QBullet: Cong’s Shift on Article 370; Mexico Deports 311 Indians

1. Manmohan Singh Signals a Congress Shift on Article 370 and Veer Savarkar

With Maharashtra and Haryana voting for new assemblies in four days, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday nuanced the Congress position on the removal of J&K’s special status, saying the party believes that Article 370 was a “temporary measure” under the Constitution. This is the first time a Congress leader of Singh’s stature has articulated such a view.

Underlining that the “party had voted in favour of the dilution of Article 370 in Parliament”, Singh told reporters in Mumbai that the Congress was “opposed to the high-handed manner” in which it was done.

He also balanced the aggressive Congress view on Vinayak Damodar Savarkar — days after his party had slammed the Maharashtra BJP for pledging in its manifesto a Bharat Ratna for Savarkar — saying it was not against him.

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read: Go Back to Time-Tested Measures to Fix Economy: Manmohan Singh

2. 311 Indians Deported by Mexico to Arrive in Delhi Today

File image of migrants riding outside a freight train in Mexico. 

Mexico has deported a group of 311 illegal migrants from India, the first such action taken by the country since it enhanced efforts to crack down on people using its territory to sneak into the US.

The Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM) or National Institute of Migration of Mexico said in a statement the Indians – 310 men and one woman of different ages – left for New Delhi on a chartered flight from Toluca international airport on Wednesday night.

The flight is expected to arrive in New Delhi on Friday morning, Indian and Mexican officials said. “We are aware that a chartered flight with 311 Indian deportees has taken off from Mexico. The external affairs ministry is coordinating closely with other agencies and the Mexican embassy in New Delhi for their safe return,” said an official who declined to be identified.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: In a First, Mexico Deports Over 300 ‘Illegal’ Indians to New Delhi

3. BSF Soldier Shot Dead by Bangladesh Border Guards After Flag Meeting

BSF Head Constable Vijay Bhan Singh.

A Border Security Force (BSF) trooper was shot dead and another injured by Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB), in what is perhaps the first skirmish between the two border forces in over 15 years. BSF claimed the BGB men opened fire without provocation; the latter initially claimed that BSF troopers had opened fire.

BSF chief Vivek Johri spoke to Major General Shafeenul Islam, director general of BGB, on the phone after the incident, two home ministry officials with knowledge of the matter said on condition of anonymity.

They added that Islam had promised a thorough probe. India too will conduct an inquiry into the exact sequence of events, the two officials said.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

4. Who Is Stopping Us From Amending History, Asks Amit Shah

Had it not been for Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, the 1857 uprising would have been viewed through the lens of the British, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Thursday.

It was Savarkar who coined the term ‘First War of Independence’ for the revolt, he said.

Stressing the need to “rewrite history” from an “Indian point of view”, Mr. Shah said, “If there was no Veer Savarkar, the 1857 kranti [revolution] would not have become history. We would view even that from the point of view of the British.”

(Source: The Hindu)

Also Read: ‘Need to Rewrite History From India’s Point of View’: Amit Shah

5 . ISRO Releases First Illuminated Image of Lunar Surface Captured by Chandrayaan-2

“The image covers part of the lunar far-side in northern hemisphere. Few prominent craters are seen in the image.”

Chandrayaan-2 on Thursday beamed back the first illuminated image of the lunar surface acquired by Imaging Infrared Spectrometer (IIRS) payload. The image was shared by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on its Twitter account.

The image shows part of the lunar farside in the northern hemisphere. The image covers Sommmerfield crater floor, the sunlit inner rim of crater Kirkwood, Stebbins crater floor, fresh crater Ejecta within Sommerfield crater floor, and Stebbins crater central peak.

“See the first illuminated image of the lunar surface acquired by #Chandrayaan2’s IIRS payload. IIRS is designed to measure reflected sunlight from the lunar surface in narrow and contiguous spectral channels,” ISRO tweeted.

(Source: The Indian Express)

6. Pakistan May Avoid Being Blacklisted by Terror Financing Watchdog

Pakistan could escape being blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Friday, but even if it does, the international watchdog on terror finance is likely to issue strong warnings to the South Asian nation’s government, in addition to keeping the country on the grey list, sources said.

On Tuesday, the FATF’s International Co-operation Review Group (ICRG) discussed Pakistan’s actions for countering terror financing and anti- money laundering (CFT/AML), and the final discussion is scheduled to be held on Friday.

Diplomatic sources stressed that no decision on the Pakistan listing had been taken as yet by the task force, and that the 39-member body would only decide whether to continue keeping Pakistan on the grey list or downgrade it to the blacklist, at its final plenary meeting on Friday.

(Source: The Hindu)

Also Read: Pakistan Arrests Top Four JuD/LeT Leaders Ahead of FATF Meeting

7. Legislative Council Abolished in J&K

Once dominating the news for setting debates and settling sticky discourses for 70 years, the Jammu & Kashmir Legislative Council, the upper house of the Assembly, was abolished on Thursday as per Section 57 of the J&K Reorganisation Bill, 2019, which reduced the State to the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh.

A spokesman of the General Administration Department (GAD) said all the staff members of the Council shall report to the GAD by 22 October. There are 116 employees working with the Council since the first Constituent Assembly came into being in 1957.

(Source: The Hindu)

8. Kartarpur Corridor: India Asks Pak Not to Levy USD 20 Fee on Pilgrims

India on Thursday, 17 October, asked Pakistan not to insist on levying a fee of USD 20 per Indian pilgrim and hoped that an agreement to operationalise the Kartarpur corridor will be inked soon between the two countries.

Ministry of External Affairs official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said both India and Pakistan reached an agreement on the corridor except on the matter of the service fee.

“After several rounds of discussion with Pakistan, we have reached an agreement on all other issues, except the matter of service fee. Pakistan insists on levying a fee of USD 20 (approx. Rs 1,420) on all pilgrims,” he said.

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read: Agree With Pak on All Issues, Except Service Fee: MEA on Kartarpur

9. Niti Aayog’s Inaugural Ranking of Indian States for Innovation Finds a South, West Skew

Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra were ranked the top three major states in Niti Aayog’s first ever innovation index released on Thursday while Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Jharkhand occupied the bottom three positions. Simply put the index measures the overall innovation environment for four groups—major states, north-east, hill states and union territories.

Sikkim, Himachal and Uttarakhand topped the rankings among the north east and hill states while Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya were stacked at the bottom. Among Union Territories, Delhi topped the list followed by Chandigargh and Goa.

The NITI Aayog index that has been developed in partnership with the Institute for Competitiveness to measure the innovation ecosystem has also identified areas for improvement.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

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