Latest Current Affairs 12 October 2021


Lakhimpur Kheri violence: Ashish Mishra sent to 3-day police custody

The Uttar Pradesh Police on Monday got a three-day remand of Union minister Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case. Eight people, including four farmers, were killed in the violence on October 3. Police had demanded a 14-day remand of Ashish. They have got three-day remand from October 12 to 15, senior prosecution officer SP Yadav told reporters. The remand will end on October 15 morning. The police remand was granted by Chief Judicial Magistrate Chintaram, with the condition that Ashish Mishra will not be harassed and his lawyer will remain present during interrogation, Yadav said. Earlier, a court had sent Ashish Mishra to 14-day judicial custody. Meanwhile, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha’s (SKM) deadline for its demands that Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra be sacked and arrested for his alleged involvement in the deaths of farmers at Lakhimpur Kheri ran out on Monday. As hundreds of farmers pour into the region for the last rites of the victims on Tuesday, the protesting unions plan to go ahead with an intensified agitation, including kalash yatra, rail roko and mass rally in Lucknow later this month. Minister’s son Ashish Mishra was arrested over the weekend and remanded to three days police custody on Monday, but no action has been taken against the Minister himself. The SKM accused the Minister of seeking to promote enmity, hatred and disharmony against minority Sikhs of the Terai region in a speech on September 25. His speech was of intimidation and threat, in a public meeting at that, where he was also proudly alluding to his criminal antecedents, and on the basis of this, stern action should have taken place by now, which could have prevented the entire episode of Lakhimpur Kheri massacre, said an SKM statement, adding that Mishra owned the vehicles which ran over the farmers and had attempted to protect his son from arrest. It is clear that his continuation as a Minister in the Union Council of Ministers can be construed only as Narendra Modi’s harbouring of criminals, it added. 

Five Army personnel, including JCO, killed in Poonch encounter 

Five Army personnel, including a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO), who were critically injured in an ongoing encounter in the Pir Panjal valley’s Poonch on Monday, succumbed to their injuries. The Army spokesman said all the critically injured were evacuated to a nearest medical facility but succumbed to their injuries. Based on intelligence inputs, the Indian Army on Monday launched a cordon and search operation in villages close to DKG (Dera Ki Gali) in Surankote area of Poonch. In the ensuing firefight, one JCO and four jawans suffered critical injuries, Jammu-based Army spokesman Lt. Col. Devender Anand said. The anti-militancy operation in Surankote, which falls in the frontier district with a long Line of Control with Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, is still on. Preliminary reports suggested three to four militants may be hiding in the area. Earlier in the day, security forces killed two militants, including a The Resistance Front (TRF) militant behind a civilian killing, in two separate operations. Imtiyaz Ahmad Dar, a TRF militant, was killed in Gund Jahangeer village of Hajin area of north Kashmir’s Bandipora. The slain militant was involved in the recent civilian killing at Shahgund, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Vijay Kumar said. 

Uttarakhand Minister Yashpal Arya and his son quit BJP, join Congress 

Transport Minister in the BJP-led Uttarakhand Government Yashpal Arya and his son Sanjeev Arya, who is a legislator from Nainital, joined the Congress on Monday. Uttarakhand Assembly poll is scheduled early next year. This is a ‘ghar wapasi’ (home-coming) of sorts for Yashpal Arya, who had been the Uttarakhand Pradesh Congress Committee president for seven years before joining the BJP. A prominent Dalit face in the State, he is a six-time MLA. Speaking at his induction, Congress general secretary (Communications) Randeep Surjewala, said that Yashpal Arya forwarded his resignation to the Governor on Monday morning, following which he met former Congress president Rahul Gandhi to formally join the party. Yashpal Arya said that he felt relieved to be back in his home — the Congress. Congress has a history of sacrifice, a legacy that we are proud to carry forward. Democracy in the country can be strengthened only if the Congress is strengthened, he said. Senior Congress leader K.C. Venugopal said the father-son duo’s return to the party in a way showed which way the wind was blowing in the State. Today is a home-coming for both of them. When they met Gandhi this morning, he told them that their return to the party will strengthen the party in the State, Venugopal said. Senior party leader Harish Rawat also indicated that more BJP leaders were likely to join the party. Mr. Gandhi asked Mr. Arya, what is the difference between the BJP and the Congress. Mr. Arya said that the Congress has inner party democracy, which is completely absent in the BJP, Rawat said.

National Green Tribunal needn’t wait for ‘Godot’ to save environment: Supreme Cosaid

The Supreme Court has declared that the National Green Tribunal (NGT) is a unique forum endowed with suo motu powers to take up environmental issues across the country. The court said the NGT need not wait for the metaphorical Godot to knock on its portal to flex its considerable muscles to save the environment. The exercise of power by the NGT is not circumscribed by the receipt of applications. When substantial questions relating to the environment arise and the issue is civil in nature and those relate to the Act, the NGT, in our opinion, even in the absence of an application, can self-ignite action either towards amelioration or towards prevention of harm, a three-judge Bench of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar, Hrishikesh Roy and C.T. Ravikumar held in a judgment. Justice Roy, who authored the 77-page judgment for the Bench, dismissed objections from the Centre, legal experts and even the court’s own amicus curiae who all argued against the NGT clothed with suo motu powers. The court, speaking through Justice Roy, explained that the role of the NGT was not simply adjudicatory in nature. The Tribunal has to perform equally vital roles that were preventative, ameliorative or remedial in nature. The functional capacity of the NGT was intended to leverage wide powers to do full justice in its environmental mandate, Justice Roy observed. The judgment described the NGT as a complimentary, competent, specialised forum to deal with all environmental multidisciplinary issues both as original and also as an appellate authority, which complex issues were hitherto dealt with by the High Courts and the Supreme Court. The NGT embodied the international obligation India owed to the environment. The NGT has been recognised as one of the most progressive Tribunals in the world. This jurisprudential leap has allowed our country to enter a rather exclusive group of nations which have set up such institutions with broad powers, Justice Roy pointed out. The legislative history of the NGT traced its objective to address societal concerns. Hence, the legislature had given it a wide berth to craft its own procedure to entertain oral and documentary evidence. No rules shackled the good work the Tribunal was intended to perform. Unlike the civil courts, which cannot travel beyond the relief sought by the parties, the NGT is conferred with power of moulding any relief, the court stated.



Three share Economics Nobel for research on ‘natural experiment’ to study cause and effect 

A U.S.-based economist has won the Nobel prize for economics for pioneering research that showed an increase in minimum wage does not lead to less hiring, and immigrants do not lower pay for native-born workers, challenging commonly held ideas. Two others shared the award for creating a way to study these types of societal issues. Canadian-born David Card of the University of California, Berkeley, was awarded one half of the prize for his research on how minimum wage, immigration and education affect the labour market, while the other half was shared by Joshua Angrist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Dutch-born Guido Imbens from Stanford University for their framework for studying issues that can’t rely on traditional scientific methods. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said the three have completely reshaped empirical work in the economic sciences. Card’s studies of core questions for society and Angrist and Imbens’ methodological contributions have shown that natural experiments are a rich source of knowledge, said Peter Fredriksson, chair of the Economic Sciences Committee. Their research has substantially improved our ability to answer key causal questions, which has been of great benefit for society. Card worked on research that used restaurants in New Jersey and in eastern Pennsylvania to measure the effects of increasing the minimum wage. He studied what happened when New Jersey raised its minimum wage from $4.25 to $5.05, using restaurants in bordering eastern Pennsylvania as a comparison group. Contrary to previous studies, he and his late research partner Alan Krueger found that an increase in the minimum wage had no effect on the number of employees. Card later did further work on the issue. Overall, the work concluded that the negative effects of increasing the minimum wage are small and significantly smaller than believed 30 years ago, the Nobel committee said. Card also found that incomes of those who are native-born in a country can benefit from new immigrants, while immigrants who arrived earlier are the ones at risk of being negatively affected. Angrist and Imbens won their half of the award for working out the methodological issues that allow economists to draw solid conclusions about cause and effect even where they cannot carry out studies according to strict scientific methods. Speaking by phone from his home in Massachusetts, Imbens told reporters that he had been asleep when the call came. I was just absolutely stunned then to get a telephone call, he said. And then I was just absolutely thrilled to hear the news, a particular kind of hearing that I got to share this with Josh Angrist and and David Card were both very good friends of mine. The award comes with a gold medal and 10 million Swedish kronor (over $1.14 million). Unlike the other Nobel prizes, the economics award wasn’t established in the will of Alfred Nobel but by the Swedish central bank in his memory in 1968, with the first winner selected a year later. It is the last prize announced each year.


LAC talks stalemate: Made ‘constructive suggestions’ says India, ‘unreasonable demands’ says China 

The 13th round of senior military commander talks between India and China ended in a stalemate with both sides holding the other responsible for it. The Army, in a statement, said the Indian side made constructive suggestions for resolving the remaining areas while the Chinese military in a statement said India had made unreasonable and unrealistic demands. During the meeting, the Indian side therefore made constructive suggestions for resolving the remaining areas but the Chinese side was not agreeable and also could not provide any forward-looking proposals. The meeting thus did not result in resolution of the remaining areas, the Army said in a statement issued on Monday morning. India and China held the 13th round of Corps Commander talks on Sunday at Moldo on the Chinese side with a focus on working out the third phase of disengagement from Patrolling Point 15 in Hot Springs as part of overall disengagement and de-escalation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The talks began around 10.30 a.m. at Moldo and concluded at about 7 p.m., a defence official said. The Army further said on the meeting, The Indian side pointed out that the situation along the LAC had been caused by unilateral attempts of Chinese side to alter the status quo and in violation of the bilateral agreements. It was therefore necessary that the Chinese side take appropriate steps in the remaining areas so as to restore peace and tranquility along the LAC in the Western Sector. The Chinese military’s statement on Sunday night came not from China’s Defence Ministry in Beijing, as was the case in some of the earlier rounds, but from the PLA Western Theatre Command in Chengdu, which has in recent rounds appeared to have taken over the responsibility for putting out statements on the LAC situation, seen by some observers as Beijing placing less importance on the slow-moving negotiations. The PLA statement did not suggest any agreement reached on either disengaging or on new protocols. PLA Senior Colonel Long Shaohua, spokesperson for the Western Theatre Command, said China had made great efforts to promote the easing and cooling of the border situation and fully demonstrated its sincerity in order to maintain the overall situation of the relations between the two militaries. However, India still insisted on the unreasonable and unrealistic demands, which made the negotiations more difficult, he said, adding that China’s resolve to safeguard national sovereignty is firm. He called on India to not misjudge the situation and to cherish the hard-won situation in the China-India border areas and abide by relevant agreements and consensus between the two countries and the two militaries. The PLA’s comment on India making unrealistic demands stands in stark contrast to India’s view on the LAC crisis, which began in April 2020 when the PLA massed thousands of troops along the LAC, carried out multiple transgressions in eastern Ladakh, and disregarded the many previously agreed upon border agreements aimed at keeping the peace. While negotiations have led to disengagement in some of the areas, thousands of PLA troops remain in forward areas.

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