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Daily Briefing: Nation bids farewell to CDS Bipin Rawat; Govt warns against drop in usage of masks

Local residents and members of right-wing groups occupied a designated namaz site outside Gurgaon’s Sector 37 police station on Friday and conducted a “condolence meeting” to late CDS General Bipin Rawat and others killed in a tragic chopper crash.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
December 11, 2021 8:12:09 am
A look at the top news today, January 12, 2021.

Good morning,

Big Story

Some of them started at 4 am, making their way from Uttarakhand to reach the National Capital in time for a final glimpse of India’s first Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat, who hailed from the state. By noon, the crowds had swelled outside his official residence in the heart of Delhi as political leaders, senior military officers and the Chief Justice of India made their way inside to pay their last respects. After the Defence Minister laid a wreath, and the last bugle played out, the cremation ceremonies were conducted by General Rawat’s daughters, Kritika and Tarini, who lit the funeral pyre.  

Officials at the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington, Coonoor, waiting to receive the CDS on the afternoon of December 8, describe panic giving way to despair, as news came in of the crash. A senior IAF officer told The Indian Express that heavy security arrangements were in place for the visit, including the shutting of canteens. “The last time we had this security protocol was when the President came.”  

Only in the Express 

More than a year after Islamic State terrorists gunned down 25 people at Sri Guru Har Rai Sahib gurdwara in Kabul’s Shor Bazar, the family of Mahram Ali Shaghasi, the 43-year-old Afghan Muslim security guard who fell to their bullets that day, reached Delhi — to begin a “better life”. Mahram’s wife Fariba Gul Rok (40), son Abdul Wahid (23) and daughters, Murwarid (24) and Geeta (19), were among the 94 people, mainly Afghan Hindus and Sikhs, who landed on a special flight Friday. 

“You have to accept that architecture can be malleable.” That’s a sobering thought from Balkrishna Doshi, the most defining architect of post-independent India, at a time when cities are being renamed and reimagined. Doshi, 94, won the Royal Gold Medal 2022 in recognition of his lifetime work of over seven decades as a thinker, architect and academic who has been able to “undo, redo and evolve”. 

From the Front Page 

With several countries in Europe reporting a new surge in Covid-19 cases and Omicron emerging as a highly transmissible variant, the government warned Friday that India has “entered the danger zone” with mask usage in the country dropping to levels below the pre-second wave. Dr V K Paul, head of India’s Covid-19 task force, emphasised that mask usage “is a universal and social vaccine which is effective against any variant”. 

From creating chaos and instability in administration of justice to tribes to the erosion of the federal structure of the Constitution — a majority of states and high courts across the country cited reasons to disagree with the Centre’s proposal to establish the All India Judicial Services. According to data by the Union Law Ministry, only two state governments, Haryana and Mizoram, and two high courts, Tripura High Court and Sikkim High Court, are in favour of the government’s proposal.

Must Read 

Local residents and members of right-wing groups occupied a designated namaz site outside Gurgaon’s Sector 37 police station on Friday and conducted a “condolence meeting” to late CDS General Bipin Rawat and others killed in a tragic chopper crash. The group did not allow members of the Muslim community to offer Friday prayers, which were also disrupted at Sector 44 and Sector 29. This comes as Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said that namaz should not be offered in the open and the practice “will not be tolerated”. 

A recent Delhi High Court order stated that the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, which probes cross-border smuggling and duty evasion cases, has no power of seizure — a ruling, officials say, significantly limits its functioning and weakens several cases. The order follows a Supreme Court ruling of March 9 against DRI in the case of Canon India, which not only set aside the duty demand raised against Canon but also said the DRI has no power to issue show cause notices as DRI officers are not Customs officers. 

Since the second week of November, there have been continuous protests in Gwadar, Balochistan against mega development plans of the port city as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The protesters, rallying under the Gwadar Ko Huqooq Do Tehreek (Give Rights to Gwadar Movement), have sought to draw attention to marginalisation of the local people in the development of the port. We explain why the protests are happening as well as the concerns of India and the West. 

And Finally 

Yash Dhull had his first brush with fame hours after being named captain of the India Under-19 squad for the Asia Cup on Friday. The top-order batsman and off-spinner was the centre of attraction when he got to the Bal Bhavan International School’s academy ground in Dwarka. Yash, 19, obliged selfie-seekers and posed for group photographs. A coach told the trainees about Yash being a dedicated student of the game and the ideal role model.

Delhi Confidential: An informal note with a list of dignitaries who would be laying wreaths at the Palam air base on the mortal remains of Gen Bipin Rawat and others killed in the helicopter crash created confusion on Friday. The list included President Ram Nath Kovind. But as per protocol, the President does not lay a wreath on the mortal remains of any soldier.

Until tomorrow, 

Rahel Philipose and Rounak Bagchi

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

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