QBullet: PM Modi on 2019 Elections; Actor Kader Khan Dies at 81

1. PM Narendra Modi: 2019 Elections Will Be Janata Versus Gathbandhan

Stating that the decision to demonetise high-value currency in November 2016 brought currencies that earlier came from “different places” to the banking system and brought in “an atmosphere of honesty”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, 1 January, said that the step was “necessary for the country’s economy”. Excerpts from an interview to ANI:

BJP’s stand on Sabarimala and triple talaq
These are two separate things. Most Islamic countries, including Pakistan, have banned triple talaq. So it is not a matter of religion or faith. It is an issue of gender equality (and) social justice. It is not an issue of faith. In India, we respect all religions. Every temple has its own customs and traditions, there are some temples in India where men cannot enter. The judgment by the woman judge (in SC) should be read carefully. No need to attribute this to any political party, she has given that order looking at the issue as a woman. There has to be a debate on that also.

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read: ‘Will Go Ahead With Rafale Deal Despite Allegations’: PM Modi

2. Kader Khan Dies at 81, Son Says Funeral in Canada on Tuesday

Veteran actor-writer Kader Khan has died in Canada due to a prolonged illness, his son Sarfaraz confirmed Tuesday, 1 January. He was 81. Kader Khan’s health deteriorated on Friday and he was admitted to a hospital in Canada. The actor’s funeral will take place on Tuesday in Canada where his family is living at present.

“My dad has left us. He passed away on 31 December at 6 pm as per Canadian time due to prolonged illness. He slipped into coma in the afternoon. He was in the hospital for 16-17 weeks. The last rites will be performed here in Canada only. We have our entire family here and we live here so we are doing it,” Khan’s son Sarfaraz told PTI.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: Kader Khan: Bollywood’s Most Underrated Villain

3. At Bhima Koregaon, a Search for Answers Without the Anger

They came from across the country, boys from a hip-hop crew wearing low-slung jeans and their hair in dramatic cuts, colours and braids; first-timer senior citizens camping around a bonfire; a barefoot Bhante, or Buddhist monk, who walked 48 days to get here; flag-waving activists.

In the minutes leading up to midnight at the Jaystambh memorialising the battle of Bhima Koregaon, it was a sombre Dalit chant, not sloganeering, that stirred the gathering. On the 201st anniversary to mark the victory of a British regiment including Mahar soldiers over a Peshwa army, the nearly 5,000 people who spent the night of 31 December around the memorial spoke of their search for solutions to caste stigma that see beyond aggression.

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read: Bhima Koregaon: Year After Clashes, Lakhs of People Pay Tribute

4. Amid Sabari Row, 35 Lakh Women Rally for Gender Equality in Kerala

In a first, over 35 lakh women stood shoulder-to-shoulder across the national highways in Kerala, creating a 620-km long human wall from the northern end of Kasargod to the southern tip here on Tuesday as part of a state-sponsored initiative to uphold gender equality. However, CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan claimed 55 lakh women lined up for the ‘wall’.

The event comes days after thousands of devotees lit Ayyappa Jyothis and lined up from Hosangadi in Kasargod to Kanyakumari, vowing to protect the age-old customs and traditions of Sabarimala.

(Source: The Times of India)

Also Read: Sabarimala Row: Kerala Women Form Human Wall for Gender Equality 

5. Donald Trump Signs Law to Step up India Defence Ties, Call out China

US President Donald Trump.

Just before ushering in the New Year on 31 December, US President Donald Trump signed an Act designed to counter the encroaching influence and growing threat from China and to reinvigorate US leadership in the Indo-Pacific region.

Calling for strengthening of diplomatic, economic, and security ties with India, the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act (ARIA) allocates a budget of $1.5 billion over a five-year period to enhance cooperation with America’s strategic regional allies in the region. The new law cites “China’s illegal construction and militarisation of artificial features in the South China Sea and coercive economic practices”, and mandates actions for “countering China’s influence to undermine the international system”.

(Source: The Indian Express)

6. Ravi Shankar Prasad to Introduce Bill to Amend Aadhaar Act

Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad will introduce a bill in Lok Sabha tomorrow to amend the Aadhaar Act, the Indian Telegraph Act, and the Prevention of Money-laundering Act (PMLA).

The Cabinet approved amendments in mid-December that would permit the voluntary use of Aadhaar for mobile SIM card and bank account authentications, as well as allow children who turn 18 to opt-out of the system.

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read: Govt Proposes Aadhaar Act Amendments to Allow Use for Pvt Services

7. MP, Rajasthan to Revoke ‘Political Cases’ After Mayawati Warning

File image of BSP president Mayawati.

The Congress governments in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan on Tuesday decided to withdraw all “politically motivated cases” filed by the previous BJP government in the states against workers of political parties and Dalit activists.

The announcement came a day after BSP chief Mayawati warned the Congress in both the states that her party will reconsider support to them if they do not revoke cases filed against “innocent people” during last year’s 2 April Bharat Bandh called by Dalit groups.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: MP to withdraw 'political cases' after Mayawati's threat

8. Delhi Govt Notifies Disability Rules

Disabled-friendly buildings and offices may soon become a reality in the capital, with the Delhi government notifying the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Rules 2018 in their official gazettes.

The Delhi government’s Social Welfare Department termed the notification, which came into force on 27 December 2018, a “New Year gift” and attributed the delay in implementation to Delhi not being a full state. Two years ago, the Centre had passed the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, which mandates disabled-friendly infrastructure and facilities at all public buildings and offices.

(Source: The Indian Express)

9. Lakhs Celebrate on Road, Rest Can Wait...

New Year revelry brought the capital to a halt on Tuesday evening as more than 2.5 lakh people gathered around India Gate, Delhi zoo on Mathura Road and Hanuman Temple near Kashmere Gate. The footfall was several times more than what the police had expected. The situation required police to shut down four metro stations to stop more people from coming to these areas.

The crowd had started swelling by 2 pm around India Gate and 3 pm at Kashmere Gate. People heading to the zoo or India Gate caused choke points on Mathura Road as police had to intermittently stop vehicle flow to allow pedestrians to cross the road. Apart from this, huge crowds also gathered at the Hanuman Temple at Connaught Place and Akshardham Temple, leading to major disruptions.

(Source: The Times of India)

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