the farmers’ protest, saying prolonged negotiations in the past had led to Operation Blue Star in 1984. He also warned that the threat from Pakistan couldn’t be undermined. 

Opposition leaders raise slogans in Rajya Sabha. (Source: RSTV grab)

Only in the Express 

Facing nationwide protests against port privatisation, the Rajapaksa government in Sri Lanka cancelled an agreement signed by the previous regime in 2019 for India and Japan to develop the strategic East Container Terminal (ECT) at Colombo port with Adani Group as an investor. Sri Lanka offered India another project at the same facility but it is not keen on the arrangement. 

The Rajasthan government cleared a proposal to reorganise the boundary of Bharatpur’s Bandh Baretha wildlife sanctuary to allow mining of the unique pink Bansi Paharpur sandstone named after the area. The sandstone has been in demand for the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya.

Front Page

Freelance journalist Mandeep Punia, who was accused of obstructing police from doing their duty and causing injuries to their personnel at a farmers’ protest site, has been granted bail by a Delhi court. The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate  cited the nearly seven-hour delay in filing an FIR and low chances of the complainant—Delhi Police personnel—from being influenced by the accused.    

Delayed for over a year, the rules for the Citizenship (Amendment) Act may take five more months to be framed, the government told Parliament. It also clarified in the Rajya Sabha Tuesday that no decision has been taken on a nationwide National Register of Citizens yet. 

Rejecting the bail application of former BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta, who was arrested in the alleged TRP rigging case, a sessions court in Greater Mumbai said “the case paper in the present crime reflect that the accused is the mastermind” and if he were to be released on bail at this stage, then there is “every possibility” that he may tamper with evidence and prosecution witnesses.

Must Read

In its first direct comments on the tension along the India-China border, the Biden administration has expressed “concern” over Beijing’s “ongoing attempts to intimidate its neighbours”. A top Biden administration official said that the US will stand with its allies to advance its shared values in the strategically-vital Indo-Pacific region. US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan earlier said they would continue Trump-era policies on Quad. 

In PM Narendra Modi’s recent ‘Mann Ki Baat’ address, he hailed the efforts of 72-year-old NS Rajappan, who has been cleaning Kerala’s Vembanad lake for the last 15 years, despite both his legs being paralysed. Rajappan said it was sheer curiosity that drove him towards this effort and he never realised its importance. “But people, who used to watch me collect the bottles every day, told me that I was doing something big,” he said. 

A flurry of vulture deaths in four villages in Assam’s Tinsukia district last month led its residents to honour the birds in a unique way — by holding a ‘shraddha’ or prayer meeting. “If we can grieve for human beings, why can’t we do the same for birds and animals?” asked 30-year-old Nibul Bora of Dhulijan village, who helped organise the ceremony.


ICYMI

The CBSE has released its date sheet for class 10 and 12 boards, which are scheduled to take place between May 4 and June 10. Here is everything you need to know. 

Pune police registered an offence against Sharjeel Usmani, a student leader of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), for the alleged provocative speech delivered by him at ‘Elgaar Parishad 2021’, which was held in the city on January 30.

Ceasefire violations along the India-Pakistan border increased by almost 48 per cent in 2020 as compared to 2019, even as terrorist attacks in Kashmir were less than half during this period, the government told Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

During the Budget session yesterday, the Opposition raised slogans, staged walkouts and trooped into the well, as they raised their concerns about the Centre’s contentious new farm laws. Both Houses saw multiple adjournments before they were finally adjourned for the day.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court ordered Ahmad Saeed Omar Sheikh, the Pakistani-British man acquitted of the 2002 gruesome beheading of American journalist Daniel Pearl, off death row and moved to a so-called government “safe house.” He is set to be released on Saturday. 

And Finally 

Gurmukh Singh, 80, is the oldest person to have been taken into custody in connection with the violence that broke out in the National Capital on Republic Day. But who is he? A retired subedar from the Army, he is now a small farmer who grows wheat and paddy on his one-and-a-half acre plot of land in Shamaspur village, Fatehgarh Sahib district. 

Delhi Confidential: Once nicknamed Google Guru due to his knowledge of rulebooks and Parliamentary procedures, BJP MP S S Ahluwalia seems to be living up to his reputation. But it’s not about rules or procedures now. He has become the go-to person for Parliamentarians with the latest mobile phones.

In today’s episode of 3 Things, we look at the measured introduced by the government to deter farmers from protesting, the controversial Bombay HC order to acquit a man accused of sexual assault, and the government reiterating that no decision has been taken on NRC

Until tomorrow,
Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

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