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5 THINGS FIRST

PM Modi to interact with India’s Olympic contingent; Calcutta High Court to hear Bengal post-poll violence case; Sher Bahadur Deuba to take oath as new PM of Nepal; Karnataka High Court verdict on Twitter India chief’s plea on UP summons likely; Jaishankar to attend SCO foreign ministers’ meet in Tajikistan

1. North India, MP reel from lightning & floods
1. North India, MP reel from lightning & floods
  • Rajasthan: Twenty three people, including seven children, were killed and 27 injured in incidents of lightning strikes. In a major tragedy in Jaipur, 12 people, mostly youngsters, were killed and 11 injured in an incident of lightning strike at the watch tower near Amber Fort (in pic). Some of them were taking selfies on the watchtower, while the others were on the hill nearby; those on the tower fell on the ground when lightning struck late on Sunday evening.
  • Besides Jaipur, deaths were reported from six other districts — Kota, Jhalawar, Baran, Dholpur, Sawai Madhopur and Tonk — according to the Disaster Management and Relief department.
  • Uttar Pradesh: Forty six people died in separate rain-related incidents including lightning strikes in the 24 hours ending 6:00 am on Monday. Twenty three were also injured in incidents of lightning strike. While 42 people were killed after being struck by lightning, three drowned and one succumbed to snakebite, informed a senior official of the relief commissioner’s office.
  • Madhya Pradesh: Twelve people, including two minors, were killed and 11 others injured in separate incidents of lightning. The incidents took place in the last 24 hours starting Sunday evening.

Himachal

  • Himachal Pradesh: In Dharamshala, flash floods triggered by heavy rains swept away cars and two buildings, videos of which were widely shared on the social media (in pic). The flash floods also damaged several buildings, including one housing a government school, as bad weather led to the closure of the Kangra airport at Gaggal.
  • Jammu & Kashmir: Eleven people were rescued following flash floods in Kathua district where heavy rains disrupted normal life and inundated several areas, officials said. The people belonging to a nomadic community were stuck in flash floods in Ujh river in the Rajbagh area and were rescued by police and disaster personnel. Several farm animals were, however, washed away.
2. Chinese troops entered India again
2. Chinese troops entered India again
  • There was an ingress by Chinese troops in Demchok in Ladakh to protest against celebrations of Tibetan religious leader Dalai Lama’s birthday in Indian villages.
  • The Chinese intruders, according to reports, crossed the Indus to the Indian side to display banners and the Chinese flag. Most Buddhists in Ladakh hold the Dalai Lama in reverence and his winter palace near Leh is kept in a state of constant readiness.
  • The Indian army refused to comment on the incident. The intrusion was not regarded as serious but part of the Chinese pin-prick tactics in the region.
  • The Chinese obstruct Indian patrols in parts of Demchok area and this is part of the stalled India-China military talks. The latest incident occurred on July 6 at Doley Tango near Koyul, about 30km southeast of Demchok.
  • According to reports, the Chinese, comprising Army personnel and civilians, came in five vehicles and raised banners near the village community centre where the Dalai Lama’s birthday was being celebrated.
  • The Indian and Chinese sides remained engaged in talks that have not progressed after the mutual withdrawal in the Pangong Tso region in Ladakh.
3. Assam tables stringent cow protection bill
3. Assam tables stringent cow protection bill
Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday tabled before the legislative assembly a new cow protection bill that seeks to ban the sale and consumption of beef and beef products within 5 km of any temple, satra or religious institutions belonging to the Hindu religion or in areas “predominantly inhabited by Hindu, Jain, Sikh and other non beef-eating communities”.

More:

  • It seeks to prohibit the transport of cattle to and fro or in Assam without a permit. A competent authority may issue permits for the transport for agricultural or animal husbandry purposes and make exemptions such as for feeding carnivorous animals in the zoo.
  • Seeks to prohibit the slaughter of cows, regardless of age, and other cattle so long as they are under fourteen years of age or is not permanently incapacitated.
  • Offences under the new legislation will be cognisable and non-bailable.
  • The Bill would replace the existing Assam Cattle Preservation Act, 1950, which allowed the slaughter of cattle above the age of 14 or those unfit for work after approval from local veterinary officers.
  • The new bill was necessitated as the existing laws lacked sufficient legal provisions to “regulate slaughter, consumption and transportation of cattle”, Sarma said.

Reactions:

  • “This is not a Bill to protect cows, or even respect cows. This has been brought to hurt the sentiments of the Muslims and polarise communities further,” said Aminul Islam of All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF).
4. Does the Centre want sedition law to stay?
4. Does the Centre want sedition law to stay?
  • The Supreme Court on Monday granted two weeks’ time to the Centre to make its stand clear on a plea challenging the constitutional validity of Section 124-A of the Indian Penal Code which penalises sedition. The Centre sought more
  • Six decades after upholding the constitutional validity of Section 124-A of IPC, the apex court in May agreed to examine whether the verdict needed a re-look and whether the penal provision has lost its relevance in the present condition.
  • The petition has been filed by two journalists who challenged the validity of the penal provision which prescribes punishment of up to life imprisonment.
  • The journalists, who are themselves facing sedition charges for allegedly voicing against political leaders and had to spend months in jail, pleaded that the law outlived its utility and it was being misused by people in power against those who criticise them. They contended that many countries including England, which had introduced sedition law in India, have scrapped the penal provision pertaining to offence of sedition.
  • While upholding the validity of Section 124A, a Constitution bench of the apex court in Kedar Nath Singh v. State of Bihar case of 1962 read down the Section and held that acts involving intention or tendency to create disorder, or disturbance of law and order, or incitement to violence would be made penal by Section 124-A.
  • Referring to the misuse of Section 124A, the petitioner journalists – Manipur-based 41 year old Kishorechandra Wangkhemcha and 53-year old Chhattisgarh-based Kanhaiya Lal Shukla, alleged the number of sedition cases registered across the country doubled from 35 in 2016 to 75 in 2018 but no chargesheets were filed in over 70% of the cases, and only four of the 43 cases where trial has been completed resulted in convictions.
6. Paytm paves the path for mega IPO
6. Paytm paves the path for mega IPO
  • Paytm set the ball rolling for the biggest consumer tech IPO in India after its shareholders approved a resolution to raise around Rs 16,000 crore in fresh issue and secondary sale of shares.
  • Timeline: The company is expected to file its draft red herring prospectus as early as this week and is likely to launch its IPO by the end of November.
  • It matters: In dollar terms, Paytm’s IPO will be India’s third-biggest after state-run miner Coal India in 2010 and Reliance Power in 2008. In rupee terms, it will surpass Coal India’s Rs 15,500 crore issue. This could also nudge other established Indian startups to go public.
  • Valuation is likely to be in the range of Rs 1.78 lakh crore to Rs 2.2 lakh crore, which would make Paytm among top 10 listed financial services in the country.
  • Paytm’s largest shareholders include China’s Ant Financial (30.3%) and Alibaba (7.3%), Softbank Vision Fund (18.7%) and founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma (14.97%).
  • More coming: Food-delivery platform Zomato’s IPO is set to open from July 14 to July 16. It is in line to raise Rs 9,375 crore at a valuation of around Rs 60,000 crore.
7. Bihar’s dark caste-war days await closure
7. Bihar's dark caste-war days await closure
  • The Supreme Court on Monday admitted an appeal by the Bihar government challenging a Patna High Court judgment acquitting 13 persons, ten of whom were awarded death sentence by the trial court to death for brutally killing 34 upper-caste men in Senari village by a Maoist organisation in March 1999.
  • The Bihar government argued that the HC in its May 21 judgment erred in acquitting the accused even though the case of the prosecution was supported by as many as 23 witnesses, of which 13 were eyewitnesses who had lost their family members in the mass carnage.
  • SC permitted the state to serve notices on the 13 acquitted accused, three of whom were sentenced to life imprisonment by the trial court.
  • It was said that the Maoist organisation perpetrated the massacre allegedly to take revenge for the Ranvir Sena, a private army of upper-caste persons, allegedly killing 56 Dalits at Laxmanpur Bathe in 1996 and 23 more at Shankarbigha in 1999.
  • The Bihar government admitted before the SC that these caste-violence incidents are from its “dark period of history”.
8. Nepal SC again reinstates dissolved House
8. Nepal SC again reinstates dissolved House
  • For the second time in nearly five months, Nepal’s Supreme Court (SC) reinstated the dissolved House of Representatives while also ordering the appointment of Sher Bahadur Deuba as the country’s Prime Minister (PM) within the next two days. The five judge bench led by chief justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana had concluded hearings last week.
  • This is the fifth time that Deuba will become Nepal’s PM, a situation brought about by the constitutional crisis the country was plunged into since December last year when President Bidhya Devi Bhandari dissolved the House on the recommendation of PM K P Sharma Oli, who was involved in a power tussle within the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP).
  • The SC had reinstated the House in February this year even as Oli was preparing for snap polls that were scheduled for April 30 and May 10. When the house was dissolved for the second time in May, with Oli alleging that it was necessary as some leaders were attempting to form a “parallel government”, President Bhandari had announced snap elections for November 12 and November 19. The SC’s decision is likely to throw the election commission into a tizzy.
  • Oli had lost the trust vote on May 10 but was still able to be sworn in as the PM again after opposition parties led by Deuba failed to cobble together a coalition which would have a majority in the House, leading to Deuba withdrawing his claim to form the government.
9. In Euro aftermath, England fans show worst of…
9. In Euro aftermath, England fans show worst of...
  • … violence: London’s Metropolitan Police arrested 49 people in the aftermath of Sunday’s Euro 2020 final as officers confronted “volatile crowds”. Nineteen officers were injured during violent scenes outside Wembley stadium and in central London.
  • Videos showed ticketless fans fighting with stewards and pushing through barriers at Wembley before the match. Riot police broke through crowds outside the stadium when fans left the game, with some throwing bottles and chanting anti-Italian slogans after England lost on penalties.
  • The mood was equally edgy at Trafalgar Square when English supporters filed out following the defeat with some swearing, smashing bottles and overturning bins.
  • … racism: Twitter said it had removed more than 1,000 tweets and permanently suspended a number of accounts following the “abhorrent” racist abuse directed at England players, following their Euro 2020 final loss against Italy.
  • In particular, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka — all three coloured players missed their penalties — were targets of a stream of abuse on Instagram and Twitter, many apparently from foreign trolls and bots.
Answer to NEWS IN CLUES
Untitled (81)

Rajinikanth. Months after opting out of politics citing health worries, the 70-year-old on Monday stressed that he did not plan to change his mind and dissolved his outfit Rajini Makkal Mandram, effectively ending that chapter. “I have no plans of entering politics in future,” said Rajinikanth. The Rajini Makkal Mandram or people’s forum, launched in 2018, will be dissolved and will morph into “Rajinikanth Rasigar Narpani Mandram” or the Rajinikanth Fans Welfare Forum.

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Written by: Rakesh Rai, Judhajit Basu, Sumil Sudhakaran, Tejeesh N.S. Behl
Research: Rajesh Sharma



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