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Friday, March 05, 2021

Daily Briefing: Activist Disha Ravi gets bail; Two new Covid strains found in three states

From the latest on the farmer protests in the National Capital, to the IT Ministry's new rules and guidelines for social media intermediaries; here are today's top stories.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
February 24, 2021 8:29:12 am
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Good morning, 

Big Story

Observing that the “offence of sedition cannot be invoked to minister to the wounded vanity of governments”, a Delhi court granted bail to Bengaluru activist Disha Ravi. The court also said “there is not even an iota of evidence” connecting the perpetrators of the Republic Day violence with PJF, a pro-Khalistani group, or Ravi. 

Only in the Express

Earlier this week, a video of a brawl over customers for chaat in a Uttar Pradesh town went viral on social media. With eight of them facing charges including attempt to murder, and the two chaat shops in questions shutdown, their families fear the worst and are unsure how to get their “their fathers, uncles and sons are freed from jail.:

From the Front Page

Two new Covid-19 strains — in addition to the three strains from the UK, South Africa and Brazil— have been detected in Maharashtra, Kerala and Telangana. But the Centre says there is no scientific evidence to suggest that the recent surge being reported by the first two states is linked to these variants.

BJP’s West Bengal state committee member Rakesh Singh was arrested by Kolkata Police in connection with a case in which Pamela Goswami, one of the state secretaries of the BJP Yuva Morcha, was arrested for allegedly possessing 76 gm of heroin. Goswami had alleged that Rakesh Singh had hatched a conspiracy to frame her and also named a senior BJP leader.

For nearly 22 years, there had been no leads about the prime accused in the gangrape of an IFS officer’s estranged wife in Cuttack. But just three months ago, the Bhubaneswar Police Commissionerate reopened the case following a “chance meeting” between the Police Commissioner and a co-accused who is serving time at Choudwar jail in Cuttack.

Must Read 

In a letter to public sector banks, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has noted that “sanctions and disbursements” of loans for street vendors, as part of a scheme instituted during the Covid-19 lockdown last year, have “slowed down”. The Ministry urged these banks to devise a suitable protocol for the return of applications.

As the IT Ministry gears up  to roll out the final version of the new rules and guidelines for social media intermediaries, several stakeholders have said they were not consulted on the changes. Earlier, the IT Ministry is learnt to have delayed the announcement of the new rules after stakeholders criticised some of the proposed changes, including cutting down the response time to 36 hours from 72 currently, and enforcing “traceability”.

The Bihar government is “closely monitoring” Covid testing data in the state and has “taken appropriate action” in cases where irregularities have been found, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said in the Assembly. This comes after an investigation by the Indian Express revealed several gaps in Covid data compiled by Primary Health Centres in at least four districts. 

Wanted by the Delhi Police for the violence that broke out on Republic Day, absconding gangster-turned-activist Lakha Sidhana appeared on the stage of a ‘Youth Mahapanchayat’ organised in Mehraj village in Punjab’s Bathinda district, in support of the farmers protesting at Delhi borders. The police recently announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh for anyone who shares information regarding Sidhana’s whereabouts.

ICYMI 

Nearly 25 years after he left Mumbai and fled the country, gangster Ravi Pujari was brought back to the city by the Mumbai crime branch to face prosecution in 10 cases. 

The Nepal Supreme Court reinstated the dissolved House of Representatives and ordered the government to summon the House session within the next 13 days, dealing a setback to Prime Minister K P Oli on his 70th birthday.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi found himself under BJP attack after he compared voters in Kerala with those in the north, praising the southern state for being “interested in issues”.

The BJP returned with a higher seat share than 2015 to all six municipal corporations in Gujarat, even as the urban voters gave the Congress a rap on the knuckles, leaving it with no seat in the Surat Municipal Corporation.

 A team of CBI officials questioned Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee’s wife Rujira Banerjee at their south Kolkata residence for nearly an hour in connection with the coal pilferage case.

And Finally 

After playing 18 Tests, 67 ODIs and 50 T20Is, and five years after his international debut, life will come full circle for pacer Jasprit Bumrah when he finally plays at his home ground in Ahmedabad. Among those who will get to watch him are his friends, family and his beloved ‘PT sir’ Vishnu Desai. 

Delhi Confidential: Led by MP Derek O Brien, the Trinamool Congress has taken to releasing “fact checks” on the speeches of BJP leaders in Bengal, in particular PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, accusing them of using “teleprompter script”, and pushing Mamata Banerjee’s achievements. The BJP later hit back on Twitter with its own version of “fact checking the fact checker”.

In today’s episode of ‘3 Things’, we look at what led to the political crisis in Puducherry, why milk prices are rising, and the results of the Gujarat civic polls. 

Until tomorrow,

Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose

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