The Hindu Morning Digest: December 27, 2023

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We were beaten throughout the day, says J&K civilian

There is growing evidence indicating torture by sprinkling salt and chilli on the wounds of rounded-up civilians, in the wake of the militants’ ambush that left four soldiers dead in Dera Ki Gali in the Poonch-Rajouri sector on December 21. Local people claim two civilians could be seen in the 29-second viral video of “torture” allegedly committed by the security forces. Farooq Din, son of Gulab Din, a resident of Upper Bangai, Thanamandi, was among five “severely injured” admitted at the Rajouri hospital. They were all rounded up from Upper and Lower Bangai and Haspalote areas in Rajouri’s Thanamandi on Friday morning around 9 a.m., a day after the attack.

‘Blast-like’ sound heard near Israel Embassy in Delhi; no explosive found

An explosion-like sound was heard behind the Israeli Embassy on Thursday evening; however, no explosive was recovered from the spot, the police said on Tuesday. A PCR call was received at 5.53 p.m. regarding a loud noise behind the Embassy of Israel, and Jindal House, the police said. “Considering the sensitivity of the location, and mention of explosion-type sound, senior officers rushed to the location,” DCP (PRO) Kumar Gyanesh said.

Despite gazette notification, confusion over implementation of three criminal laws

A day after the three criminal laws received President’s assent and were notified in the official gazette, confusion prevailed in police stations and courts regarding its implementation, according to several police officials .three legislation replace the British-era laws but in the absence of the required paraphernalia on the ground and adequate training of police officials, it will be several months for the Acts to be effective. Union Home Minister Amit Shah said in Chandigarh on December 22 that the framework to implement the laws in all the union territories would be ready by December 2024.

Railways spending big on PM’s selfie booths: RTI reply; brazen waste of money, says Opposition

The Centre is spending up to ₹6.25 lakh on every permanent 3D selfie booth with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image in railway stations, according to a reply obtained from Central Railway on a Right to Information (RTI) application. The cost incurred on each temporary selfie booth is ₹1.25 lakh. In reply to a query filed under the RTI by a retired railway official, Ajay Bose, Central Railway deputy general manager Abhay Mishra has said that it had installed or erected Mr. Modi’s 3D selfie booths across 50 railway stations in five divisions – Mumbai, Bhusaval, Nagpur, Pune and Solapur. 

Tale of Ajay Reddy | How the Indian blind cricket team captain found a way to serve the nation

Growing up, Ajay Kumar Reddy only wanted to become a soldier and serve the country. He was heartbroken when he got to know that the visually impaired cannot enter the army .But Ajay, who became partially sighted at an early age, soon found another way to serve India: by playing cricket and winning the World Cups. For his contributions, he will receive the Arjuna Award next month, becoming the first to win the honour from blind cricket. Born in Gurazala, Andhra Pradesh, the Indian blind cricket team skipper lost his left eye in a freak accident when he was just four.

Vinesh Phogat to return Khel Ratna, Arjuna Award; writes to PM Modi

World Championship medallist Vinesh Phogat on December 26 said she is returning her Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award to the government protesting against the election of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh-loyalist Sanjay Singh as the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) president, the wrestler wrote in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Vinesh’s decision comes days after Olympic medallist Bajrang Punia and Deafylmpics champion Virender Singh Yadav returned their Padma Shri awards.

Anti-militancy operations in Poonch enter sixth day

Security forces continued with the anti-militancy operation in the Poonch-Rajouri sector in the Pir Panjal Valley for the sixth day on Tuesday, to trace those behind the December 21 attack that left four soldiers dead. Officials said security forces, aided by helicopters and drones, continue to comb the dense forests and high peaks around Dera Ki Gali, the spot where two Army vehicles were ambushed by militants last week.

Trinamool takes out protests against Bengal BJP chief for ‘insulting’ Vivekananda

The Trinamool Congress leadership staged protests in Kolkata on Tuesday demanding an apology from BJP State president Sukanta Majumdar. The Trinamool has accused Mr. Majumdar of insulting Swami Vivekananda, an allegation denied by the BJP leader. On December 22, during the Gita chanting event at Kolkata’s Brigade Parade Grounds, the State BJP president had said, “Little knowledge is dangerous. Those who said ‘playing football is better than reading Gita’ are byproducts of a Leftist ideology”.

Philippines is not provoking conflict in South China Sea, its military says

The Philippines is not provoking conflict in the South China Sea, its military spokesperson said on December 26, responding to China’s accusation that Manila was encroaching on Beijing’s territory. It was the latest salvo amid rising tension as the two have traded accusations in recent months over a series of maritime run-ins, including China allegedly ramming a ship this month carrying the Philippines’ military chief.

PM Modi discusses maritime security with Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohammed bin Salman

In the backdrop of an increased security threat to shipping vessels in the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday held a telephone conversation with the Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia, Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The discussion is part of the Indian leadership’s engagement with regional stakeholders in the backdrop of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. “The two leaders emphasised the need for maintaining the maritime security and the freedom of navigation,” a press release by the government said. 

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to visit Rajouri on December 27

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has said he will visit Jammu and Rajouri on Wednesday. “Tomorrow, 27th December, I shall be in Jammu and Rajouri,” Mr. Singh said in a post on X on Tuesday. The Minister’s visit comes following the death of four army personnel, two of them captain, during an encounter between security forces and terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district last week. Three more soldiers were injured in the same encounter.

Israel Army arrests senior Palestinian lawmaker Jarrar

The Israeli Army on December 26 said it arrested senior Palestinian politician Khalida Jarrar in the occupied West Bank, along with other activists of her leftist party. Jarrar, 60, is a prominent figure in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a faction in the Palestine Liberation Organisation considered a “terrorist” group by Israel, the United States and the European Union.

Kashmir will become Gaza without India-Pakistan dialogue, says Farooq Abdullah

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and senior National Conference (NC) leader and MP Farooq Abdullah on December 26 warned of a situation akin to Gaza in Palestine if India did not have a dialogue with Pakistan over Kashmir. “Dialogue is the only way forward to resolve lingering issues. If a conducive atmosphere for a dialogue is not worked out between India and Pakistan, the day is not far when J&K will become like Gaza, and people will suffer like in Palestine,” Dr. Abdullah said in Srinagar.

India’s fiscal deficit may breach 5.9% of GDP target: India Ratings and Research

India’s fiscal deficit may breach the 5.9% of GDP target for this year and could hit 6%, even though tax collections have been buoyant and may offset a wide shortfall in disinvestment outcomes, due to the likelihood of revenue spending exceeding the Budget Estimate by about ₹2 lakh crore, India Ratings and Research said on December 26. The Centre has recently secured Parliamentary approval for the first supplementary demand for grants this year, involving an additional cash outgo of ₹53,378 crore, lifting its total spending commitment for 2023-24 to ₹45.6 lakh crore, including about ₹35.6 lakh crore of revenue expenditure and ₹10.1 lakh crore of capital expenditure.

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