Advisory committee bats for phased unlock in Karnataka after June 14

News Network
June 9, 2021

Bengaluru, June 9: The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) formed by the State government has recommended a gradual unlocking of activities across Karnataka, as the Covid-battered state gets ready to take small steps towards normalcy after June 14, when the lockdown is scheduled to end.

The committee — which submitted its recommendations to the government on the unlock process on Monday — suggested the chief minister allow shops, malls, hotels to open for four hours initially. But it recommended against opening up places of worship, swimming pools and others till the end of June.

Members also suggested restricting movement of people from high-risk districts to low-risk ones and a ban on elections that involve organising rallies for the entire year. Cautioning against allowing all activities at once, the committee recommended opening up activities on a weekly or fortnightly basis.

The chief minister is expected to discuss these recommendations with his Cabinet colleagues in a day or two.

According to the committee’s report, “Markets shall initially be open for four hours and gradually increased to 10 hours per day.”

The same recommendation has been made for neighbourhood shops, malls and shopping streets. The committee listed activities within a closed environment as a high-risk category and recommended only 50 per cent occupancy in places like pubs, bars and restaurants and closed market areas.

Referring to public gatherings like marriage and functions, the TAC said, “The ceremonies will have only 100 to 200 people maximum with passes till December 2021. A distance of 3.25 sq mtrs has to be maintained between two persons.”

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News Network
August 10,2022

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Patna, Aug 10: After taking oath as Bihar Chief Minister an eighth time, thus continuing in the chair with a change of partners, Nitish Kumar took a shot at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the next Lok Sabha elections: "He won in 2014, but will he in 2024?"

Though Nitish Kumar repeatedly spoke of "working towards Opposition unity" to unseat the BJP at the Centre, he told reporters that he is "not a contender for anything", when asked if he wants to be PM candidate. "The question to ask is, if the person who came in 2014 will win in 2024,” he said.

Elections in Bihar are due in 2025, a year after the Lok Sabha contest. Nitish is likely to still be in the chair in 2024, which means the who'll-be-the-challenger speculation isn't likely to die down soon, especially with the Congress weakened and the Opposition still far from united. His deputy once again, RJD's Tejashwi Yadav has said Nitish Kumar is the "most experienced chief minister in India right now".

It helps Nitish Kumar's case that another regional leader with national ambitions -- Bengal's Mamata Banerjee — has had to halt her march after corruption charges against her party colleagues. 

Analysts have for years floated the theory that Nitish Kumar could be the Opposition candidate against PM Modi, if the Congress plays a non-leading role. But that's drowned out as he floats in and out of alliances — with and against the BJP. Till yesterday, he was chief minister with BJP support. And now he is back with the RJD of old pal Lalu Yadav, whose son is his deputy in the new government — a new version of their 2015 alliance. The Congress is among the partners.

The first version of the JDU-RJD-Congress tie-up — called the 'Mahagathbandhan' or Grand Alliance — won power in 2015. Nitish Kumar had broken up with the BJP two years before that, ending a two-decade relationship. He had problems with Narendra Modi's past, particularly the 2002 Gujarat riots, and left the NDA after he became the PM face. 

But he made up with PM Modi's party in 2017, walked out the Mahagathbandhan and took a fresh oath. The JDU and BJP remained together for the 2019 Lok Sabha contest, and then won the 2020 assembly polls. Nitish Kumar remained in the chair. Two years on, he has switched again. 

Today he said he did not want to be Chief Minister after the 2020 win with the BJP. "Ask people in the party (JDU), what they have been reduced too. I did not want to become CM... but I was put under pressure. Then you see what happened. I have not even spoken to you (journalists) in two months." 

He pointed towards the drop in JDU's numbers. "How many seats did we win in 2015? And then we went with the same people (BJP) and look at what we have been reduced to." Besides those in the JDU, Tejashwi Yadav too has said the BJP "wants to finish off regional parties" and "usurps its partners".

In 2015, Nitish Kumar's JDU had won 71 seats as part of the Grand Alliance's 170, in a House of 243. The RJD was the single largest party with 80 seats, but he became chief minister as leader of the pact.

At present, the JDU has 45 seats. The BJP, which has 77, made him chief minister in 2020 despite these numbers — but with two deputies from its stable. Why the switch now? Nitish Kumar and his party, it is learnt, were spooked in the latest by the Maharashtra coup in which the BJP backed a split in the Shiv Sena to return to power.  

On his fate after yet another flip, Nitish Kumar today said, "Whether I will stay or not... let people say what they have to say." After staking claim yesterday, he said he "never allowed corruption", and "we want brotherhood in society". Standing next to him, Tejashwi Yadav accused the BJP of dividing people along communal lines: "We are socialists. All of us want that the BJP's agenda shouldn't be implemented in Bihar."

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News Network
August 5,2022

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Lucknow, Aug 5: A BJP leader allegedly beheaded his friend, a bullion trader and also a worker of the saffron party, in Uttar Pradesh's Agra town, about 350 kilometres from here.

According to the police sources here, Tinku Bhargava, who was an office bearer of the district unit of the BJP, allegedly beheaded the victim, identified as Naveen Verma, before shooting him dead on Thursday night.

Bhargava was caught by the cops in the wee hours of Friday while he, with the help of a friend of his, was looking for a place to dump the severed head and the body near the forested Sikandra Arsena area on the outskirts of the town, sources said.

Police officials in Agra said that the severed head and the body were recovered from the car of Bhargava, who, during questioning, confessed to perpetrating the crime.

Police said that Bhargava, who knew Verma well, called the latter on Thursday evening to join a liquor party. He later shot him dead and then allegedly severed his head. ''The assailants severed the victim's head and also stripped him to prevent his identification,'' said a senior police official in Agra on Friday.

The motive behind the gruesome killing was yet to be ascertained though sources said that the assailant had been having an affair with the victim's wife and wanted to eliminate him.

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News Network
August 11,2022

Mangaluru, Aug 11: Three key accused in the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha leader Praveen Nettaru murder case have been arrested, a senior police officer said.

With this, the number of arrested has gone up to 10.

"Yes they have been arrested. We will share details later...," Rishikesh Bhagwan Sonwane, the superintendent of police of Dakshina Kannada rural district said.

Police sources said the trio, who had allegedly hacked Nettaru to death three weeks ago in Nettaru village near Bellare in Dakshina Kannada district, were arrested from neighbouring Kerala.

Those arrested persons hail from Sullya and Puttur in Dakshina Kannada district, they added.

The assailants had allegedly used a motorbike which had a Kerala registration.

The murder three weeks ago had led to communal tension in this communally-sensitive district. The hardline Hindutva activists had alleged that Muslim fundamentalists were behind the murder. 

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