QBullet: Darjeeling Strike Hits Tea Industry; RJD-JD(U) Ties Tense

Here’s a look at what’s making headlines.

7 min read
QBullet: Darjeeling Strike Hits Tea Industry; RJD-JD(U) Ties Tense

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1. Explain Source of Wealth or Tejashwi Yadav Must Quit: Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) Tells Lalu’s RJD

Bihar’s ruling ‘Grand Alliance’ turned more brittle on Friday as JD(U) demanded Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav’s resignation if his family could not come clean on the source of funds used for acquiring allegedly illegal properties.

The JD(U)’s demand, dismissed by RJD chief Lalu Yadav, came despite attempts by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to broker truce among the allies.

The spat between the two started after CBI filed an FIR following raids on the residence and properties of Yadavs in Patna and other parts of the country in connection with a land scam during Lalu’s tenure as railway minister. Tejashwi has been named as a beneficiary in the case.

Lalu, who was in Ranchi to attend a fodder scam trial snapped at a media contingent eager to know of his next move, saying, “Tejashwi was elected by the people, not by those asking for his resignation.”

(Source: Hindustan Times)


2. Restraint Sign on China Row

(Photo: Lijumol Joseph/The Quint)

The Opposition on Friday stood with the government on China at an all-party meeting on Friday and called for a diplomatic solution to the standoff on the eastern frontier.

But it asked tough questions, joined by NDA constituent Shiv Sena, on the "security failure" during the Amarnath Yatra and the worsening Kashmir situation.

Barring Samajwadi Party patriarch and former defence minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, who reportedly prodded the government to take a tough stand against China and even appeared to be pushing for war, the wider Opposition underlined the need for a "diplomatic solution".

On Kashmir, the Opposition forcefully asked why the government was not holding talks with various groups, stressing that what was happening in the Valley was related to the overall situation in the country, sources said.

(Source: The Telegraph)


3. SC Orders CBI Probe into 97 Extra-Judicial Killings by Security Forces in Manipur

The Supreme Court ordered on Friday a federal investigation into 97 alleged extra-judicial killings in 11 years by security forces in Manipur, overruling objections by the government and the army in a landmark decision hailed by human rights activists.

A bench headed by Justice MB Lokur ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to set up a team for the probe and asked the agency’s director to respond within two weeks. The 97 cases were between 2000 and 2011.

The army – which is accused in at least 30 cases – wanted an internal probe.

The court gave the CBI time till by 31 December to lodge cases, complete its investigation and file charge-sheets before an appropriate forum.

(Source: Hindustan Times)


4. Unrest in Hills Hits Tea Industry

A month into the Gorkhaland agitation, Darjeeling’s tea industry has already lost business worth Rs 200 crore. Binod Mohan, chairman of the Darjeeling Tea Association, said: “The condition of the industry is very bad right now. The annual turnover of Darjeeling tea is between Rs 450-500 crore. The past month, we lost over Rs 200 crore.”

“Because of the agitation, the second flush has suffered. Export orders have been cancelled and those who have committed have not been able to deliver. Our loss is not financial alone. There is also a loss of reputation in the world market,’’ said the tea grower.

The 87 tea estates in the Darjeeling hills employ nearly 55,000 people, a large number of whom are local residents. Owing to the agitation, these workers have been losing the daily minimum wage of Rs 132, but most of them continue to support the movement for a separate state.

5. SIT to Probe Amarnath Pilgrim Bus Attack

The Jammu and Kashmir Police has set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) into the attack on Amarnath pilgrims as the preliminary investigations suggest militants “wanted to inflict heavy casualty as five magazines were emptied on the bus”.

A police official said at least 150 empty bullet cartridges or five magazine of AK-47 were found near Batengoo, Anantnag.

“The number of bullets fired at the bus only indicates the intent. The seat arrangement in the bus seemed to have helped avoid causalities. The seat height in the bus is far higher than a normal bus,” said the police.

Over 30 bullet holes have been found on the bus, with many bullets hitting the roof of the bus. “It shows the militants came close and were driving on a motorcycle,” the police inquiry suggest.

(Source: The Hindu)


6. Why is Delhi the Rape Capital? Police Will Take Expert Help to Analyse Psyche of Rapists

Why is Delhi the rape capital? What goes through the mind of a rapist? Why is a woman vulnerable in Delhi unlike other metros? The Delhi Police are trying to understand what could be the causes of rape, and the psyche of a rapist, and have issued a tender notice inviting sociologists, researchers and psychologists to carry out the research to find the answers to these questions.

The researchers will be interviewing rape accused and convicts for a sample survey about their profession, age, social background, behaviour and the circumstances when they committed the rape.

According to the Delhi Police crime statistics, a rape case is reported every four hours in Delhi. Last year, there were 2,155 cases of rape reported, a notch lower than the number of cases reported in 2015. This year this number has already touched 930.

(Source: Hindustan Times)


7. Bulls to Pay for Sins of Cow Vigilantes

The Punjab government on Friday approved a plan for bull sterilisations to tackle the threat of stray cattle, prompting members of the cattle trade and the leather and sports goods industries to accuse it of skirting the underlying problems.

Punjab, not a major milk producer, rears cattle largely for sale to other states and to the leather industry. But this Rs 2,500-crore industry has taken a hit because of tightened inter-state export rules, cow vigilantism, demonetisation and the goods and services tax that has increased the levy on raw materials.

The decreasing viability of the trade has prompted traders and farmers to abandon their cattle, leading to an increase in strays and a spurt in road accidents that prompted the government decision. But the traders and industry say that instead of addressing their problems, the government is resorting to piecemeal gestures.

(Source: The Telegraph)


8. Major Security Breach in UP, Explosive Found in Assembly

NIA team outside Uttar Pradesh assembly in Lucknow on Friday after PETN explosives were found on the premises. (Photo: PTI) 

In a major breach of security, a deadly plastic explosive, Pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN), was smuggled inside the Uttar Pradesh assembly, making a mockery of the precinct's three-tier security system. Police sources said PETN in crystalline form, weighing around 150gm, was possibly sneaked into the House on the night of 11 July to trigger an explosion later.

The explosive was detected on the morning of 12 July when the bomb detection and disposal squad (BDDS) was sanitising the House premises as part of the mandatory daily drill whenever the assembly is in session. The squad found a blue carry bag under the seat cushion in the third row.

Inside the bag, the squad found another plastic packet containing between 100 and 150gm of colourless and odourless crystals.

However, despite the absence of other suspicious components like wire, fuse, electronic circuit or batteries, the squad handed over the packet to marshals, who informed the chief minister's security personnel and cops.

On Friday morning, the findings confirmed the substance was PETN. Speaking in the House, chief minister Aditya Nath Yogi said it was “like a terror plot”.

(Source: Times of India)


9. Decide on Voting Norms for NRIs in a Week: SC to Centre

A man gets inked after casting vote. (Photo: Reuters)

Non-resident Indians may be able to cast vote soon as the Supreme Court on Friday asked the Union government to take a decision within a week to give voting rights to NRIs either by amending Representation of the People Act or the Rules.

The bench also recorded that the EC committee had wide-ranging consultations and recommended the modalities through which the NRIs could cast their vote in elections held in India. "The only question, that arises for consideration now is whether the Union of India needs to accept the proposals made in the October 2014 Report, which has already been accepted in principle, by way of an amendment of Sections 20 and 20A of the RP Act or alternatively, by a mere amendment to the Rules," it said.

(Source: Times of India)

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