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Daily Briefing: General Bipin Rawat’s last rites today; Laws repealed, farmers end protest

The present government school uniform in Rajasthan — light brown shirt or kurta, over brown trousers, shorts, salwar or skirt — is undergoing a makeover as the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government feels it has too much resemblance to the dress of the RSS.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
December 10, 2021 8:03:07 am
A look at the top news today, January 5, 2022.

Good morning,

Big Story 

Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, the nation’s most senior military officer who was killed, along with his wife and 11 armed forces personnel, in an IAF helicopter crash near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu Wednesday, will be cremated with full military honours in New Delhi today afternoon. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who met the family members, led the nation in paying tribute by placing a wreath and offering petals before each of the 13 caskets.

Only in the Express 

D S Hooda, a former General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Indian army’s Northern Command, while expressing grief over General Bipin Rawat’s death, writes: “In less than two years after he was appointed the CDS, General Rawat initiated a series of military reforms that are highly significant in scope. With his drive and determination, he would have ensured that the process is taken forward. Now that General Rawat is not at the helm, it must be ensured that the momentum is not lost.”

India stands out as a “poor and very unequal country, with an affluent elite”, where the top 10% holds 57% of the total national income, including 22% held by the top 1%, while the bottom 50% holds just 13% in 2021, according to the World Inequality Report 2022. The report also flags a drop in global income during 2020. We explain the key findings for India and take a look at the reasons behind this rich-poor divide. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays tribute to those killed in the IAF chopper crash in Coonoor, in New Delhi on Thursday. (Photo: PTI)

From the Front Page 

Three weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the repeal of the three farm laws and days after Parliament officially annulled them, protesting farmers brought the curtains down on their year-long agitation at the Singhu border of Delhi. The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), which is an umbrella body of about 40 protesting farm unions, said that with the Centre agreeing to several demands, “the current agitation stands suspended”.  

Hours before the Samyukta Kisan Morcha met at the Singhu border to take a decision on the agitation, the farmers knew what was coming. They started to pack up, pulling down the tarpaulin sheets that covered their tractor trolleys. When the leaders finally announced that the agitation was suspended, celebrations began with protesters climbing atop tractors and dancing, and small groups breaking into song, all soaking in the “victory”.  

Must Read

Hours before the chopper carrying him and 12 others, including late CDS General Bipin Rawat, crashed near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu, Lance Naik B Sai Teja, made a video call to his wife in Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh. Meanwhile, the father of another victim of the crash, Lance Naik Jitendra Kumar Verma, recalls how his son promised to take him on a long trip when he was home next. The family of Junior Warrant Officer Arakkal Pradeep, on the other hand, is yet to break the news of his death to his father Radhakrishnan, who is on ventilator support due to a chronic pulmonary disease.

For most residents of Nagaland’s Oting village, including the six shot dead by the army on December 4, the mines of Tiru valley have grown to become a lifeline. Other mines are spread out over Nokzang, Wakching and Pogong areas of Mon district. A few tea plantations and broom grass and paddy cultivation are the other means of subsistence, but offer very little income. In a state that reports one of the highest unemployment rates (21.45%), for many residents, mines are the only way to get money. 

The present government school uniform in Rajasthan — light brown shirt or kurta, over brown trousers, shorts, salwar or skirt — is undergoing a makeover. Why, you ask? Well, according to the Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government, the uniforms brought in by the Vasundhara Raje government in 2017 bear too much of a resemblance to the dress of the RSS. Students will now wear a uniform that is a combination of surf blue and dark grey. 

And Finally

Former cricketer Dilip Vengsarkar on the BCCI’s decision to make Rohit Sharma the India white-ball captain across ODIs and T20Is: “I feel there will be no issue of having two power centers in the Indian dressing room. These are professional players after all and they will get on with the job at hand. The same will be the case for the youngsters, they will look to get their chance and grab it.”

Delhi Confidential: In her address at the Congress Parliamentary Party meeting on Wednesday, party president Sonia Gandhi mentioned the Army’s ambush in Nagaland and demanded justice for the victims. But there was no mention of repeal of AFSPA, which was a promise in the Congress’s 2019 Lok Sabha election manifesto. 

In today’s episode of the ‘3 Things’ podcast, we take a look at what we know about the IAF helicopter crash so far, and the legacy of one of India’s most celebrated soldiers.

Until tomorrow, 

Rahel Philipose and Rounak Bagchi

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

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