Daily Briefing: Poonch encounter enters Day 7; attacks on migrant workers, locals continue in Kashmir

Read the latest on the ongoing encounter in Poonch, the continued string of attacks against migrant workers and local residents in the Kashmir Valley, the Aryan Khan case, our Idea Exchange with AICC general secretary in-charge of Punjab Harish Rawat and more here.

The Big Story

Suspected militants gunned down two migrant labourers in South Kashmir, the latest in the string of attacks that have claimed the lives of nine civilians in two weeks. According to estimates, 3-4 lakh labourers from outside J&K travel to the Valley every year for work. While most of them leave before the onset of winter, some stay in Kashmir through the year.

Meanwhile, the operation to flush out militants hiding in forests in the border district of Poonch in J&K has entered its seventh day. So far nine Army personnel were killed in the encounter.  

Only in the Express 

In this edition of the Idea Exchange, AICC general secretary in-charge of Punjab Harish Rawat says Congress had no choice but to replace Amarinder, explains how Sidhu’s public statements “indirectly” helped the party, refuses to commit on who will lead the Congress in Punjab polls, and says Mamata Banerjee’s taking away of Cong leaders is “weakening democratic forces”.

From the Front Page

Debt-laden Vi (Vodafone Idea) may get a fund infusion of up to Rs 20,000 crore over the next fortnight, of which Rs 7,000-Rs 8,000 crore is likely to come from promoters and the rest in part from bank guarantees returned to the telco as part of the recent Government package, The Indian Express has learnt.

In the first of a series of ‘Samajik Pratinidhi Sammelan’, or meetings for representatives of society, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath addressed a gathering of the “Prajapati samaj”, an OBC segment associated with the state’s community of potters. With an eye on UP’s caste equations ahead of the assembly elections, the BJP plans to hold 27 such conventions across the state till October 31. 

There are clear similarities in the two alleged drug busts by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in Mumbai over the past year, involving actor Rhea Chakraborty and Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan. In both cases, the NCB  relied on WhatsApp chats to arrest them and in neither case was the central agency able to show any drug seizures on Aryan or Rhea. 

Must read

With two Samajwadi Party (SP) MLAs, one supported by the ruling BJP, in the fray for the UP Assembly Deputy Speaker’s post, the SP termed the saffron party’s move “undemocratic”, arguing that usually, a legislator from the biggest Opposition party is elected unopposed to the post. Accompanied by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his ministers, SP rebel MLA from Hardoi Nitin Agrawal, who has been keeping distance with his party since 2019, has filed his nomination papers.

For the first time since March last year, Mumbai, on Sunday, reported no deaths from Covid-19. While daily Covid cases have seen a slight increase in the last two months after relaxation in lockdown guidelines and festivals like Ganeshotsav and Navratri, the city has been reporting single digit deaths since August 2. According to officials, the decline in numbers of Covid-19 deaths is mainly due to vaccination.

In a couple of days or so from now, the number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in India will have crossed 100 crore, or 1 billion. Already, India has administered more vaccine doses than any other country in the world apart from China. With no other country having a population of anything close to 500 million, the billion-doses club would consist of only these two countries. Still, for a country that faced huge supply bottlenecks, and a fair amount of vaccine hesitancy, at least in the initial period, reaching the 100-crore milestone is no small achievement.

Cows continued to die by the thousands on India’s railway tracks even during the peak of the pandemic last year when the country ran trains sparingly. The Railways recorded more than 27,000 cases of cattle being run over between April 2020 and March 2021. The numbers climbed up month after month as more trains started returning to service. A little over 38,000 cows were run over in the “normal” year before the pandemic, April 2019 to March 2020.

And finally..

The tilted head and lopsided eyebrow is straight from the Rajni stylesheet. And through this second leg of the IPL, Venkatesh Iyer has traversed an equally incredulous arc nothing short of a movie blockbuster — from a handy state team all-rounder, right upto the IPL final. However, his inability to finish the KKR chase leaves a lasting regret, or the Rajni standards of achieving only the impossible, might’ve even played out in real.

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