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Modi govt’s Kashmir interlocutor, Tillerson in India today, Supreme Court on the national anthem: Top stories

From former IB director Dineshwar Sharma appointment as Kashmir interlocutor to Rex Tillerson’s India visit, here are the top stories to bring you up to date.

india Updated: Oct 24, 2017 07:48 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Gabbar Singh Tax,Dramebaaz Party,Rahul Gandhi
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Doha, Qatar October 22, 2017. (Reuters)

Gabbar Singh Tax vs Dramebaaz Party No.1: Jibes fly as Cong, BJP take each other on in Gujarat

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday over the state of the economy and political bribery allegations as he tried to reach out to opposition leaders in poll-bound Gujarat. At a rally in Gandhinagar, Gandhi repeatedly commended Patel quota protest leader Hardik Patel and Dalit leader Jignesh Mewani, two prominent anti-BJP figures whose support is crucial for the Congress to snatch power in the prime minister’s home state. Gandhi also criticised the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and called the shock recall of high-value currency notes last November a personal whim of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Goods and Services Tax (GST) has destroyed small shop owners and businessmen…it is a Gabbar Singh Tax,” he said. Read the story here.

Tie-up or not? Mystery deepens as Hardik denies meeting Rahul at Ahmedabad hotel

Firebrand Patidar leader Hardik Patel has rejected reports that he met Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi at an Ahmedabad hotel on Monday. Local television channels ran CCTV footage that showed Patel entering the hotel’s premises late on Sunday night, and emerging around 4 pm the next day. Gandhi arrived at the same establishment around 1 pm on Monday. However, there was no visual evidence of the two meeting up, and HT was unable to independently verify the authenticity of the CCTV footage. The Congress had invited three young community representatives – OBC leader Alpesh Thakor, Dalit leader Jignesh Mewani and Patel – for talks with Gandhi. Read the story here.

‘I will need to talk to everybody,’ says Dineshwar Sharma, Modi govt’s Kashmir interlocutor

“For a substantive dialogue, I will need to talk to everybody,’’ former Intelligence Bureau director Dineshwar Sharma told Hindustan Times, minutes after home minister Rajnath Singh announced his name as the government’s representative to lead a “sustained dialogue” process for Jammu and Kashmir. The state has been on the boil since the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani in an encounter in July last year. Sharma, who headed the Intelligence Bureau last year when violent protests followed the killing of Wani, was called in for a meeting with national security advisor Ajit Doval and the home minister a few hours before the formal announcement, top sources revealed. Read the story here.

Don’t need to stand up for national anthem in movie halls to prove patriotism: Supreme Court

A Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra hinted on Monday that it may modify its 2016 verdict and make it optional for cinema halls to play the National anthem. The top court also asked the Centre to consider amending the national flag code if it wanted to enforce the playing of the national anthem in cinema halls across the country. In November 2016, the court passed an order, saying, “All the cinema halls in India shall play the National Anthem before the feature film starts and all present in the hall are obliged to stand up to show respect to the National Anthem.” On Monday, Chief Justice Misra said the court “may modify its order and may replace the word “shall” with “may.” Until then the November order will be in operation”. Read the story here.

One year of demonetisation: Opposition parties plan protests across states on November 8

Key opposition party leaders decided on Monday to launch protests across the states on November 8 on the fallout of demonetisation as it completes one year. Some parties have, however, maintained that instead of joint programmes, they may opt for simultaneous events keeping in mind regional sensitivities. “In Tamil Nadu, the communists can share a stage with Congress, DMK and other parties, but in Kerala or West Bengal, there can be separate arrangements,” said a Leftist leader. “Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and I will be speaking to representatives of 18 regional parties on the joint action plan that is being proposed,” breakaway Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav told HT. Read the story here.

Bomb threat at Taj Mahal, turns out to be hoax

Police in Agra went into a tizzy on Monday evening after an unidentified caller said there was a bomb at the Taj Mahal. Police and security agencies searched for the bomb but it turned out to be a hoax. Raja Singh, the in-charge of Tajganj police station, said the phone call was received at the emergency number 100 at Lucknow around 9.40pm. A search operation was launched and the carried and a Bomb Disposal Squad was called in. The lights around Taj Mahal were put on and sniffer dogs were also brought in. Read the story here.

40-foot whale carcass washes up at Mumbai shore; second in 5 months

Five months after a 45-foot-long Bryde’s whale carcass washed ashore at Juhu beach in two pieces in May, a similar incident was reported on Monday from Navy Nagar, Colaba. A 40-feet carcass of a Bryde’s whale had washed ashore in two pieces. Though the experts from state mangrove cell are yet to ascertain the cause of the mammal’s death, they suspect that the animal may have died two weeks ago. The incident first came to light on Saturday morning after local residents reported about a whale carcass in the shallow water near the shore. Read the story here.

US gives Pakistan a list of counter-terror ‘requests’

The US has given Pakistan a list of “very specific requests” for action against the Taliban and other terror groups it allegedly shelters, adding that relations with Islamabad will now be “conditions-based”. “We have made some very specific requests of Pakistan in order for them to take action to undermine the support that the Taliban receives and the other terrorist organisations receive in Pakistan,” secretary of state Rex Tillerson told reporters, after arriving unannounced in Afghanistan. “And we’ve said in this whole strategy this is a conditions-based approach, and so our relationship with Pakistan will also be conditions-based,” he said. Read the story here.

India to host Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, US secy of state Rex Tillerson

India will host Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday, the same day US secretary of state Rex Tillerson arrives in New Delhi for talks on a range of regional issues. The visits come after the US announced a new policy for Afghanistan in August, envisaging a greater role for India and blaming Pakistan for providing sanctuaries for terrorist outfits destabilising the region. During his visit, President Ghani will hold discussions with Modi, who will also host a lunch in his honour, the external affairs ministry said in a statement. Read the story here.

Canadian PM Trudeau tasks special envoy to press Myanmar on refugees

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed a special envoy to Myanmar on Monday tasked with pressing its leadership to resolve the Rohingya refugee crisis. Trudeau also announced in a statement that Canada would be doubling its contribution this year for humanitarian aid for the refugees to Can $12 million (US$9.5 million). Former senior MP Bob Rae will “reinforce the urgent need to resolve the humanitarian and security crisis in Myanmar and to address the situation affecting vulnerable populations, including the Rohingya Muslim community,” read the statement, released as an international donor conference opened in Geneva. Read the story here.

First Published: Oct 24, 2017 07:48 IST