Seven policemen in Bihar's Begusarai were suspended on Wednesday for lapse in duty after one person was killed in a mass shooting on Tuesday evening, police said. While two persons were initially believed to be behind the act, CCTV footage suggests the involvement of four people. While a reward of ₹50,000 has been announced for “credible leads” pertaining to the suspects, five people have been detained for questioning, police added.
The chief minister of Tamil Nadu has promised legal action against those found guilty of sexual harassment at the Rukmini Devi College of Fine Arts, run by Kalakshetra Foundation. The students had been protesting for two days against alleged harassment by four faculty members, and the Tamil Nadu Women's Commission chairperson said it had received nearly 100 complaints of harassment and mental abuse. Kalakshetra had previously announced the closure of the college until 6 April and directed students to vacate hostels within two days.
The state government of Kerala in India has opposed a proposal to raise the minimum age of marriage for women from 18 to 21 years. The state's women and child development department sent a letter to the National Commission for Women opposing the bill, which had been proposed in parliament in 2021. The Kerala government argued that women are eligible to vote at 18 so they should also be allowed to marry. The proposed bill seeks to bring uniformity in the marriageable age of men and women, with the age for men currently set at 21.
The Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy government in Andhra Pradesh has caused unrest among the Adivasis in the state by proposing to include Boya, Valmiki, and Bentu Oriya communities in the list of Scheduled Tribes. The tribal groups under the auspices of the Adivasi Joint Action Committee blocked vehicles and ambulances in these areas. They held up traffic for several hours, paralysing the public transport into the interior areas of these districts.
India's Supreme Court has ruled that trials involving special laws with stringent bail provisions must be concluded speedily, and courts must be sensitive to the deleterious effects of incarceration on undertrials. The court made the ruling in an appeal for bail filed by an accused under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act who was behind bars for the past seven years while the trial proceeded at a slow pace. The accused was granted bail, with the court stating that if trials are not concluded in time, the injustice inflicted on the individual is immeasurable.
At least 36 people have died and 18 others injured after a stepwell collapsed at Beleshwar Mahadev Jhulelal temple in Madhya Pradesh, India during Ram Navami celebrations. The dead included 20 women, 12 men and four children. Questions were raised over the efficiency of rescue operations after a video emerged of a woman being pulled out by a man through a makeshift ladder but falling off it. The chairman and secretary of the temple trust have been charged with culpable homicide.
Police in Madhya Pradesh, India, have been accused of fabricating evidence to boost numbers in a scheme to reunite missing children with their families. Kanchan Uike, a 14-year-old who went missing in 2014, was one of 2,444 girls "recovered" under Operation Muskaan, launched by the state government and police in January 2021. Kanchan was said to have been murdered by her father and brother, but reappeared this week, unaware of the charges against them. Lawyers said the family was tortured into making a false confession.
India has announced a new Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) with a target of $2tn in exports by 2030, equally split between goods and services. The policy will be effective from 1 April and encourages trade settlements in rupees. Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said the target could be reached if the country explored every possible opportunity, while the new FTP also includes a "massive, focused, concentrated" global outreach effort over the next few months. The policy aims to expand India's share in the global supply chain and exports.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded Satyajit Ray an Oscar for lifetime achievement on March 16, 1992, in his hospital bed in Calcutta. During the Academy Awards ceremony, a video of Ray receiving the award was shown, with Ray expressing his gratitude for the "magnificent award, certainly the best achievement of my movie-making career." Ray also noted that he learned everything about cinema from American films and had tried to capture something unique in Indian experience that was universal. Ray, who had hoped to attend the ceremony, was hospitalised several weeks before it took place.
The return of home games to the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2023 will give teams the chance to capitalise on a cricketing advantage they have historically built, according to How India Lives. The IPL will return to a city-based league, offering revenue streams from ticket sales and the opportunity to build a greater connection with home fans. Chennai Super Kings have the highest winning percentage at home on an overall basis with 71%, followed by Rajasthan Royals with 68%. Meanwhile, Bengaluru and Delhi have a home record that trails their overall record in the IPL.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is launching a probe into Salai Group of Companies over allegations of running a ponzi or money circulation scheme and cheating investors by collecting deposits with a promise to pay 3% interest per month. The founder and chairman of the group, Narengbam Samarjit Singh, was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in relation to the formation of a self-styled organisation that declared Manipur an independent nation in London in 2019. The CBI has charged Singh, eight others, and 13 Salai Group companies under the Indian Penal Code and Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Act, 2019.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) high command has instructed leaders in Madhya Pradesh to set aside differences and come together as a cohesive unit to implement the electoral strategy that will be designed for the assembly elections scheduled for later this year. The BJP has been in power in the state since 2005, with Shivraj Singh Chouhan as chief minister, but was ousted for 15 months in 2018, only to make a comeback in 2020.
The Indian government has relaxed quality specifications of wheat eligible for procurement from Madhya Pradesh following crop-damaging torrential rains. The move is expected to benefit farmers in the region and reduce the hardship caused by the weather. More states are likely to be granted the same benefit based on assessments in the coming weeks. Bountiful harvests are crucial this year, as the country is running low on cereal stocks after a heatwave, which curtailed wheat production by 2.5% in 2022, stoking shortages. India has officially forecast a record wheat output of 112 million tonnes.
The Kerala Lok Ayukta has referred a case against the state's chief minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, to a larger bench following a difference of opinion between judges. The case involves allegations that Vijayan misused the chief minister's disaster relief fund (CMDRF) to provide financial assistance to the families of a deceased police officer and a Nationalist Congress Party leader, as well as to help pay off the debts of a late Communist Party of India (Marxist) legislator. The petitioner has claimed that the funds were diverted and that the actions were illegal and illegitimate.
India's Gujarat high court has overturned a central information commissioner's order that required Gujarat University to provide information about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's degrees to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The court imposed a cost of INR25,000 ($386) on Kejriwal, ruling that the information sought had nothing to do with Modi's role as a public figure.
The US NATO Ambassador, Julianne Smith, has said that the alliance is ready to engage more with India if the country is interested. Smith stressed that there are currently no plans to expand NATO to a broader global military alliance. She also said that India is not yet invited to NATO ministerials until the alliance knows more about India's interest in engaging with NATO more broadly. The envoy also highlighted how NATO has started to mention the Asia-Pacific and the Indo-Pacific in some of its strategic documents.