A look at the top headlines of the day:

  1. Calcutta HC directs Bengal government to protect witnesses in Birbhum violence case: Eight people had died on Tuesday after their houses were set on fire following the alleged murder of a panchayat leader of the ruling Trinamool Congress. The bench of Justices Prakash Shrivastava and Rajarshi Bharadwaj had taken suo motu cognisance of the matter.
  2. Petrol, diesel prices increased for second straight day: The prices of petrol and diesel were increased by 80 paise a litre each on Wednesday. With the latest price increase, a litre of petrol in Delhi now costs Rs 97.01, as compared to Rs 96.21 earlier. The price of diesel has increased to Rs 88.27 a litre from Rs 87.47 a litre earlier.
  3. Muslim traders banned from having stalls at several temple fairs in Karnataka: Muslims have reportedly been running stalls at these fairs for many years. However, Hindutva organisations recently objected to the participation of traders from the community after many Muslims closed their shops to protest the Karnataka High Court verdict upholding the state’s ban on hijabs at schools and colleges.
  4. India to end Covid-19 curbs from March 31, but asks citizens to keep wearing face masks: While withdrawing implementation of the Disaster Management Act on Wednesday, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said that “significant capacities have developed” in the last 24 months while managing the Covid-19 pandemic. These include diagnostics, surveillance, contact tracing, treatment, vaccination and hospital infrastructure, he said.
  5. Karnataka HC refuses to quash rape charges against man accused of sexually assaulting his wife: The court held that brutal acts of sexual assault by husband without the wife’s consent amounts to rape. The judge observed that the institution of marriage cannot be a “special male privilege or license for unleashing a brutal beast”.
  6. Umar Khalid’s bail plea order deferred for the third time in Delhi riots case: Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat said the order was “under correction” and reserved the verdict for 12 pm on Thursday. Khalid was arrested along with several other activists after clashes broke out between the supporters of the Citizenship Amendment Act and those opposing the law in North East Delhi between February 23 and February 26, 2020. 
  7. Taliban shuts down girls’ secondary schools hours after they reopened: The Taliban did not offer any explanation behind this sudden closure of schools. After it took control of Afghanistan in August, the insurgent group had claimed that there would be no discrimination against women.
  8. ‘Silence not an option,’ say veteran journalists on attacks on minorities in India: Twenty-eight journalists expressed their concerns about a “dangerous hysteria” that is being created in the country to push the narrative that “Hinduism [is] in danger” and portray Muslim citizens as a threat. The journalists said that sections of media have also to turn themselves into “conduits of hate speech”.
  9. Resume mid-day meals for children, says Sonia Gandhi in Lok Sabha: The Congress leader pointed out that while citizens got dry ration during the pandemic under the National Food Security Act, it was “no substitute to nutritious food for children”. The mid-day meal scheme, renamed to PM-Poshan last year, provides one hot cooked meal to students in government and government-aided schools.
  10. Flight recorder recovered from Chinese plane that crashed carrying 132 passengers: The Boeing 737 plane carrying 132 passengers and operated by China Eastern Airlines crashed in the rural locality near Wuzhou city of the Guangxi region on Monday. There was no sign of any survivors from the crash. This is one of the worst aeroplane crashes in China in 30 years.