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Daily Briefing: Omicron effect milder, don’t panic, says AIIMS chief; Dalit cook back at Uttarakhand school

On Friday, soon after a complaint was lodged by Sunita under the SC/ST Act and IPC Section 506 (criminal intimidation), the district administration announced that she would be reinstated.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
January 1, 2022 8:16:12 am
A look at the top news today, January 1, 2022.

Happy new year! 

Big Story 

As India continued to report a Covid surge with 16,764 new cases in the last 24 hours, and an active caseload of 91,361, AIIMS chief Randeep Guleria told The Indian Express that the highly infectious Omicron variant mainly affects the upper respiratory tract and airways, rather than the lungs — and those without comorbidities should not panic and start blocking hospital beds. 

Only in the Express 

As India steps into 2022, Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes: “As 2021 draws to a close, it could be argued that we are at a critical point in five crises that are intimately tied to these two impulses. But the hope in 2022 is that these reasons add up to cooperation, not the intractable conflicts we currently seem to be heading towards.”

Delhi police officials set up a barricade at Connaught Place in New Delhi on New Year’s Eve.

From the Front Page 

Days after Goods and Sales Tax authorities allegedly recovered unaccounted money worth over Rs 194 crore from locations linked to Kanpur-based perfume trader Peeyush Jain, the Income Tax department has conducted searches at premises in Kannauj of two more perfume traders, including Samajwadi Party MLC Pushpraj “Pampi” Jain. The searches were still on late Friday, with no official comment on the result, but they triggered a heated political exchange with the UP polls on the horizon. 

A one-member inquiry committee set up by the Uttar Pradesh government to probe land deals in Ayodhya involving relatives of officials and elected public representatives has submitted its report. The report will be placed before Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath next week. The CM had ordered the inquiry after The Indian Express published an investigative report that elected public representatives and relatives of state government officials bought land parcels in Ayodhya after the November 9, 2019, Supreme Court verdict clearing construction of a Ram temple in the district.  

The first unit of S-400 Triumf, the state-of-the-art air defence missile system bought from Russia, has been deployed in Punjab for protection against any strike from Pakistan and China, The Indian Express has learnt. Sources said the system has been deployed at one of the five IAF bases in the state, which borders Pakistan. The system is already available with China, which deployed it along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh amid the border standoff. 

Must Read

On the eve of the New Year, with their 14-month-old son and close friends watching, Anupama S Chandran and Ajith Kumar got married. The couple were reunited with their son just last month after he was given up for adoption against their will.  A DNA test had confirmed that the baby was theirs, ending the 23-year-old mother’s long search for him — against resistance put up by her own parents, police and the ruling CPM.

They call the post “bhojanmata”. It was the highest encomium Sunita Devi had ever received. It lasted all of seven days, after which the Dalit cook of Swatantra Sangram Senani Late Shri Ram Chandra Government Inter College in Jaul village of Uttarakhand’s Champawat district found herself out of the job, following protests. But on Friday, soon after she lodged a complaint, Sunita was reinstated. 

On Christmas Day, pastor Chunglenlal Singsit was returning home after praying for a family in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir, when a group of locals stopped him and accused him of trying to convert Dalit residents to Christianity by distributing money. Singsit, who belongs to Manipur, said the locals also directed him to chant “Jai Shri Ram”. When he refused, they slapped him.

In August, the Assam Cattle Preservation Act, 2021 replaced the Assam Cattle Preservation Act, 1950, on the ground that the latter lacked sufficient legal provisions to regulate the slaughter, consumption and transportation of cattle. We explain the new law, the amendments and the criticism. 

And Finally 

Selection committee chairman Chetan Sharma on Friday confirmed that the BCCI and the selectors did request Virat Kohli to continue as T20I captain, when he took the decision to step down before the T20 World Cup. Sharma spoke about how the white-ball captaincy change panned out and that Kohli was informed about it on the day of the Test team selection for the South Africa tour on December 8.

Delhi Confidential: With the Omicron variant of Covid-19 spreading fast, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home has deferred its week-long visit to Hyderabad and Goa beginning January 6. 

Until tomorrow, 

Rahel Philipose and Rounak Bagchi 

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