1. Bihar Congress on Verge of Split, Rebels Plan to Crossover to Ruling JD(U)
The Congress legislative party in Bihar is on the verge of a split as 14 party MLAs, just four short of the required two-thirds of the total 27 to formalise a division, have formed an informal group and are planning to crossover to the ruling JD(U).
Getting hint of the likely split, the central leadership summoned Bihar Congress chief Ashok Choudhary and Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader Sadanand Singh to New Delhi on Thursday where party chief Sonia Gandhi, while expressing unhappiness over their failure to mind the flock, asked them to prevent a split.
The Congress has 27 MLAs and six MLCs in Bihar. Of them, four – Ashok Choudhary, Madan Mohan Jha (both MLCs), Abdul Jalil Mastan and Awadesh Kumar Singh (both MLAs) – were ministers in the grand alliance government.
A few other senior MLAs were hopeful of being accommodated in state boards and corporations before CM Nitish Kumar broke away from the RJD and the Congress to reunite with BJP.
2. Delhi's Ghazipur Landfill Collapse: 2 Dead as Mountain of Trash Sweeps Many Into Nearby Canal
Two people died in East Delhi after a large part of the Ghazipur landfill – which should have been closed 15 years ago – collapsed on Friday afternoon, sweeping several people on a road nearby into a canal.
The victims were identified as a 30-year-old woman and a 20-year-old man, said Omvir Singh, DCP (east). Five others were rescued when locals dived into the fast-flowing canal.
The Ghazipur landfill is among four dumpsites in the national capital, spread over 70 acres and towering to a height taller than a 15-storey building. The mountain of trash is a stark reminder of administrative apathy and the capital’s struggle with waste management.
Dumping should have been halted when the landfill reached a height of 20 metres, but when it collapsed on Friday, it was 50 metres high. With no alternatives to dispose the 10,000 tonne of garbage generated by Delhi every day, the city keeps adding to the mountain of stinking, towering eyesore daily.
The East Delhi Municipal Corporation officials said the threat of more such landslides remain.
3. Dalit Girl Who Went to SC to Block NEET in Tamil Nadu Kills Herself
A 17-year-old Dalit girl, who was a petitioner in the Supreme Court against the implementation of the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) for admissions to medical courses in Tamil Nadu, committed suicide Friday by hanging at her home in Ariyalur district, near Trichy.
S Anitha’s death comes nine days after the Supreme Court directed Tamil Nadu to follow NEET for admissions to medical courses and finish the counselling process by 4 September.
The Centre had initially supported a move from the Tamil Nadu government, seeking exemption from NEET for a year, but later decided that it was “bad in law”.
Anitha had scored 1,176 marks out of 1,200 in Class XII and, according to the state education department’s evaluation, scored 199.75 out of 200 for engineering and 196.75 for medicine, which would have ensured her a seat in either stream without NEET.
However, according to her family, she scored only 86 percent in the NEET. It was then that she moved to be impleaded along with the state government in the Supreme Court plea.
4. J&K: Policeman Dead, Three Injured as Militants Attack Police Bus at Pantha Chowk
A policeman succumbed to his injuries after militants attacked a bus of security personnel on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway in the Pantha Chowk on Friday. Three policemen were also injured in the attack. A police official said the bus carrying personnel of the Jammu and Kashmir Armed Police came under the attack in the evening and that the vehicle was going from Bemina to Zewan.
The injured policemen were rushed to the Army’s 92 Base Hospital at Badami Bagh cantonment, the official added. The deceased Head Constable was identified as Kishan Lal. According to the official, the condition of the three others is stable.
The latest development comes after an Assistant Sub-Inspector of BSF was killed in ceasefire violation by Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch.
5. Shift to Electronic Interface With Taxpayers, PM Urges Officials
Prime Minister Narendra Modi exhorted officers on Friday to shift to electronic interface with taxpayers to ensure complete anonymity, which will also help avoid complaints of harassment or favouritism and shut out "vested interests".
Addressing the annual retreat of officers from the direct and indirect tax wings for the second straight year, the PM called for a switch to a system where functionaries did not know whose returns they were assessing or scrutinising, while the individual or the company did not know who was the officer dealing with their case.
Modi compared this with the UPSC exams, where the aspirant does not know the examiner and the examiner does not know who the candidate is.
The Modi government has been pushing a system where there is minimum human interface.
Even during investigations related to cash deposits during demonetisation, those who came under the scanner were asked to respond through the income tax website.
6. Delhi Techie Who Chopped Wife Into 72 Pieces Is Never Talked of in Front of Kids
The children of Rajesh Gulati, who was sentenced to a life term on Friday for murdering his wife in 2010, never hear of their father.
Since their mother was killed, the two children – a son and a daughter – live with their maternal uncle Sujan Kumar Pradhan and his family.
“We never discuss anything about their father or even about the case with the kids... we’re taking great care to bring them up sensitively and try to keep them away from anything (related to Rajesh) that may impact them,” said Pradhan, who led a seven-year fight for justice for his sister Anupama.
Rajesh, according to his confession to police, killed Anupama on 17 October 2010 by slamming her head against the wall in a fit of rage. The case became infamous after details such as how Rajesh cut his wife’s body into 72 pieces and stored it a freezer emerged.
7. Govt Issues First-Ever Rules to Carry out Internet Shutdowns in India
The communication ministry has issued new rules that allow the government to temporarily shut down phone and internet services during a “public emergency” or for “public safety”, according to a recent government notification.
Experts say the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules meant internet shutdowns could be carried out in a more organised manner, but they raised concerns over arbitrary censorship.
The notification said directions to suspend services shall not be issued except by the secretary to the government in the home ministry or by the secretary to the state government in-charge of the home department.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the district magistrates would cease to have the power to order such internet blackouts. The government previously used Section 144 of the CrPC – aimed at preventing “obstruction, annoyance or injury” – to impose internet restrictions.
8. UP: 49 Children Die in Farrukhabad Govt Hospital in a Month, DM Orders Probe
Forty-nine newborn children died at the government-run Dr Ram Manohar Lohia hospital in Farrukhabad between 21 July and 20 August.
The hospital authorities have blamed most of the deaths on children being extremely underweight and their delayed arrival to the hospital in a critical condition.
A total 30 children died in the sick newly born care unit (SNCU) of the hospital alone. The 19 others died at the time of delivery or soon after delivery at the hospital.
District magistrate Ravindra Kumar has ordered a magisterial inquiry after 19 of his notices to the hospital authorities went unheeded.
Kumar admitted the number of deaths in a month weren’t without negligence at the hospital and said:
The city magistrate is investigating the deaths of children. His report will come in a day or two.
“The investigation will cover all aspects,” he said.
9. Supreme Court to Hear Petition Against Delhi High Court Order Clearing Hindujas
The Supreme Court will take up for hearing in October a petition challenging the Delhi High Court order dismissing the Rs 64-crore Bofors payoff case nearly 12 years after it was filed. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, before whom it was listed on Friday, said it will give a detailed hearing to the matter in the second week of October.
The petition challenging the 31 May 2005 Delhi High Court order dismissing charges against three Hinduja brothers, Srichand, Gopichand and Prakashchand, and Swedish arms manufacturer AB Bofors was filed by BJP leader Ajay K Agrawal on 19 September 2005.
The petitioner contended that he had filed it in public interest as the CBI had refused to challenge the High Court order within the period of limitation which ended on 17 September 2005.
In his application seeking an early hearing, Agarwal said:
…Law ministry has not given permission to file special leave petition to the CBI despite the totally illegal and lacking jurisdiction order of Delhi High Court dated May 31, 2005, and the CBI was having clinching evidence against the accused persons in the Bofors scam.