Will take steps to contribute to peace on border: Indian Foreign Secretary
India warned Pakistan on Thursday of an "effective and forceful response" to cross-border firing and terrorism even as tensions rose between the two countries over various issues. India's message was relayed after a series of recent ceasefire violations by Pakistan across the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir that led to casualties on both sides. In the most recent incident on Thursday, Pakistan accused India of killing five civilians while firing from Pakistan killed a woman and injured two Indian soldiers on Wednesday. The exchange took place a few days after leaders from both nations met for bilateral talks in Russia's Ufa on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit. Reiterating India's commitment to taking steps that will "contribute to peace and tranquility on the border", Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said India would retaliate in kind to unprovoked firing from the country. Jaishankar also commented on a recent controversy regarding an alleged Indian "spy drone" that was shot down by the Pakistani army on Wednesday, suggesting that the drone appeared to be of Chinese make and was freely available in the market and did not belong to the Indian army.

Government sets up panel to release caste census data
After facing strong criticism from opposition parties over not releasing caste-based census data in the Socio-Economic Caste Census, the Narendra Modi-led Union government on Thursday set up an expert panel headed by National Institute for Transforming India Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya. The decision, made in a cabinet meeting chaired by the Prime Minister, was announced by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who said that the panel's purpose would be to classify the data before releasing it to the public. Opposition parties have accused the government of not releasing caste-based data as a way to gain political advantage in upcoming state assembly elections.

Rahul Gandhi attacks Modi government over Vyapam, land bill
Rahul Gandhi on Thursday targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Central government while on a tour of Rajasthan to meet with local farmers and discuss their grievances. Referring to the government as a "loot, boot and suit" sarkar, Gandhi called for the resignations of Rajasthan chief minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Vasundhara Raje as well as Union Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj for their alleged links to tainted former Indian Premier League chief Lalit Modi. Rahul also crticised Modi over Madhya Pradesh's Vyapam scam. Addressing a public gathering at Hanumangarh, Rahul expressed opposition against the land acquisition bill, vowing that his party would not let the National Democratic Alliance-led government "acquire an inch of land".

CBI asks STF to file FIRs against all Vyapam-accused in custody
The Central Bureau of Investigation on Thursday asked for a clarification from the Supreme Court regarding the status of people who have been found accused in the Vyapam scam by the state Special Task Force which was in charge of the case until Monday. The central agency also asked for the Special Task Force formerly probing the case to file charge sheets against all scam accused in custody to prevent them from securing bail. The court will hear the CBI's clarification plea on July 20.

Police urge court to deny Pachauri anticipatory bail
The Delhi High Court on Thursday was requested by state police to cancel the anticipatory bail granted to The Energy and Resources Institute Director RK Pachauri. The TERI Director is currently facing charges of sexually harassing a research analyst. Claiming that Pachauri was not cooperating in the investigation, the police said he had not give "proper replies" to questions even after four sessions while opposing counsel claimed Pachauri was using the anticipatory bail to influence witnesses and the investigation. The matter has been posted for final disposal on September 30.