QBullet: PM to Meet Xi; Naidu Starts Talks on CJI Impeachment Plea
A curation of top news stories for the day.
1. All Set for Reset, PM Modi and China’s Xi Jinping to Hold Informal Meet This Week
In an attempt to complete the “reset” of bilateral ties with China, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet at an “informal summit” in Wuhan, the capital of central China’s Hubei province on 27 and 28 April.
The informal summit was the key takeaway after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met in Beijing Sunday on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) foreign ministers meet.
Sources told The Indian Express that the initiative to have the “informal summit” came from Beijing, but New Delhi took its time to take a call on the invitation considering the “diplomatic pros and cons” involved.
2. Maharashtra: In Biggest Ever Operation, Police in Gadchiroli Gun Down 16 Maoists
In what is being hailed as the biggest-ever success in its anti-Maoist operations, Gadchiroli Police killed 16 suspected ultra-left rebels near Kasnasur village in Tadgaon area of Maharashtra’s Bhamragad tehsil on Sunday.
Among those killed were 51-year-old Srinu alias Vijendra Ramlu, a member of the divisional committee (DVC) of the South Gadchiroli division of the CPI (Maoist), and Perimili Dalam commander Sainath alias Domesh Atram, 34, who was said to have been recently elevated to the divisional committee.
This is the first time that two DVC members have been killed in a single encounter in Gadchiroli.
3. Vice President Venkaiah Naidu Starts Consultation Process on Impeachment Notice Against CJI Dipak Misra
Rajya Sabha (RS) chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday, 22 April, started the consultation process with legal and parliamentary experts on a notice submitted by Congress and six other opposition parties for a motion for the removal of Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra, two Parliament officials familiar with the development said.
Vice President Naidu, one of the officials said, spoke to Attorney General KK Venugopal, former attorney general K Parasaran, former Supreme Court judge B Sudarshan Reddy, former law secretary PK Malhotra, former Lok Sabha secretary general Subhash Kashyap, and former legislative secretary Sanjay Singh, among others, as he decides whether to admit or reject the notice given on 20 April. It is the first-ever such submitted against a chief justice.
4. Death Penalty for Rape of Minors: President Approves Ordinance
President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday approved the ordinance to strengthen the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
In the wake of an increase in incidents of rape of minors, the cabinet had on Saturday approved a number of measures to amend the POCSO Act.
The ordinance seeks death penalty for rapists of girls below 12 years of age and stringent punishment for perpetrators of rape particularly of girls below 16 years.
5. President Clears Power-Packed Fugitive Law
The ‘fugitive economic offenders’ ordinance, promulgated by the President within hours of the cabinet’s recommendation on Saturday, goes beyond those evading law in India by fleeing. It also includes giving authorities powers to search persons suspected of hiding data, or proceeds of crime, as part of the drive to bring to book those avoiding the law in India.
The ordinance is aimed at attaching property acquired through proceeds of crime, even if it is not owned by the accused, after getting a special court to declare the person an economic offender.
6. Boost for Congress as Sitaram Yechury Gets Second Term at CPM Helm
The Communist Party of India-Marxist elected Sitaram Yechury as its general secretary for a second term at the party’s 22nd Congress in Hyderabad on Sunday.
Yechury’s re-election, though expected after his political line was adopted by the party congress only days earlier, was not an easy one. It came after months of internal warring over whether or not to have an “understanding” with the Congress among other secular, democratic forces, and had pushed the party to the brink of an existential crisis.
Yechury’s candidature was decided through a show of hands in the newly-elected 95-member central committee.
7. Let Media Do Its Job, Don’t Give It Masala: Modi Cautions BJP Leaders
Do not blame the media for controversies that are created when you fail to exercise restraint, Prime Minister Narendra Modi cautioned Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmakers on Sunday. Interacting with them through the Narendra Modi app, he advised the MPs and MLAs against speaking on subjects they are not authorised to speak on by the party.
The PM’s remarks come at a time when statements from party leaders, including ministers, over recent incidents of rape, attacks on members of the Scheduled Castes, and scientific and mythological topics, have fuelled controversies. “We make mistakes and give masala (fodder) to the media... as if we are great social scientists and experts to analyse issues. The moment you see a camera you start speaking,” Modi said. “Don’t stand in front of the TV (camera) and start preaching to the country. Let the media do its job,” he added.
8. VHP Man Turns down Cab as Driver Is Muslim, Triggers Row
Abhishek Mishra, the UP-based social media adviser of Vishwa Hindu Parishad kicked up a big row on micro blogging site Twitter, saying he would not travel with a Muslim driver of location-based taxi app Ola.
Following massive outrage on the social media and demands to suspend his account with both Twitter and Ola, the cab service hit back saying their service was strictly a secular platform and the company would not support any views aiding disharmony.
“Cancelling @olacabs booking because driver was Muslim. I don’t want to give my money to jihadis (sic)” wrote Abhishek Mishra. Mishra’s 14,000-plus followers include Union ministers Rajyavardhan Rathore, RK Singh, Mahesh Sharma, Ram Kripal Yadav, Narendra Singh Tomar apart from BJP MPs Manoj Tiwari and party’s UP ministers Swantantra Dev Singh and Suresh Rana.
9. Can’t Profile Aadhaar User from Authentication History: UIDAI Analysis
Profiling an Aadhaar user is near impossible even if authentication record is known as information revealed is minimal as compared to a person’s credit card history, an analysis carried out by UIDAI has shown.
An authentication history can lead to some guesswork but is short of profiling as the record only mentions ‘KUA’ (KYC User Agency, which could be bank, mobile company) or AUA (Authentication User Agency) where authentication was done, modality of authentication (OTP or biometric) and date and timing of the authentication.
Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) sources said profiling was not possible from the authentication history. UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey submitted his transaction log to Supreme Court and officials said the submission was to demonstrate what a transaction log looked like.
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