QBullet: Sterlite Plant to be Shut; EVM Glitches Mar Bypolls
Here are the top headlines of the day.
1. Tamil Nadu Orders Closure of Tuticorin Sterlite Plant After 13 Deaths
On Monday, 28 May, the Tamil Nadu government ordered the closure of the Vedanta-owned Sterlite plant in Tuticorin, six days after 13 people were killed in police firing during protests.
Violence broke out on 22 May, the 100th day that the protesters had gathered in Tuticorin to demand that the plant be closed for causing severe environmental damage and endangering health of residents.
An FIR revealed that a special deputy tehsildar ordered the police to open fire on peaceful protesters. On his part, Special Deputy Tehsildar Shekhar said he ordered the firing to save lives and properties.
Read the full story here.
2. EVM Malfunctioning Mars Bypolls in UP, Maharashtra
Voting for the Kairana Lok Sabha bypoll on Monday, 28 May, witnessed a voter turnout of 54.17 percent, according to the Election Commission. And 61 percent votes were cast in the Noorpur Assembly bypoll.
The elections were marred by complaints of EVM malfunctioning, with the EC having to replace faulty machines at a few places. The EC assured that a re-poll will be ordered in a few booths if necessary.
The Samajwadi Party and RLD complained of glitches in the electronic voting machines. SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, tweeted, “Receiving reports of problems in EVMs in the bye-elections but still voters should go to cast votes.”
(Source: The Indian Express)
3. PM Modi Counters Theresa May on State of Indian Prisons, Claims EAM Swaraj
British courts must not lecture India about the condition of Indian jails, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told British Prime Minister Theresa May, adding that they are the very same jails where freedom fighters like Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Nehru were imprisoned during the British Raj, according to an account of the meeting shared by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
Swaraj divulged the contents of what appeared to be an explosive conversation between Modi and May on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Summit in April for the first time, during her annual press conference on Monday, 28 May.
According to Swaraj, the two leaders were discussing the problem of Indian fugitives like Vijay Mallya and Lalit Modi, based in the United Kingdom.
(Source: The Hindu)
4. "I Have No Desire to Live," Sunanda Wrote to Tharoor: Police
"I have no desire to live... all I pray for is death." This is what Sunanda Pushkar wrote in an e-mail to her husband, Shashi Tharoor, nine days before she was found dead in a luxury hotel room in Delhi, police on Monday, 28 May, told a Delhi court.
The police also said that Sunanda's death was due to poisoning and 27 tablets of Alprax were found in her room, but it was not clear how many pills she had consumed.
While quoting from the charge sheet, the Delhi Police told Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal that Sunanda had injuries on her body which were received prior to her death which is reflected in the post-mortem report.
In an e-mail sent to Tharoor on January 8, 2014, she had written, "I don't care about the test. I have no desire to live...all I pray for is death," the police claimed.
5. Situation ‘Worsened’, Delhi Stares at Severe Power Crisis as Coal Stock Thin
Three days after he first flagged concerns about a power crisis in the city caused by depleting coal stocks at plants from which Delhi sourced electricity, and two days after Coal India Ltd said the issue could have been avoided had the Delhi government planned better, the state’s power minister Satyendar Jain said the situation has “worsened.”
“These power plants now have coal stocks that can run the plant to its full capacity only for 20-21 hours. Ideally, in a single day, these plants have 56,000 tonnes of coal and the stock lasts about 13-15 days. Now, only about 5 percent of it is left,” Jain told reporters.
A spokesperson for NTPC Limited, which runs the plants at Dadri and Jhajjar, admitted there was coal shortage, but said some stocks had started coming in. “There is not enough coal to run the plants to their full capacity. But the situation has been improving over the past two days,” said the spokesperson.
(Source: Hindustan Times)
6. ‘Honour Killing’ of Youth Triggers Protests in Kerala
The murder of a youth who had married out of his community, allegedly by a gang led his wife’s family members, has snowballed into a major political controversy in Kerala, putting the police and the CPI(M) on the back foot.
The deceased youth, Kevin P Joseph, belonged to a family of converted Christians, and his wife, Neenu Chacko, 20, belonged to the family of an inter-religious married couple, her father a Catholic and mother a Muslim.
Kevin and Neenu had got married on 24 May. Neenu’s family had tried to take her away with the help of the police, but she returned and took a room at a women’s hostel Kottayam. Kevin, apparently fearing attack from Neenu’s relatives, had gone to a relative’s house after leaving her at the hostel.
In the early hours of Sunday, 27 May, the youth was dragged out of the house and taken in a car along with one of his relatives, who was later released by the abductors. On Monday morning, Kevin’s body was found in a canal near Thenmala in Kollam.
(Source: The Hindu)
7. Karnataka Govt: Cong, JD(S) 'Tug of War' Over Portfolios Continues
The stalemate over allocation of portfolios in Karnataka continued on Monday, 28 May, despite five days of hectic deliberations between the Congress and the JD(S), delaying the expansion of the state Cabinet.
The Congress claimed that the "issues" would be resolved soon after Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy held talks with its leaders in the national capital. The JD(S) said that talks between the two allies were inconclusive and would resume after a day or two.
Kumaraswamy and state Congress leaders left for Bengaluru late on Monday to participate in the funeral of a Congress MLA, who died in an accident on Sunday night.
There has been "heavy bargaining" over portfolio allocation during discussions between the coalition partners, thus delaying the formation of Council of Ministers in Karnataka.
8. Pranab Mukherjee Accepts RSS Invite to Address Trainees In Nagpur
Former President Pranab Mukherjee, a veteran Congress leader, will address an event of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the organisation frequently criticised by Rahul Gandhi. Mr Mukherjee will deliver the main address at a function organised on 7 June in Nagpur for RSS cadre training to become full-time volunteers.
The RSS is the ideological mentor of the ruling BJP and several ministers visit its headquarters in Nagpur. Congress president Rahul Gandhi accuses the organisation of trying to divide the country on religious lines.
An RSS leader said that the former president, a lifelong Congressman, had accepted the invite to the event was a significant message.
Reports say around 800 RSS workers below 45 from across the country will attend the annual training camp or Sangh Shiksha Varg, organised in the summer.
9. Southwest Monsoon Hits Kerala, Says Skymet
The Southwest Monsoon hit Kerala on Monday, 28 May, marking the arrival of the rainy season in the country, private weather forecasting agency Skymet said.
However, the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the country's official weather forecaster, in its 8.15 am bulletin said monsoon would hit Kerala in the next 24 hours.
"There are Monsoon-like conditions over Kerala and we can say that the annual rainfall season has arrived," Skymet CEO Jatin Singh told PTI.
The Skymet, in its forecast, said that Monsoon would hit the Kerala coast on 28 May, while the IMD has made a prediction for its arrival on 29 May.
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