Bharatiya Janata Party leader Devendra Fadnavis resigned as Maharashtra chief minister on Friday. He handed over the letter to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Friday.
The Supreme Court on Friday blamed both the Delhi Police and lawyers for the clash on November 2 that injured around 30 people. The court also disagreed with the contention of the lawyers that the police had committed atrocities against them.
Credit rating agency Moody’s Investors Service on Friday revised its outlook on India’s ratings to “negative” from “stable”, citing increased risks that will keep economic growth lower than in the past. The country’s foreign issuer rating was affirmed at Baa2, which is the second-lowest investment grade score. The agency said that the Baa2 rating balanced India’s “credit strengths”, adding that this included its diverse economy and stable domestic financing base for government debt against its main challenges.
Here are the day’s top stories
The Centre on Friday withdrew the Special Protection Group security cover of interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi, and party leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, The Indian Express reported. They will now be granted Z-plus category protection across India. This entitles them to protection by the Central Reserve Police Force.
Pakistan on Friday informed India it would levy a $20 fee (Rs 1,425) on Indian pilgrims who visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib on Saturday, when the Kartarpur Corridor will be inaugurated, India Today reported. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had earlier said the fee would be waived on the day of inauguration.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Devendra Fadnavis resigned as Maharashtra chief minister on Friday. He handed over the letter to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Friday. The term of the current Assembly ends on Saturday. If no one stakes claim before the deadline, President’s Rule may be declared in the state.
Actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth on Friday alleged that there were attempts to “saffronise him” and vowed to not fall for them. He added that he will not join the Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of the 2021 Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu. Rajinikanth’s statement came days after he met BJP leader Pon Radhakrishnan.
The Congress on Friday claimed that “Rs 25 crore to Rs 50 crore” had been offered to its MLAs in Maharashtra to switch sides, PTI reported. This came amid a political deadlock in the state, with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena failing to agree on a deal to form the government.
The Supreme Court on Friday pulled up both police and advocates and said that both sides were to blame for the November 2 clash outside Tis Hazari court in New Delhi, NDTV reported. The clash, which began over a parking dispute, led to injuries to around 30 people.
A group of 19 journalists, human rights activists and writers targeted by a spyware developed by Israeli company NSO Group have written a letter to the government, asking it to reveal whatever information it has about the cyber attack, other methods of mass surveillance, and the identity of the suspects.
Air India chief Ashwani Lohani on Thursday assured employees that the airline was taking necessary steps to protect their interests, reported ANI. Lohani wrote an open letter to the employees, saying that the company’s disinvestment will enable sustainability and help attain the full inherent potential of the national carrier.
The Shiv Sena on Friday asked Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to resign, and advised the Bharatiya Janata Party – its senior alliance partner – not to misuse the provision of a “caretaker government” and remain in power amid a political stalemate, PTI reported. The two allies have been unable to come to an agreement over the Shiv Sena’s demand to share the post of chief minister equally.
A group of people, purportedly lawyers, chased senior police officer Monika Bhardwaj during last week’s violence at Delhi’s Tis Hazari court, news reports said, citing CCTV footage that emerged on Thursday.
Bhardwaj, who is the deputy commissioner of police for North Delhi, is seen in the video being shielded by her support staff and some lawyers even as they push back against those chasing her. A fire can be seen raging in the background. No separate first information report has been filed in this specific case of attack, Hindustan Times reported.
Opposition leaders on Friday blamed the government’s demonetisation exercise for the current economic slowdown. On the third anniversary of the announcement, several Twitter users chastised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for cheating the nation.
On November 8, 2016, Modi had announced that the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes that were then in circulation would no longer be valid.
The India Meteorological Department on Friday said that the cyclonic storm Bulbul had intensified into a “very severe cyclonic storm” over the Bay of Bengal. Bulbul is likely to bring “light to moderate” rain in several areas in north coastal Odisha, with isolated “heavy to very heavy falls”, on Friday and Saturday.
The IMD said “extremely heavy” rainfall could occur along the coast of West Bengal on Saturday.
Writer and journalist Aatish Taseer on Friday said it was hard not to feel that India’s withdrawal of his Overseas Citizen status was a punishment for an article he wrote in May that was critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In an article in Time magazine on Friday, Taseer admitted that he had “expected a reprisal” for the article, “but not a severing”.
Credit rating agency Moody’s Investors Service has revised its outlook on India’s ratings to “negative” from “stable”, citing increased risks that are likely to keep economic growth slower than in the past. The announcement came amid a consistent slowdown of the Indian economic growth, which recorded a six-year low of 5% during the first quarter of 2019-’20 financial year.
The Finance Ministry responded to Moody’s announcement, reiterating that the country was among the fastest-growing major economies in the world. “...India’s relative standing remains unaffected,” the statement said. “As India’s potential growth rate remains unchanged, assessment by IMF and other multilateral organizations continue to underline a positive outlook on India.”
Environmental group Greenpeace India on Thursday said the Delhi government’s claim that air pollution levels have reduced by 25% over the past few years was false, reported PTI. The Aam Aadmi Party government has claimed recently that PM2.5 levels in the city averaged 115 micrograms per cubic metre between 2016 and 2018, down from 154 micrograms per cubic metre between 2012 and 2014.
Free speech organisation PEN America and the Committee to Protect Journalists on Thursday criticised India for its decision to cancel writer and journalist Aatish Taseer’s Overseas Citizen of India status.
PEN America said the decision was a punishment for an article Taseer had written criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The organisation called India’s decision a “worrying move”, and asked the government to stop the “judicial harassment of Taseer immediately”.
India on Thursday said it had not made any change to its border with Nepal in a newly-released map and that it depicts its sovereign territory accurately, PTI reported. Nepal had on Wednesday objected to the Kalapani area being shown as part of Indian territory.
“Our map accurately depicts the sovereign territory of India,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said. “The boundary delineation exercise with Nepal is ongoing under the existing mechanism. We reiterate our commitment to find a solution through dialogue in the spirit of our close and friendly bilateral relations.”
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Thursday that the state government has demanded that the Centre supply it with more onions as the vegetable’s prices continue to surge, PTI reported. The Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government’s demand came after onion prices rose from Rs 55 per kilogram on October 1 to Rs 80 per kg by Thursday.
Bru refugees in Tripura on Thursday withdrew their indefinite road blockade after Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma announced restoration of ration supplies to the makeshift camps, PTI reported.
The refugees had started their road blockade on October 31 between Dasda town and Anandanagar in North Tripura. They were protesting against the Centre’s decision to stop food and cash benefits given to them. The supplies were stopped on October 1 by the administration to comply with the instructions of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Punjab Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu on Thursday got political clearance from the Ministry of External Affairs to attend the inauguration ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor in Pakistan on November 9, unidentified officials told PTI. Earlier in the day, Sidhu had said he would visit Pakistan for the ceremony if the Centre did not reply to his multiple letters asking permission for the same.
Meanwhile, Pakistan said it has issued a visa for Sidhu to attend the inauguration of Kartarpur corridor on November 9.
The Union Home Ministry on Thursday asked all states, in particular Uttar Pradesh, to enhance security ahead of the Supreme Court verdict in the Ayodhya case, the Hindustan Times reported. The verdict is expected any day before November 17, when Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi retires.
The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday asked Pakistan to remove an objectionable welcome video created for pilgrims visiting a Sikh shrine in Kartarpur in which Khalistani separatist leaders, including Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, are seen.
The video released by the Pakistani government shows a poster with the images of three Khalistani separatist leaders of the early 1980s in the background – Bhindranwale, Major General Shabeg Singh and Amrik Singh Khalsa. The poster has the message “Khalistan 2020”, a reference to a referendum planned by separatists on the question of a separate Sikh homeland.