QBullet: Modi to Meet Bangladesh PM; Tree-Felling Begins at Aarey

Catch all the top headlines across newspapers here.

5 min read
PM Modi with Sheikh Hasina during a media event. Image used for representational purposes.

1. NRC Likely to Be a Key Focus Area of Modi Meeting with Bangladesh PM

Visiting Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi will on Saturday inaugurate three projects, including one for the cross-border supply of LPG to the northeast, and give a boost to trade and connectivity, people familiar with developments said.

Both countries are keen to publicly play down the issue of the implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, though officials from both sides privately acknowledged the matter is expected to figure when Hasina holds talks with Modi on Saturday.

During a brief interaction with journalists at a reception hosted by the Bangladesh high commission on Thursday night, Hasina said Bangladesh doesn’t foresee any problems with India over the NRC following an assurance from Modi.

(Source: Hindustan Times)


2. Bombay HC Clears Metro Depot at Aarey, Felling of Trees Begins

The Bombay High Court on Friday, 4 October dismissed a petition challenging the decision of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s Tree Authority to allow felling of 2,185 trees, and transplantation of 460, on a 33-hectare land at Aarey for the construction of a Metro Line 3 rake depot.

The bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Bharati H Dangre also dismissed a petition by NGO Vanashakti, seeking to declare Aarey a forest, and said the petitioner should file an application before the Supreme Court in view of the T N Godavarman case — the 1996 landmark ruling on defining forests and their protection.

Following the High Court order, the felling of trees began late Friday night. The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) has said only 2 percent of Aarey land is going to be used for the project.

(Source: The Indian Express)

3. In a first, US Lawmakers Take a Step Against India on Kashmir

In what could become the first step towards legislative action by American lawmakers against India on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations has added an appeal to end what it calls a “humanitarian crisis” in Kashmir in its report ahead of the annual Foreign Appropriations Act for 2020.

The amendment was proposed by Senator Chris Van Hollen, who visited Delhi this week as a part of a congressional delegation that discussed the Kashmir situation as well as India-US bilateral relations, trade ties and defence purchases with key officials.

According to the report, which was submitted to the Senate by Lindsey Graham, senior Senator and key Republican leader known for his close ties to President Donald Trump, the committee on Appropriations “notes with concern the current humanitarian crisis in Kashmir and calls on the Government of India to: fully restore telecommunications and Internet services; lift its lockdown and curfew; and release individuals detained pursuant to the Government's revocation of Article 370 of the Indian constitution.”

(Source: The Hindu)


4. In Addition to 150 seats, Smaller Allies to Contest on BJP Symbol in Maharashtra

In a joint address on Friday, 4 October, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray declared that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will fight on 150 seats in the state, while Sena will contest from 124.

The remaining 14 seats will go smaller allies such as the Republican Party of India (Athavale), Rashtriya Samaj Party and others. It is believed that a considerable number of these will fight on the BJP’s symbol. There are a total of 288 seats in the Assembly.

BJP had won 122 seats in the last state elections, whereas the Shiv Sena had to be content with 63. Sena supporters are heartened that its leaders struck a good bargain with its ally— the party is contesting from nearly double the number of seats it won last time, while BJP is fighting on only a few more seats than its final tally.

(Source: DNA)

5. IAF Admits it Shot Down Own Mi-17 Helicopter on 27 February

Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria, on Friday, 4 October for the first time, officially admitted that an Indian Air Force missile had shot down its own Mi-17 helicopter in Kashmir on February 27, calling it a “big mistake.”

Earlier media reports that the IAF's air defence missile had shot down an Mi-17 helicopter in Budgam in the Kashmir Valley minutes after Pakistan Air Force fighter aircraft had entered Indian air space on February 27 were mostly based on state sources.

The incident had resulted in the death of seven people, including six IAF personnel on board and a civilian on the ground.

(Source: Deccan Chronicle)


6. Unbecoming of Office Imran Khan Holds: India on Pak PM's 'Jihad' Call

India on Friday, 4 October condemned the “provocative and irresponsible” statements against it by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan over abrogation of provisions of Article 370 and said he is unaware of how international relations are conducted.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the comments made by Khan do not behove the post he holds.

Kumar was responding to a question on the call for a march from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to the Line of Control, which has been backed by Pakistan’s military, to protest India’s move.

(Source: The Tribune)

7. Row Over Sedition, FIR Against 49 Celebrities for Open Letter to PM

The FIR on charges of sedition and other offences ordered filed by 49 celebrities by the chief judicial magistrate of Muzaffarpur, Bihar, for writing a letter to the PM snowballed into a controversy and led to a blowback on Friday, 4 October with one of the signatories to the letter, filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan, saying the government and the judiciary seemed to have missed seeing people shooting at an effigy of Mahatma Gandhi but an FIR had been ordered against 49 actors, directors and intellectuals expressing concern about increasing instances of mob lynchings.

The signatories to the letter to the PM included Ramachandra Guha, Shyam Benegal, Aparna Sen, Amit Chaudhuri, Kaushik Sen, Mani Ratnam, Anurag Kashyap, Soumitra Chatterjee and Shubha Mudgal.

Gopalakrishnan said the CJM court’s decision pointed to the disturbing state of affairs in the country. “And what worries us most is that a court has admitted the case,” he told reporters on Friday.

(Source: The Times of India)


8. Karnataka to Get Rs 1.2K-cr Flood Relief

Amid criticism over the delay in releasing central funds for flood relief, the Centre on Friday, 4 October finally announced “advance release” of Rs 1,200 crore from the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) to Karnataka.

Along with Karnataka, Union Home Minister Amit Shah also approved an advance release of Rs 613.75 crore for Bihar.

“The states of Karnataka and Bihar have apprised of paucity of funds in the SDRF account resulting in delay in providing relief assistance to the affected people and requested release of advance additional financial assistance from NDRF,” an official statement said.

(Source: Deccan Herald)

9. Navlakha Gets SC Protection Against Arrest in Elgar Case

In a relief to civil rights activist Gautam Navlakha, the SC on Friday, 4 October extended his interim protection from arrest till further orders and directed Maharashtra government to place before it in a sealed envelope all the evidence collected against him in relation to the Elgar Parishad case.

Navlakha and other accused were booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and IPC after an “Elgar Parishad” held in Pune on 31 December, 2017 allegedly triggered violence at Koregaon-Bhima the next day.

Navlakha had approached the Bombay HC for quashing of the FIR but the court turned down his plea while granting interim protection for three weeks to approach the SC. Agreeing to hear his plea, a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta extended his interim protection which was expiring on Friday.

(Source: The Times of India)

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