QBullet:Oppn Slams Govt For Pak JIT Visit, Bhagwat’s U-Turn & More
All the top stories of the day you need to know.
1. Opposition Slams Govt as Pakistan JIT Begins Pathankot Probe
India and Pakistan began formal discussions on the investigation into the terror attack on the Pathankot IAF base. This is the first time that India and Pakistan are collaborating on a terror attack investigation. The Pakistan JIT, which consists of five members including an ISI official, will visit Pathankot on Tuesday.
The NIA has shared the evidence gathered by them with the Pakistan JIT through a detailed presentation. The NIA emphasised the role of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e- Mohammad (JeM) terror group in the attack. So far the JIT has not disputed or countered the role of JeM in the attack.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who had earlier publicly spoken against the visit of the JIT to the Pathankot airbase, said,
If I don’t permit them this crime investigation freedom, then the crime investigation failure would be blamed on the Defence Ministry. We have isolated the area completely.Manohar Parrikar, Defence Minister
The opposition has slammed the government’s move to grant access to the Pakistan’s JIT in a strategically important base like Pathankot.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala accused the Modi government of taking a u-turn in its Pakistan policy.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has also condemned the Modi government’s decision.
Meanwhile, authorities at Pathankot airbase are struggling to preserve the remains of the terrorists killed in Pathankot attack. According to The Hindu, the bodies of the four terrorists have been kept in a morgue that has only two freezers.
We have given clear instruction to hospital authorities not to dispose of the dead bodies as they are evidence to us.NIA official to The Hindu
2. Can’t Impose ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ Slogan on Anyone: Mohan Bhagwat
With the growing controversy over chanting “Bharat Mata ki Jai” (Hail Mother India!), Mohan Bhagwat, the man whose comments triggered it, has said that nobody needs to be forced to chant the slogan. In an apparent u-turn, the RSS chief said that the slogan can’t be imposed on anyone.
We have to create such a great India where people themselves chant ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’. It needs not be imposed.Mohan Bhagwat, RSS Chief
Bhagwat’s comments come days after senior BJP leader LK Advani had called the controversy over ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ meaningless.
Veteran historian Irfan Habib had pointed out that the idea behind the slogan was an import from Europe. According to The Hindu, professor Habib while delivering a lecture at the Jawahar Lal Nehru University in memory of the late historian Bipin Chandra said,
Bharat Mata has nothing to do with India’s ancient or medieval past. It is a European import. Notions of motherland and fatherland were talked about in Europe.Irfan Habib, Historian
3. Uttarakhand Crisis: Rebel Cong MLA Files Plea Against Speaker
Nine rebel MLAs from the Congress filed a plea in Uttarakhand High Court against Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal’s decision to disqualify them from the assembly. The high court will hear the matter on Tuesday.
Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu accused the Congress of horse-trading. Naidu was referring to a sting operation released by rebel Congress MLAs. The sting showed Rawat allegedly offering money to MLAs to vote for his government in the vote confidence that was mandated by Uttarakhand Governor KK Paul.
Rawat has requested the Governor to revoke President’s rule in the state. Claiming he has the support of 34 MLAs, he blamed the Central government for the political crisis in Uttarakhand.
The hearing in the Uttarakhand High Court against President’s rule in the state will continue on Tuesday. Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta will appear for the Centre.
4. Kejriwal Govt’s Second Budget Dedicates Big Chunk to Education
Delhi government came out with its second annual Budget on Monday. The highlight was the focus on the education sector.
In his Budget speech, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia set aside Rs 10,690 crore for the education sector.
Key Elements of the Budget
- Total budget for 2016-17: Rs 47,600 cr; planned Rs 20,600 cr; non-planned Rs 20,000 crore.
- Sisodia promised to make government schools better than private ones with robust infrastructure and teachers trained at Harvard, Cambridge and Oxford.
- CCTV cameras to be installed in every classroom, whose feed would be “available to all officials, the Education Minister and parents”
- 21 new school buildings have been constructed while 8,000 classrooms are being built in the existing government schools.
- Proposal for VAT reduction on electric vehicles, sweets and readymade garments from 12.5 percent to 5 percent.
5. Cops’ Attempt to Frame BJP Leader Foiled
A police officer and a constable in plain clothes allegedly offered money to West Bengal BJP leader Rahul Sinha seeking help in smuggling cattle to Bangladesh. This was apparently part of a sting operation.
According to The Telegraph, the accused then identified themselves as cops and were suspended. Assistant sub-inspector Subhasis Roy Chowdhury and constable Aminur Rahman were from the photography section of the special branch, which specialises in secretly taking pictures as part of intelligence-gathering.
Sinha has alleged that the Chief Minister was involved in the conspiracy against him.
This is a deep-rooted conspiracy involving the Chief Minister, who oversees home (police). Without her knowledge, such a sting operation could not be carried out to frame the BJP days before the polls.Rahul Sinha, Leader, West Bengal BJP Leader
Read the full report on The Telegraph.
6. Shots Fired at US Capitol, Suspect Arrested
The Capitol Hill along with the White House and the Congress were put under lockdown after a gunman shot a police officer at Capitol complex on Monday.
The event unfolded with Congress on recess and lawmakers back in their districts. The White House was briefly put on lockdown, but that was soon lifted.
A notification sent to Senate offices said no further suspects appeared to be at large, and most Capitol Hill buildings were later re-opened for business.
The policeman who was shot survived with minor injuries and the suspect was immediately arrested.
Read more on The Quint.
7. Bangladeshi Editor to Face 175 Years Jail Term
Mahfuz Anam, the editor of one of the leading English dailies of Bangladesh has been booked in 79 cases– 62 for defamation and 17 for sedition. If convicted in all the cases, Anam may face a sentence of 175 years in jail.
To add to Anam’s misery, the 79 cases have been registered in 50 different courts across the country. In some instances, he may have to physically appear in two different courts on the same day. Anam has filed a petition in the country’s High Court in a bid to consolidate these cases.
Hasina’s control over Bangladesh’s political system has tightened since 2014 when the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party boycotted parliamentary elections and the Awami League swept the polls, virtually unopposed. That election pushed the Nationalist Party and its leaders to the margins of public life, where they have remained, despite a violent protest campaign that resulted in more than 100 deaths last year.
Read the entire report on the Business Standard.
8. Muslim Girls Doing Better Than Boys at Schools in Bihar
Muslim girls have debunked the myth that they lag behind boys of the community in education. According to a report in The Telegraph, there are 1,78,842 more girls studying in schools of Bihar as compared to boys.
Human Resource Development department data for 2015-16 shows that the total number of Muslim students enrolled in government schools stands at 3,552,078. Of this 1,686,618 are boys and 1,865,460 girls.
Even the dropout rate for boys is higher than that of girls. A major reason for this may be that many poor families tend to boys to madrasas. Girls are not sent to madrasas because there is little scope for them there.
9. Opinion: Farmers Get Divided When They Need to Unite Most
As the assembly election approaches in Punjab, water politics over Satluj-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal has again come on the fore, writes Yogendra Yadav, former AAP leader.
In a coloumn for The Hindu, Yadav wrote that contemporary India illustrates the tragic paradox of farmers’ politics: they get divided just when they need to unite the most. He added that Badal-led government in Punjab is arguably the most despised state government by its own people.
According to Yadav, the Akali Dal has played the water card to distract voters from growing anger against misgovernance.
The resolution should ideally take a political route. Leaders and parties from Punjab must step back from the extra-constitutional path of unilateral action and instead negotiate on the share of Ravi-Beas water. The Centre should step forward and bring both Punjab and Haryana, ruled by the BJP and an ally, to the negotiating table to resolve the crisis over the Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal.Yogendra Yadav opinion piece in The Hindu
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