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“In today’s top news, a constable with the Jammu and Kashmir Police has been shot dead by suspected militants at his residence in Gudroo, Pulwama early in the morning, the police said. The deceased has been identified as Reyaz Ahmad Thoker. The constable was rushed to the local hospital where he succumbed to the injuries, said Inspector General of Police (Kashmir Zone) Vijay Kumar. This is the second killing in the Valley in the last 24 hours after Rahul Bhat, a Kashmiri Pandit who worked at the tehsil office at Chadoora in Kashmir’s Budgam district, was killed within his office premises on Thursday. Following this, the Pandits community hit the streets and blocked the Srinagar-Budgam highway.
“The Supreme Court has sought replies from the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir administration on a plea challenging the delimitation exercise by way of which the number of seats in J&K Assembly was recommended to be raised from 83 to 90. The apex court bench also asked the petitioners why they had not challenged it when the commission was first formed in 2020. The plea contends that only the Election Commission could have undertaken the exercise and that it is against the constitutional provisions under which the extent of constituencies as delineated now shall remain frozen till the first census to be taken after the year 2026.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has declined to pass any order on an appeal seeking urgent stay of the inspection of the Kashi Vishwanath temple-Gyanvapi mosque complex and said it will decide on listing it for hearing after going through the files. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India N V Ramana said it cannot pass any order without looking at the files. “I have no idea about this case. Let me look at the papers. We will list it…,” the CJI said as Senior Advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, appearing for the Anjuman Intezamia Masjid Committee, brought up the matter during the mentioning hours – when urgent matters are brought to the attention of the court.
Moving on, Congress president Sonia Gandhi has mounted a fierce attack on the Narendra Modi-led BJP government, accusing it of allegedly victimising and brutalising minorities, glorifying the killers of Mahatma Gandhi, and keeping the country in a state of “permanent polarisation” that has, she charged, compelled the people of the country to live in a constant state of fear and insecurity. She said the fires of “hatred and discord” that are being ignited have taken a heavy toll on peoples’ lives. Inaugurating the Congress’s three-day “Nav Sankalp Shivir” in Rajasthan’s Udaipur, Gandhi alleged that the Modi regime was threatening and intimidating political opponents and misusing investigative agencies against them, eroding the independence and professionalism of institutions of democracy while reinventing history.
National Security Advisor Ajit Doval has said in a book on the Prime Minister that during the 2020 standoff with the Chinese PLA in Eastern Ladakh, use of force by Indian forces was approved by PM Narendra Modi with alacrity, and such actions to safeguard national interest would be taken in future as well. According to Doval, the PM’s efforts to develop personal equations with world leaders, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, has been instrumental in resolving many crises. The book, Modi @ 20: Dreams Meet Delivery, which was released on Wednesday, is an anthology of articles written by various eminent people, including Cabinet ministers such as Amit Shah and S Jaishankar on Modi’s leadership and achievements.
“In other news, Tesla Inc has put on hold its plans to sell electric cars in India, dumped a search for showroom space and reassigned some of its domestic team after failing to secure lower import taxes, news agency Reuters reported. The decision caps more than a year of deadlocked talks with government representatives as Tesla sought to first test demand by selling electric vehicles imported from production hubs in the US and China, at lower tariffs. But the India is pushing Tesla to commit to manufacturing locally before it lowers tariffs, which can run as high as 100% on imported vehicles.
“The Mohali police in Punjab have arrested one Jagdeep Singh Kang in connection with the attack on the headquarters of the state police’s intelligence headquarters on Monday night. He was produced in court and remanded in judicial custody for nine days. A senior police official confirmed to The Indian Express that Kang was arrested on Friday and added that more arrests are expected to take place in the case in the coming days. Sources said Kang is part of a terrorist module operating in the state. Nishan Singh, another suspect from Tarn Taran’s Kulla village, who was arrested by the Faridkot police on Wednesday, was also brought to Mohali.
In weather news, the India Meteorological Department has said the onset of the southwest monsoon over Kerala is expected on May 27, nearly four days in advance of its normal date, June 1. If realised, it will be the first time since 2010 that the monsoon has arrived over the southern state as early as May 27, as per the onset dates data maintained by the IMD. On Thursday, the IMD said that in association with the enhanced cross-equatorial winds, conditions are becoming favourable for the advance of the southwest monsoon into the South Andaman Sea, Nicobar Islands and parts of the southeast Bay of Bengal around May 15. The normal date for the arrival over the Andaman Sea is May 21.
“And we end this bulletin with tragic news. United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has died, state news agency WAM reported Friday. Nahyan was also ruler of Abu Dhabi emirate. He came to power in 2004 in the richest emirate Abu Dhabi and became the head of state. He is expected to be succeeded as ruler of Abu Dhabi by his half-brother Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan. According to the constitution, vice-president and premier Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, will act as president until the federal council which groups the rulers of the seven emirates meets within 30 days to elect a new president.
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