QBullet: MP Govt Averts Crisis; Surge in Coronavirus Cases
Catch all the top headlines across newspapers here.
1. MP Govt Staves Off Crisis as 6 MLAs Return to Congress
The MP government has weathered its biggest challenge in 14 months in office. It staved off what CM Kamal Nath and his senior Congress colleague Digvijaya Singh dubbed a BJP attempt to topple the government by buying out ruling alliance MLAs.
Six of the 10 ‘missing’ MLAs were back in the Nath fold by Wednesday, 4 March, afternoon. But four are still ‘missing’ and reported to be cooped up in bungalows in Whitefield, Bengaluru. All other ruling alliance MLAs are accounted for, says Congress. “My government has already proven majority four times in floor tests and defeated BJP. They will be defeated again,” Nath said. With two seats vacant, the House strength is 228, putting the majority mark at 115.
(Source: The Times of India)
2. Surge in Cases, All Inbound Flyers Put on Corona Watch
The number of people with the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in India rose sharply to 29 and additional schools and offices were closed in several cities on Wednesday, 4 March, as authorities found more people with signs of an infection, deepening the potential for the virus to spread further in what could turn into a health emergency for the country.
The infections confirmed on Wednesday include a 26-year-old man who works for Paytm in Gurugram and had been to Italy – one of the hotbeds of the outbreak. The rest were people who had been in close contact with the three patients confirmed to have been infected by the novel coronavirus earlier this week.
(Source: Hindustan Times)
3. SC Tells Delhi HC to Hear Hate FIR Plea
Describing as “unjustified” the “long” adjournment of a petition seeking registration of FIRs against some BJP leaders over alleged hate speeches made in the days preceding the communal violence in Delhi, the Supreme Court Wednesday, 4 March, sent the plea to the Delhi High Court with the direction that it be listed for 6 March along with other petitions on the matter.
The bench of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant, hearing a plea by ten riot affected people, SC tells HC to hear hate FIR plea, objects to Mander remarks said: “We think that adjournment for such a long period is unjustified. We also do not want to assume jurisdiction when the HC is seized of the matter… We also direct that other connected matters, along with all the applications for impleadment and intervention on the same subject which have admittedly been adjourned to a later date by the High Court of Delhi, may be advanced and taken up along with the instant writ petition on the aforesaid date i.e. 06.03.2020.”
(Source: The Indian Express)
4. COVID-19: Ram Nath Kovind, Narendra Modi to Avoid Holi Gatherings
India currently has only 28 known cases of COVID-19, but the political class has taken the pandemic seriously. President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday, 4 March, that they would not attend any gathering to mark Holi (10 March). Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s rally in Hyderabad, scheduled for 15 March, is likely to be postponed.
Mr Kovind wrote on Twitter: “With alertness and safeguards, we all can help contain the outbreak of COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus. In a precautionary measure, the Rashtrapati Bhavan will not hold the traditional Holi gatherings.”
The tweet followed Mr Modi’s own, declaring his intention to keep away from Holi events.
(Source: The Hindu)
5. SPO, Civilian Killed in Encounter in Jammu and Kashmir's Sopore
Two persons including a Special Police Officer (SPO) were killed during an encounter between the security force and a group of heavily-armed terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir's Sopore area of Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday, 4 March.
A civilian was also killed after being caught in the crossfires.
According to Zee Media sources, the civilian, a local shopkeeper, was critically injured and succumbed to his injuries later.
6. Delhi High Court Backs Kejriwal on Riot Compensation
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday said there was “nothing wrong” with the AAP government's decision to announce compensation for victims of the riots in northeast Delhi over the amended citizenship law.
A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar declined to entertain a PIL which had challenged the compensation announced by the Delhi government, saying “it is a policy decision” and “we will not interfere in it”.
The petitioner, BJP leader and former MLA Nand Kishore Garg, contended that victims of the riots be identified before payment of compensation to ensure those who “perpetrated” the violence do not get the relief.
The bench disagreed with the contention, saying if the petitioner's suggestion was accepted, then the scheme “would become totally unworkable”.
(Source: Deccan Chronicle)
7. Selfie-Seeker Falls Into Zoo Enclosure, Killed by Tigress
A man was killed by a tigress at the Birsa Munda Biological Park in Ranchi on Wednesday, 4 March, after he fell into its enclosure while trying to take a selfie with the big cat.
Tigress ‘Anushka’ attacked the man in his 30s, identified as Wasim Ansari of Buti More in Ranchi, who died within minutes.
According to eyewitness Ramjit Oraon, Wasim climbed up a tree near the enclosure. “Initially, he took a few snaps of the animal. Then he tried to take a selfie with the tigress and, in the process, allowed the branch of the tree to tilt down a bit more. The branch gave away and he fell right into the enclosure where Anushka was taking a stroll. The tigress attacked him on his neck, face and chest. Before anyone could react, Wasim died, bleeding profusely,” said Oraon.
(Source: Deccan Herald)
8. India Crashes on Freedom Index
India’s score has shown the biggest decline among the world’s 25 largest democracies in the new report from Freedom House, the oldest American organisation devoted to the support and defence of democracy around the world.
The steep fall has been blamed on three actions of the Narendra Modi government: the unilateral annulment of the semi-autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir, the implementation of the National Register of Citizens in Assam and the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
India has now been placed by the Washington-based Freedom House among “countries in the spotlight’’ along with Haiti, Iran, Nigeria, Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey, Hong Kong and Ukraine. This category lists countries where important developments in 2019 affected their democratic trajectory and deserve special scrutiny in 2020.
(Source: The Telegraph)
9. Nirbhaya Case: Notice to Convicts Over Fresh Death Warrant
A Delhi court on Wednesday, 4 March, issued notice to four death-row convicts in the Nirbhaya case on an application moved by the Delhi Government seeking issuance of fresh date for their execution.
The Delhi Government moved the court seeking a fresh date for hanging of convicts a few hours after President Ram Nath Kovind rejected the plea for pardon moved by one of the death-row convicts, Pawan.
“In my opinion, principle of natural justice, which is implicit in Article 21 of Constitution of India and the scaroscant principal of Audi Alteram Partem (nobody can be condemned unheard) cannot be ignored by the court,” Additional Sessions Judge Dharmendra Rana stated.
The court has sought convict’s response and posted the matter to 2 pm on Thursday.
(Source: The Tribune)
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