Your Daily Wrap: PM Modi in Japan for Quad meet; Varanasi court to decide on Gyanvapi hearings tomorrow; and more

In a big story of the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in Tokyo to attend a summit of the Quad leaders, has said India and Japan are “natural partners” and Japanese investments have played an important role in India’s development journey. Addressing the Indian community there on the first day of his two-day visit, Modi also said that India’s relationship with Japan is of spirituality, of cooperation and of belonging. India and Japan are natural partners. Japan has played an important role in India’s development journey,” said Modi, who is visiting Tokyo at the invitation of his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida. “Today’s world needs to follow the path shown by Lord Buddha. This is the way to save humanity from the challenges facing the world today, be it violence, anarchy, terrorism and climate change,” Modi said.

Meanwhile, the court of the Varanasi District Judge, which on Monday took up the case of the Gyanvapi mosque-Kashi Viswanath temple complex dispute, will decide on its course of action tomorrow, the government counsel said. An application had been moved by the Anjuman Entezamia Masjid through its lawyer seeking to first decide on the maintainability of the suit pending in court before moving further. The Varanasi court took up the case following a Supreme Court directive to transfer the proceedings to the district judge. “Opposite parties raised objection on the application filed by Anjuman Intezamia Masjid. After hearing both sides, district judge Ajaya Krishna Vishvesha reserved its order. Tomorrow the court will decide its course of action,” said district government counsel (civil) Mahendra Prasad Pandey. On Monday, applicants and their lawyers were only allowed to enter the courtroom during the hearing which began at around 2.15 pm.

BJP leader Kirit Somaiya’s wife, Medha, has filed a defamation suit against Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut in the Bombay High Court, seeking damages of Rs 100 crore. Medha, who is a professor of organic chemistry, has sought an unconditional apology and a permanent injunction against Raut, restraining him from publishing, circulating or printing material defamatory to her, in the future. Her plea before the court states on April 12, she came across an article in Sena’s mouthpiece, newspaper ‘Saamna’ accusing the Somaiyas of a “toilet scam” in the Mira-Bhayander Municipal Corporation. She said that the claims in the article and other media after the publishing of the story in ‘Saamna’ are without proof and with an intention to malign her reputation.

Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan has claimed that an inspector had warned him in jail that he could get encountered after his release. The Supreme Court has recently granted him bail in a land-grabbing case. Speaking to reporters in Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur on Sunday, Khan said, “When an inspector can threaten in the jail, ‘go underground, you have several cases against you, you can get encountered,’ then in the face of such dangers, it is difficult to say where I am headed.”

As protests over the killing of government employee Rahul Bhat by militants continue in the Valley, the Jammu-Kashmir government has started shifting Kashmiri Pandit employees to relatively safer postings or to places closer to their residences. Officials in the JK Education Department said that the process to transfer its employees, appointed under the Prime Minister’s Package for Rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits, started immediately after Kashmir Divisional Commissioner Pandurag K Pole held a second meeting with heads of various departments and directed them to immediately comply with the government directive to shift the employees to safer places.

In business news, concerned over the recent case of front-running in the mutual fund industry and possibility of similar practices happening, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) is likely to take stringent action, which may include action against top officials of the fund house. A source close to the development said Sebi is closely monitoring the situation and its actions may follow soon. Front-running purchasing involves a stock based on advance non-public information regarding an expected large transaction that will affect the share price of a company. When MFs purchase in huge quantities, it leads to rise in share price, resulting into illegitimate gains for the front runners.

Political Pulse

That the nominee of the ruling BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will easily win the coming presidential and vice-presidential elections — with the expected support of some friendly parties in the case of the former — is perhaps a foregone conclusion. But the elections will surely be a test for many Opposition parties, especially the Congress. It remains to be seen if the Congress succeeds in rallying the regional parties to field joint candidates for both the posts and what position some of these parties take. Rahul Gandhi initially said at his party’s Udaipur conclave this month that these forces have no national vision before clarifying last week parties that the Congress does not think it is superior to other Opposition. Read more

In Karnataka’s politically charged environment, a controversy surrounding revisions in the Kannada and social science textbooks has taken the center stage over the past week, with the government’s review committee chaired by writer Rohith Chakrathirtha rubbing several people the wrong way, including even a senior BJP leader . In 2014, author GS Mudambadithya led a campaign to rewrite textbooks based on the National Curriculum Framework of 2005. But the Congress-led government of Siddaramaiah appointed writer Baragaru Ramachandrappa as its textbook committee chairperson. The committee made sweeping content changes, especially in science and Kannada that the BJP and other right-wing organizations opposed. They were especially against the inclusion of a chapter on the birth of some religious communities and a study of caste history. Read more

Explained

A cave exploration team has discovered an ancient forest at the bottom of a giant karst sinkhole in Lyye County in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. According to Xinhua News, the sinkhole measures 306 meters in length, is 150 meters in width and 192 meters in depth, with its volume exceeding 5 million cubic meters. Given these dimensions, the sinkhole can be categorised as a large sinkhole. In Mandarin, giant sinkholes are called Tiankeng or “heavenly pit”. So, how are these sinkholes formed? Know more about skinholes and the discovery here

The world and India are witnessing a resurgence of food inflation. Between September 2021 and April 2022, consumer food price inflation in India has risen from 0.68% to 8.38% year on year. And with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) food price index hitting all-time-highs, it has reignited memories of the last great commodity inflation. That was during the period from the mid-2000s till around 2012-13, briefly interrupted by the 2008-09 global financial crisis. How different is the current inflation from this one? What will be its impact in India? Know here

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