1. What’s the story?
Kashmir is on the boil again. Last week, the Government abruptly announced that every Amarnath Yatra pilgrim had to leave the state with immediate effect, citing security concerns. This unprecedented order, quite naturally, led to widespread panic in the valley. As of early morning on Monday, Section 144 has been imposed in the state. (Quick recap: CRPC’s Section 144 gives an executive magistrate the right to forbid more than four people from gathering in an area.)
2. Where else should I be looking at?
The Rajya Sabha, that’s where. On Friday, the Parliament passed a crucial amendment to our current anti-terror law (the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act) that is expected to give the central Government power to pronounce any suspect a “terrorist” and seize their properties even before trial commences. It was first introduced in the Lok Sabha about a week ago by Home Minister, Amit Shah, who managed to fast track it to the Upper House (Rajya Sabha) with great haste. Even though the Opposition put up a valiant fight (MPs Asaduddin Owaisi and Mohua Maitra being notable among them), the ruling NDA coalition managed to pass the legislature in the Rajya Sabha with 147 votes in its favour and only 42 votes against it. According to critics, this amendment may be used to silence dissent in democracy.
3. What more?
Mumbai and Pune regions of Maharashtra have continued to battle flood-like situations with non-stop rain for 48 straight hours over this weekend. At least four people have been killed in this latest spate of heavy rains. Almost 500 people have been evacuated to higher grounds as the Mithi river swelled to reach danger level. More than 2000 passengers were stranded on the Lokmanya Tilak Terminus railway station due to inclement weather, and authorities have asked offices, schools, and colleges to be closed tomorrow.
4. Anything else?
India and Israel’s friendship seems to be going strong. Sunday was World Friendship Day, and India awoke to a Bollywood greeting from its close ally.
5. Is that all?
USA was rocked by two major mass shootings over this weekend, leaving at least 29 dead and many more injured. 20 people were killed in the majority-Latino city of El Paso, Texas, in what the federal authorities have labelled a potential hate crime. Less than 24 hours after that, another shooting took place in Dayton, Ohio, leading to the loss of nine lives.
6. Before you leave …
Take a look at how Russia is all set to inaugurate floating nuclear plants, amidst fears of a situation that some call “Chernobyl on ice”.