Two Dalit underage girls die after being found unconscious in a field in Unnao; another in serious condition
Two underage Dalit girls were pronounced dead in hospital and another was in serious condition after being found unconscious in a field in Unnao district, eastern Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday, police said.
- The three girls, aged 15, 14 and 16, were found tied up in a field in Babuhara village in Asoha, about 36 km south of Lucknow, by villagers when they did not return after leaving their home to transport fodder for livestock.
- Police Director General H.C. Awasthy said the autopsy could not determine the cause of death and the viscera were kept for chemical examination.
- Ramesh Chandra Prayalankar, circle officer, Purwa, said that in the family members’ complaint, an FIR was registered against unidentified persons under Articles 302 and 201 of the IPC.
- He denied reports that relatives of the victims were detained at the police station and were not allowed to speak to the media.
- The chief medical superintendent of Unnao District Hospital, Basant Bhatt, said when the girl was taken away she was in serious condition.
The “Rail roko” demonstration remains peaceful
Farmers gathered near train tracks in many parts of Punjab and Haryana on Thursday for the “rail roko” protest against the Centre’s new agricultural laws, and officials stopped trains at stations as a precaution.
- The rail blockade did not have much impact in Uttar Pradesh, and farmers staged symbolic protests near state railroads and stations.
- About 25 trains have been regulated in the northern zone due to so-called “roko rail” by farmers protesting the three agricultural laws on Thursday, a spokesperson for the regional railways said.
- Regulating trains means they have been canceled, interrupted or rerouted.
- The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an organization that brings together the farmers’ unions leading the protest, announced the nationwide rail blockade last week to push for his demand to repeal the laws and said the unrest would be 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. pm
Third quad ministerial meeting to discuss regional and global issues
Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar will join his counterparts from the United States, Japan and Australia on February 18 (later this evening) as part of the Quad coalition to deliberate on ways to improve cooperation in the Indo-Pacific in the context of Chinese growth and assertiveness in the region. This is the first meeting of its kind since the election of US President Joe Biden.
- The Foreign Ministry (MEA) said ministers will exchange views on regional and global issues, especially practical areas of cooperation to keep an Indo-Pacific region free, open and inclusive.
- Developments in the Indo-Pacific region following China’s growing military flexion have become an important topic of conversation among the major world powers.
- The United States preferred to make Quad a security architecture to control China’s growing assertion. The MEA said the meeting will provide an opportunity to continue the useful exchange of views since its last meeting in Tokyo last October.
LG asks Pondicherry CM to demonstrate a majority in the Assembly on February 22
Pondicherry’s congress government will face a showdown on Monday, Tamil Lt. Gov. Soundararajan said today, citing the opposition’s stance that the ruling party no longer enjoys a majority.
- Within months of the election, the state government reportedly lost its slim majority after four recent resignations, although Chief Minister V Narayanasamy denies it. He insists that two of these resignations have not yet been accepted.
- Soundararajan, who was sworn in as lieutenant governor Thursday after Kiran Bedi’s sudden impeachment, said a test was needed to determine whether the congressional government had a majority. The vote will take place on Monday at 5 p.m.
- Of the 30 MLAs elected to the assembly, Congress had 15 members and, along with the three members of the DMK and one independent member, had barely exceeded a majority of 16.
- After the resignations, the government and the opposition are 14 years old. Congress has 10 members, which leaves the government slightly less than the majority, which has dropped to 15 and the assembly has dropped to 28.
SC asks the government about the felling of trees of certain species and ages
Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad A. Bobde asked the government on Thursday if steps could be taken to prevent the felling of trees of a certain species and age, after reviewing their contributions to the environment, including to infrastructure projects.
- Chief Justice Bobde said that certain tree species can be identified and classified based on their ability to provide oxygen and bind soil.
- The comments came even as a Supreme Court-appointed panel of experts presented a report that cutting down 300 heritage trees to build five railway bridges in West Bengal would cost India a staggering amount. 2,23,50,00,000.
- The 10-digit figure was established by the committee after calculating the products these trees would produce during their 100-year natural life. These include oxygen, micronutrients, compost, and biofertilizers, as well as being valuable members of the natural environment.
- The committee had said that an individual tree made parts each year with “products” worth Rs 74,500. Although the report was submitted a year ago, the loss figures cited in the report had managed to alarm the court of Chief Justice Bobde.
- CJI suggested developing a new protocol according to which road and highway projects should only be allowed after verifying the viability of other modes of transport, such as waterways and railways.
“Metroman” E. Sreedharan Joins BJP
In a big boost for the party, E. Sreedharan, Senior Advisor to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and popularly known as Metroman, will join the BJP. This was announced by the chairman of the BJP Kerala unit, K. Surendran, during a press conference here on Thursday. Sreedharan, 88, would officially join the party at the inauguration of the state-wide Vijaya Yatra, led by Surendran of Kasaragod, on February 21, ahead of the assembly elections.
PM offers a special visa regime for medical personnel at the Covid workshop with nine countries
Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggested on Thursday that neighboring countries should consider creating a special visa system for doctors and nurses, so that they can quickly travel to the region in the event of a health emergency, at the country’s request.
- Modi was attending a workshop on “Managing COVID-19: Experience, Good Practices and the Way Forward” with nine neighboring countries, including Pakistan.
- India hosted the virtual secretary-level meeting chaired by Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, the prime minister said that civil aviation ministries could coordinate a regional air ambulance agreement for medical contingencies and that countries could come together to create a regional platform for the collection, compilation and study of data on the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines among populations.
Covid Watch: The number of reported coronavirus cases in India stood at 1,09,50888 at the time of this bulletin, with a balance of 1,57,428.
Chris Morris surpassed Yuvraj Singh on Friday to become the most expensive purchase in IPL auction history, with the Rajasthan Royals spending Rs. 16.25 crore for the versatile South African in Chennai.
- Morris’s big payday came after another versatile and perennial underperformer, Australian Glenn Maxwell, once again managed to attract a winning bid of Rs 14.25 crore from Royal Challengers Bangalore.
- Morris, who came in with a base price of Rs 75 lakh, generated offers from four teams before it escalated into a battle between the Royals and the Kings of Punjab.
- The Royals eventually sealed it with a record bid, which made Morris the most expensive purchase at the auction, beating Yuvraj Singh, who was bought by Delhi Capitals for Rs 16 million in 2015.