QBullet: Maha Farmers End Stir; Kartarpur Corridor Cleared by Govt
1. J&K Governor Justifies Dissolving Assembly, Says MLAs Were Getting Terror Threats
A day after dissolving the J&K Legislative Assembly, Governor Satya Pal Malik on Thursday, 22 November, justified his decision by claiming that MLAs were receiving “terrorist threats” and that money was being “offered on a large scale” in efforts to form a government.
Describing the PDP-National Conference (NC) efforts to stitch an alliance for government formation as “unholy”, Malik said “this was a power hungry alliance for self-preservation to avoid a split in their respective parties”. “There has been a lot of dissatisfaction among both the parties,” he said.
2. Tribal Farmers End Stir After Maharashtra Govt Agrees to Accept Demands
Marking an end to the second mega agitation in Mumbai, tribal farmers called off their protest Thursday, 22 November, after the Maharashtra government agreed to fulfil their various demands. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis assured tribal farmers that their forest land rights claims will be settled by December this year.
The chief minister also gave this assurance to representatives of over 7,000 protesting farmers who marched to Azad Maidan for redressal of their grievances, which include compensation for drought and transfer of forest rights to tribals.
3. Amritsar Train Tragedy: Govt Report Gives Clean Chit to Railways
“Negligence” of people led to last month’s Amritsar tragedy in which 60 people were mowed down by a train as they watched Dussehra celebrations while standing on a railway track, the Chief Commissioner of Railway Safety said in his provisional report on Thursday, 22 November, virtually giving the railways a clean chit in the case.
“Having carefully considered the factual material and circumstantial evidences so far available at my disposal, I have provisionally come to the conclusion that the unfortunate incident of running over of 60 persons near Jaura-Fatak near Amritsar railway station of Ferozpur division of Northern Railways on 19 October 2018, at 6.55 pm occurred due to the negligence of persons reportedly standing on and near railway track witnessing Dussehra Mela at Dhobi Ghat,” CCCRS S K Pathak said in the report.
4. India, Pakistan to Build Corridor for Sikh Pilgrims to Visit Iconic Gurdwara
India and Pakistan announced on Thursday, 23 November, that they will build a corridor on their respective sides to let Sikh pilgrims visit the iconic Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur on the banks of the river Ravi in the neighbouring country.
The plan to build a corridor on the Indian side leading to the border near the gurdwara was among a slew of proposals cleared during a Cabinet meeting to mark Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary in 2019. The corridor on the Indian side will be built as an “integrated development project” with funding from the central government, and the Indian government called on its Pakistani counterpart to develop a similar corridor on its territory to “recognise the sentiments of the Sikh community”, said people familiar with the developments.
5. Marathas Won’t Be Included in OBC Quota, Says Devendra Fadnavis
The Marathas will not be included in the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) category for reservations, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said in the state assembly on Thursday, 22 November, adding, doing so would have a “catastrophic effect”.
The government also announced that it has set up a cabinet subcommittee to implement the Maratha reservation. The panel, comprising seven senior ministers and an IAS officer as a member secretary, will be headed by revenue minister Chandrakant Patil. PWD minister and Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde, education minister Vinod Tawde, water conservation minister Ram Shinde are among its other members.
6. American Killed in the Andamans Due to Misplaced Adventure: Govt Official
An American national who tried to enter the North Sentinel Island in the Andaman was killed due to “misplaced adventure” in the highly-restricted area, a senior government official said on Thursday, 23 November. This was his fifth visit to Andaman and Nicobar Islands and he had come on a tourist visa. He was killed with bows and arrows, police said.
John Allen Chau had not informed the authorities of his visit to the Sentinel Island; the inhabitants have not faced incursions and remain hostile to outsiders. Police got to know about the killing from the American Consulate in Chennai which forwarded an email sent by Chau’s mother about his visit to the island and “the attack by tribesmen”.
7. NEET 2018: SC Sets Aside High Court Order on Grace Marks
The Supreme Court on Thursday set aside a Madras High Court direction to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to grant grace marks to students who suffered from the erroneous Tamil translation of 49 questions in the NEET test for undergraduate medical admissions.
A Bench of Justices SA Bobde and L Nageswara Rao said the students could have easily discovered the imprecise word to be faulty and a simple reference to the English version of the question paper would have clarified the defect. The students are given both English and Tamil versions of the question paper during exams.
One of the mis-translated words was the Tamil version of the word ‘cheetah’. It read ‘Sita’ in the Tamil question paper.
8. Supreme Court Slams Primeval Conditions in Jails, Observation Homes
The Supreme Court asked the government on Thursday, 22 November, whether it viewed undertrial prisoners and children who suffered primeval conditions in jails and observation homes as “human beings.”
Undertrial prisoners accounted for 62 percent of India’s prison population, against the world average of 18-20 percent, the court said. The statistic raised questions about the humaneness of our system, it said.
A Bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said officials hardly went out of their offices to visit these prisons or observation homes. It took two Supreme Court judges — Justices UU Lalit and AK Goel (retired) — to visit the Faridabad jail and observation home to understand the full horror of the living conditions of the inmates.
9. Vijay Mallya’s Legal Defence Rejected in Swiss Bank’s Case for London Mansion
In a major setback to Vijay Mallya, the UK high court in London Thursday rejected many of his legal team’s arguments in a case filed by Swiss banking giant UBS to take possession of the liquor baron’s London mansion over non-repayment of a mortgage loan.
The court has also asked Mallya to pay 88,000 pounds to the bank in a preliminary hearing yesterday. The trial will be held in May 2019.
The bank had sought repossession of the property at Cornwall Terrace, overlooking Regent’s Park in central London, for the unpaid 20.4 million pounds mortgage loan. The property was referred to in the court as a “high-class home for Dr Vijay Mallya and his family members and United Breweries Group corporate guests”.