QBullet: Union Budget Expectations, Ujjwal Nikam’s Twist and More

Read the top news and views across publications this morning on QBullet. 

5 min read
Ujjwal Nikam, Special Public Prosecutor. (Photo: Reuters)

1. Headley Was Quizzed Under Instructions: Nikam

A day after David Headley claimed that Ishrat Jahan was a suicide bomber for the LeT, Ujjwal Nikam, Special Public Prosecutor in the case, said that he asked the question “under instructions”.

Nikam tells The Hindu, that the Mumbai Crime Branch wanted to know about LeT’s botched operation in India and wanted him to ask the question.

I could not have given 50 names. I was having instructions of the investigating agency to find out about the botched-up operation of the LeT in India. It was a spontaneous decision [to offer three names] and I can refresh the memory of the witness.
Ujjwal Nikam, Special Public Prosecutor

Read the full report here.

2. Islamic State Suspect Tells NIA How He Kept Blocked FB Page Active

ISIS suspect reveals how India failed to contain the terror outfit over the internet. (Photo: Reuters)
ISIS suspect reveals how India failed to contain the terror outfit over the internet. (Photo: Reuters)

Indian investigating agencies, it appears, have failed to control terror outfit ISIS on the internet. According to The Indian Express, one ISIS suspect who is being investigated by the NIA has revealed that he managed to keep a blocked Facebook page active. Not just that, he also told the investigators how he did it.

That’s when a Serbian national, who Damudi suspects worked for a telecom company, came to his rescue. The Serbian gave Damudi a new number each time the Facebook page was blocked, and supplied him an OTP almost immediately. Due to this, despite best attempts, Damudi’s Facebook page could never be blocked permanently.  
NIA Official

Read the full report here.

3. Anti-National? Not My Son, Says Mother

On Friday, the president of the student union of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) was booked by the Delhi police. The arrest comes in view of the fracas related to the 2013 hanging of Afzal Guru. The Telegraph spoke with JNUSU president Kanhaiyya Singh’s mother who says her son is not capable of anti-national activities.

She is proud of her son’s academic achievements, besides pointing out that he was the second boy from Bihar, after the late Chandrashekhar Prasad of Siwan, to have become JNUSU president. Chandrashekhar, who went to become a leader of the CPI-ML (Liberation), was shot dead on 31 March 1997 in Siwan.

4. Hope Soars as Ram Madhav Meets PDP Chief Today

File photo of PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti meeting J&K Governor. (Photo: PTI)
File photo of PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti meeting J&K Governor. (Photo: PTI)

According to The Times of India, there are fresh hopes regarding the BJP-PDP alliance in Jammu and Kashmir as BJP general secretary Ram Madhav is scheduled to meet PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti.

Sources said the BJP high command, which held three back-to-back high-level meetings in New Delhi, has resolved to inform the PDP president that the agenda of alliance that both the parties had drafted in March 2015 would be implemented in letter and spirit.

5. Bhojshala on Basant Panchami: Finally, Both Puja, Namaz Offered

Muslims too offered prayers at Bhojshala, post noon on Friday after prayers began peacefully this morning at the disputed premises.

“A group of 25-30 Muslim devotees offered Namaz on the terrace of the site peacefully after 12 noon,” Indore Division Commissioner, Sanjay Dube said.

A right wing organisation performed prayers, the Commissioner said, adding that no untoward incident was reported. The Indian Express has an account of how the communally-charged environment proceeded through the day without any incidents of violence.

Read the full report here.

6. The Presidential Prerogative

In the backdrop of President Pranab Mukherjee’s recent advice to Governors, Gopalkrishna Gandhi writes a piece for The Hindu explaining how this is just a ceremonial post, making them (in)visible to the people of India, sometimes also to Delhi.

Gandhi also traces incidents in independent India’s history where governors stood by as Delhi imposed President’s rule multiple times on states.

Governors, over the years, have recommended President’s rule under the provisions of Article 356 of the Constitution several times, for the ostensible reason that the constitutional machinery of the State has broken down. Most often this “breakdown” has come from the Chief Minister losing his majority in the House or a coalition coming apart. And, with rare exceptions, the “recommendation” has arisen not from the Governor’s independent assessment of the situation but from Delhi where, informally, the Prime Minister and Home Minister have decided that this is the recommendation needed and the Governor but signs it.

Read the full piece here.

7. Breaking the Chains of Logic, That’s How We Like to Boogie

The national capital has decided to go for another round of the odd-even system. An edit piece in The Times of India explains how chief minister Arvind Kejriwal managed to work it out with the people of Delhi.

The world’s policymakers remain bound by the heavy shackles of logic. But ours seem to have liberated themselves with the Dr Seuss mantra on which the capital’s chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has an early learner advantage: You have to be odd to be number one.

Read the full piece here.

8. It’s Tough for a Woman to Report Sexual Harassment at Work

(Photo: Reuters)
(Photo: Reuters)

An opinion piece in the Hindustan Times brings an important point to the fore in the case of a woman who is sexually harassed at her workplace. The argument that the woman never opposed the advances or that she was indulging in entrapment becomes the first in the line of defense for the man.

The entrapment theory seems a smart ploy to get powerful men off the hook, to portray them as victims of the attentions of opportunistic women rather than acknowledge that most of them are sexual predators, and that too serial offenders. In a recent case, an Iranian television presenter had to flee the country after she took on her harasser who was her boss publicly after years of suffering his unwanted attentions. That she was a single mother did not help her case.

9. Budget for a New Reality

As the budget session of Parliament approaches, Jahangir Aziz writes for The Indian Express, that the Narendra Modi government should focus on health and education in 2016-17.

This brings us to next year’s budget and let me focus on what, in the last month or so, has become a debated issue: Should the government keep to its promised deficit reduction path? One can’t believe that we are debating this issue in 2016, given India’s fiscal history and memories of the near crisis in 2013. But be that as it may, here are three reasons why the government needs to deliver on its FY16 budget promise to cut next year’s deficit by 0.5 percent of the GDP. 

Read the full piece here.

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