QBullet: Pakistan Condemns Pathankot, BJP MP Calls Aamir ‘Traitor’

QBullet: The Quint’s compilation of the stories making headlines in the country.

Updated
India
6 min read
BJP MP Manoj Tiwari has called Aamir Khan (centre) a traitor. (Photo: Reuters)

1. Pakistan PM, Army & ISI Chief Condemn Pathankot Terror Attack

For the first time following a terror attack in India, Pakistan’s civilian and military leadership has promised New Delhi its full cooperation in eradicating the malaise of terrorism from the region, according to a report in The Times of India. The denunciation is a matter of relief for the South Block.

Pakistan’s civilian and military leadership has promised New Delhi its full co-operation. (Photo:PTI)
Pakistan’s civilian and military leadership has promised New Delhi its full co-operation. (Photo:PTI)

The decision was taken at a meeting which Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Army Chief, General Raheel Sharif, ISI chief, Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar, and other prominent members of the cabinet attended.

The meeting discussed the Pathankot attack, expressed condemnation of the incident, and reiterated the country’s commitment to cooperate with India to completely eradicate the menace of terrorism afflicting our region.

Statement from Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif’s office

2. Mumbai: Air Quality Worse than On Diwali For a Second Day

Perhaps it is time Mumbai took a leaf out of Delhi’s book and take proactive steps to tackle pollution. The air quality in Mumbai on Friday was worse than that during Diwali. Mumbai’s pollution levels were in the ‘very poor’ category. Pollution levels are likely to remain at alarming levels over the weekend with a predicted Air Quality Index (AQI) of 312 for Saturday. An AQI of more than 300 falls in the very poor category.

A health advisory warning from The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), which measures and forecasts air quality in Mumbai, said: “People are advised to avoid outdoor activity, especially children and senior citizens. It is advisable to use pollution masks.”

Report in the Hindustan Times

SAFAR said that meteorological forecasts have indicated that pollution levels are expected to drop from Monday onwards. The body has blamed the weather for the country’s poor pollution levels.

3. Mumbai Double Murder: Cops Set Spies on Chintan in Jail

Chintan Upadhyay’s interrogation in connection with the murders of his wife Hema and her lawyer Haresh Bhambani on 11 December 2015 yielded nothing significant by way of information or leads. The Mumbai police has now resorted to another tool in its arsenal – jail informants, according to a Hindustan Times report.

Hema Upadhyay and her lawyer were killed on 11 December 2015. (The photo has been altered by <b>The Quint</b>).
Hema Upadhyay and her lawyer were killed on 11 December 2015. (The photo has been altered by The Quint).

Police informants at Thane Central Prison have been instructed to keep tabs on Chintan and his conversations with visitors, in particular. The police claim that Chintan was the main conspirator in the murder, despite the lack of evidence against him. The search is on for Vidhyadhar Rajbhar, a key suspect who remains at large.

Chintan was sent to judicial custody on 1 January and shifted to Thane Central prison. The police have alerted all of their informants inside the prison to keep tabs on Chintan’s conversations with visitors and other inmates. They have been told to alert us if they see or hear something relevant to the case.

Police Source

4. Aamir Khan is a Traitor: BJP MP Manoj Tiwari

BJP MP Manoj Tiwari is learnt to have called Aamir Khan a ‘traitor’ in a parliamentary standing committee meeting on Friday, in which an explanation was sought as to why Aamir is no longer the face of the Incredible India campaign. Amitabh Bachhan is the new face of the campaign.

When contacted, Tiwari, the Lok Sabha MP from Northeast Delhi, told The Indian Express: “I cannot comment on what happened because what transpired in the committee meeting is confidential.”

Report in The Indian Express

5. NIA Summons Punjab SP to Delhi, Polygraph Test Likely

The role of the insider in the cross-border conspiracy that led to the attacks in Pathankot is not being ruled out yet. The National Investigation Agency’s probe is directed at ascertaining any lapses that may have caused the attack. They are also looking at the possibility of local help in hiding the Jaish-e-Mohammad operatives who crossed over from Pakistan to carry out the siege at the airbase.

Punjab SP Salwinder Singh has also been summoned to Delhi for questioning on Monday, following discrepancies in his statement to the NIA and his alleged abduction.

The NIA is also examining the role of any drug cartels that are operating in the border region, and whether there was any connivance or lapses in security that allowed the terrorists to cross over and carry out the attack.

Read the Asian Age’s story here.

6. Bengal Global Business Summit: Mamata Woos Industry, Jaitley Promises Support

Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee urged industry leaders not to waste time waiting for election results, as she was confident her government would be given a second stint in power. She urged companies to invest in Bengal, saying that the government would ‘work as their employee.’

Speaking at the inaugural session of the Bengal Global Business Summit in Kolkata, Mamata said, “Elections will continue and our government will continue. Don’t worry about that. There’s no time to waste.”

Report in The Indian Express

Captains of industry as well as ministers of state showered her government with praise.

As an investor, I stand here to say that West Bengal is among the top of the list in terms of doing business and recommend the state as an ideal investment destination.

Mukesh Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Industries

7. Hardik Patel Chargesheeted for Sedition

Surat police have filed a charge sheet in a local court against Patel quota agitation leader, Hardik Patel. He has been charged with sedition during and after the stir in which 11 persons were killed in a police firing.

Hardik Patel at a press conference in Ahmedabad on Wednesday. (Photo: ANI screengrab)
Hardik Patel at a press conference in Ahmedabad on Wednesday. (Photo: ANI screengrab)

The police said that 22-year-old Hardik, lodged in a Surat jail, had instigated violence against the police, asked his followers to damage public property and made inflammatory speeches. They submitted a CD containing Hardik’s call records and taped conversations in which him and his aides were heard asking the members of the community to use violence, when necessary, to press their demand for OBC status and a quota in education and government jobs.

Hardik was arrested by the Surat police in October following a video clip in which he advised a distressed youth to “kill 3-4 policemen instead of committing suicide.” Later, he and his top aides was arrested by the Ahmedabad police on charges of sedition.

Read The Hindu’s story here.

8. The Problem With Smart Cities

By mid-December, 85 out of the proposed 98 Smart Cities had submitted their respective plans to the ministry of urban development. Hopefully, the remaining cities will follow suit shortly. While the stage is set for this ambitious mission to see movements towards fruition, Vivek Vaidyanathan and Shrimoyee Bhattacharya write that there are concerns that need attention.

The journey so far has a few lessons and concerns that need attention. Apart from criticism on the quality of proposals and public participation, there were indications of a few cities hesitant to submit their proposals. One of the main reasons for the apathy of urban local bodies of some cities pertains to the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), which is to be mandatorily constituted for the implementation of their respective Smart City Plans.

Vivek Vaidyanathan & Shrimoyee Bhattacharya, writing for the Livemint

9. National Herald Demystified

Now that the dust is beginning to settle on the initial brouhaha over the National Herald, it is perhaps time for a dispassionate examination of the facts stripped of legalese, writes Manish Tiwari in Asian Age. What exactly is the criminality in the transactions, if at all there is any?

Anyone familiar with the newspaper publishing business knows that subscription revenues are only a fraction of the cost of bringing out a newspaper. Though National Herald had a good subscriber base, the major income stream of any newspaper is advertising. That is why mass circulating newspapers have four to five full pages devoted to advertisements, sometimes even ahead of the first page of the newspaper. In its editorial line the National Herald articulated the postulates of pluralism, socialism and non-alignment. These are also the core beliefs of the Indian National Congress.

Manish Tiwari in Asian Age
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