1. After Uri attack, Parrikar Dismisses Nuclear Threat From ‘empty vessel’ Pakistan
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar dismissed on Wednesday a nuclear threat from Pakistan, describing the neighbour’s provocative statements after the Uri strike as a case of “empty vessels make more noise”.
His statement came hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met his top ministers and military commanders to weigh an effective response to the deadly weekend terrorist attack at the north Kashmir Army base that killed 18 soldiers.
“The stronger man doesn’t make too many arguments,” Parrikar said, responding to a question on Pakistan’s nuclear saber-rattling amid calls for a swift retaliation. “How to punish, that is for us to work out. We are serious about it.”
2. MEA Lashes Out at Nawaz Sharif After Pak PM Hails Burhan Wani at UNGA
Pakistan Prime Minister said Wani, who was killed in an encounter with security forces on 8 July, has “emerged as the symbol of the latest Kashmiri intifada, a popular and peaceful freedom movement”. Sharif also claimed that he had gone the extra mile to offer “a dialogue to address all outstanding issues, but India has posed unacceptable preconditions to engage in a dialogue.”
Responding to Sharif’s allegations, Swarup said India’s only condition for talks is an end to terrorism.
Earlier in the day, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar summoned Pakistan High Commissioner over the Uri attack.
3. The Unimportance of Shahabuddin
Bihar is one of the few states where the intimacies of the mafia and intelligentsia are celebrated in a demonstrative manner. If, of several brothers in a family, one is a muscleman and all others reputed professionals, then the muscleman brother is subsidised by the others.
The muscleman brother’s authority in the upwardly mobile family stems from the fact that he is a conduit between the overt and organised operations of his brothers and his own covert world of politics and the underworld. This helps the other brothers not only in promoting their professional graph through the coveted transfer and posting, but also protecting their properties, accumulated through legal or illegal means.
In this backdrop, Shahabuddin will also get socially and politically marginalised, irrespective of the direction of the Supreme Court judgment in his case.
4. Gujarat: Muslims Barred From Garba Events in Bharuch
The organisers of two garba events in Gujarat’s Bharuch district have decided not to allow Muslims at the venue after protests from the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP). The Bharuch unit of the VHP opposed two garba events which also have Muslims as their organisers.
The VHP members handed over a memorandum to the district collector, seeking to ban Muslims at the event over “security” and “law and order” issues. The organisers of the first event, a real estate group which also has a Muslim partner, on Tuesday said it will check the identity of ticket seekers for the event which is scheduled to be held in October.
The real estate group’s partners include: Jaydeepsinh Raj, Jasu Patel and Asif Patel. They are organising a mega garba event at Dudhara dairy ground in Bharuch. Among those invited to the nine-day event, “Raas-e-Bharuch”, include actors Jackie Shroff and Zarine Khan.
5. Sidhu Won’t Form Party, Doesn’t Want to Play ‘Spoilsport’ in Punjab Polls
It’s a shot he seldom played when he opened the batting for India. He was known more for stepping out and hitting out. But Navjot Singh Sidhu on Wednesday hit his latest reverse sweep on the political pitch!
Ending his latest silence over his political future, the former BJP MP declared that the forum ‘Awaaz-E-Punjab’ that he had launched earlier this month will not be a political party. And it’s open to allying with anyone to break the “Badal-Amarinder nexus”.
While this rules out any alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and the Congress led by its state unit chief Capt Amarinder Singh, Sidhu’s wife and namesake, sitting BJP MLA Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu also ruled out any truck with the BJP.
6. HC Extends Abortion Right to Live-in Relationships
The Bombay High Court has extended to live-in relationships a pro-choice right which only married women have enjoyed so far in law.
The HC held that a provision under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, which currently doesn’t apply to live-in relationships, should be understood to be applicable also to couples who live in the nature of a marriage.
A 45-year-old law that governs and grants women the right to abort spelled out how a married woman, who may have conceived by accident despite using birth control devices, could be permitted to terminate such pregnancy till 20 weeks, if unwanted, on the ground that its continuation would cause her mental trauma.
7. Railway Budget a Vanishing Trick
Finally, the almost century-old practice of presenting a separate Railway Budget ahead of the General Budget is to be dispensed with from the next financial year (2017-18), and the Railway Budget merged with the General Budget. The Union Cabinet has just cleared the proposal.
What are the reported reasons for this merger? According to earlier media reports, a separate Railway Budget is being dispensed with so that the Indian Railways need not pay the annual dividend to the Government of India on the budgetary support given each year, saving the financially stressed Railways about Rs 10,000 crore annually; over the years, the Budget has been misused by politicians as a populist platform to enhance their own image; no other Ministry has a separate budget and the practice exists in no other country today; the Bibek Debroy Committee has recommended discontinuance of a separate Rail Budget and it is part of the Prime Minister’s reform programme. Besides, it is a colonial legacy.
8. Nitish Kumar Accuses Centre of Neglecting Sikhs
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday accused the Centre of “non-cooperation” in the 350th birth anniversary celebrations of Sikh Guru Gobind Singh and asserted that the state would go ahead with its own resources.
The 10th Sikh Guru was born in Patna on 22 December 1666 in what is now Takht Shri Harmandir Sahib or Patna Sahib. The Bihar government will spend Rs 100 crore on the celebrations that will start from 30 December this year and continue till 8 January 2017. The main events will be over three days starting 3 January.
“I first wrote to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) five years ago, requesting it to sanction funds for the development of infrastructure to accommodate millions of Sikh devotees who will gather for the occasion. I have been following it up successively and repeatedly without success,” Nitish told reporters ahead of the three-day International Sikh Conclave that begins on Thursday.
9. Nation Still Prefers Boys Over Girls, Sex Ratio in Delhi Falls Sharply
India continues to prefer boys over girls and the Capital more so.
Nationwide, the number of girls born per 1,000 boys has dropped from 909 during 2011-13 to 906 for the 2012-14 period, a government survey has found.
But, the fall is steepest in Delhi – from 887 to 876. Uttar Pradesh comes next. The findings of the sample registration system (SRS) 2014, released last week, indicate that sex selection isn’t limited to the Hindi heartland, but is spreading to states such as Tamil Nadu, where the number dropped to 921 from 927.
Sex ratio at birth is considered an accurate marker for girls missing at birth. Internationally, the ratio at birth is 950 or more girls born per 1,000 boys.