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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Daily Briefing: Probe into CDS chopper crash blames weather; Concern in Delhi over Myanmar conflict

Unveiling what it calls its “first-ever” National Security Policy, the Pakistan Army-backed government of Prime Minister Imran Khan has acknowledged that the “employment of terrorism has become a preferred policy choice for hostile actors”.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
January 15, 2022 8:09:20 am
A look at the top news today, January 15, 2021.

Big Story

A tri-services Court of Inquiry into the December 8 helicopter crash which killed Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat has attributed the crash to unexpected change in weather, resulting in pilot disorientation and the helicopter hitting a surface. This is the main preliminary finding of the CoI which ruled out mechanical failure, sabotage and negligence. 

Only in the Express

Explaining the importance of having Siachen back on Indo-Pak agenda, Shyam Saran writes: “In his press conference on January 12, on the eve of Army Day, the Indian Army Chief, General Naravane, reportedly made an intriguing reference to the possibility of “demilitarisation of the glacial region” in Siachen. Even though the army chief’s reference to demilitarisation is conditional to the AGPL being formally acknowledged, it is a departure from the uncompromising position that has been current in the recent past.” 

From the Front Page 

Holding that “in-fight and rivalry and group fights of the nuns, and the desire for power, position and control over the congregation” were evident in the case, a trial court in Kerala acquitted Franco Mulakkal, the former Jalandhar Bishop of the Catholic Church, of all charges in the alleged rape of a nun. The high-profile case had led to an unprecedented public protest in Kerala more than three years ago by other nuns in support of the complainant. 

Almost a year since the February coup in Myanmar, as its army battles armed pro-democracy resistance groups across the country, including in regions bordering India, New Delhi is concerned that the instability could impact security in the North-East. To secure India’s “vital interests”, officials are of the view that there is “no option but to engage with those in power in Naypidaw”, and continue pressing for a return to democracy. 

Unveiling what it calls its “first-ever” National Security Policy, the Pakistan Army-backed government of Prime Minister Imran Khan has acknowledged that the “employment of terrorism has become a preferred policy choice for hostile actors”. In remarks that echo India’s position on the issue, the document states: “The most acute form of efforts to undermine stability and national harmony of a society is terrorism.”

A video clip showing IIT Kanpur professor Laxmidhar Behera, who, days ago, was appointed Director of IIT Mandi, speaking about his apparent act of exorcism to rid his friend’s apartment and parents of “evil spirits” through the chanting of holy mantras has sparked a controversy. In the five-minute clip, Behera recounts how he had travelled to Chennai in 1993 to help a friend who was in distress as his “family was affected by ghosts”.  

Must Read

The aggressive third wave of the Covid pandemic did little to deter lakhs of devotees who arrived at Sagardwip in West Bengal this week, where the Gangasagar Mela is under way. With Makar Sankranti celebrations commencing, the district administration is expecting more devotees on Saturday. While the Calcutta High Court permitted the mela to take place, it also set some ground rules: the court formed a two-member committee to monitor the arrangements, it also ordered that only those with a negative RT-PCR test report can visit the mela. 

At a recent event, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath made a rather cryptic comment: he said the state will witness an “80% versus 20%” election, and that the BJP will retain power. Yogi did not specify, but the Opposition said it was obvious. As per the 2011 Census, Muslims formed 19.01% of UP’s population. The CM later explained 20% are those who “oppose Ram Janmabhoomi” and “sympathise with mafias and terrorists”. Meanwhile, BJP minister-turned-SP leader said that that the election would actually be a contest between the 85% backwards and Dalits and the 15% upper castes of the state. 

The Aam Aadmi Party, which created a buzz when it promised to give every woman in Punjab a monthly allowance of Rs 1,000 if voted to power, has allotted only around 10% of its seats to women. Of the 106 candidates that the AAP has announced so far for the 117-seat Punjab Assembly, only 12 are women. But the women who did get a ticket are home-grown leaders, like Baljinder Kaur and Saravjit Kaur Manuke, who have worked their way into contention.

And Finally 

Ireland pacer Muzamil Sherzad’s journey to the U-19 World Cup in the Caribbean is like no other. His story begins in Afghanistan’s Jalalabad, where he grew up playing tape-ball street cricket with friends. Then five years ago, when he was just 14, he travelled close to 8,300 km along with other immigrants in search of a better life in Ireland. Once there, Sherzad, to his surprise, found that cricket would help him make friends and give him a new identity. And, in a remarkable change of a fortune, he would soon become a World Cupper for his new country.

Delhi Confidential: Earth Sciences Minister Jitendra Singh on Friday launched a unique initiative by the India Meteorological Department – crowdsourcing weather information. The public participation platform, which Singh said was an example of what “citizen science”can be, will have people from across the country call or text local weather information to the IMD. 

Until tomorrow, 
Rahel Philipose and Rounak Bagchi

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

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