Coronavirus outbreak: Air India and IndiGo suspend flights to China

Budget airline IndiGo and national carrier Air India on Wednesday suspended flights to China because of a coronavirus outbreak that has killed 132 people and infected nearly 6,000. IndiGo said flights on the Bengaluru–Hong Kong route will be suspended from February 1, and on the Delhi–Chengdu route from February 1 to 20. Air India said it was suspending its flights on the Delhi–Shanghai route from January 31 to February 14.

JD(U) expels Prashant Kishor and Pavan Varma after they questioned Nitish Kumar’s stand on CAA

The Janata Dal (United) on Wednesday expelled party Vice President Prashant Kishor and national spokesperson Pavan Varma, PTI reported. This came days after their recent criticism of party chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s stand in the Citizenship Amendment Act.

For Kunal Kamra’s offence, rules do not allow a flying ban of more than three months: DGCA

The flying ban imposed by four airlines on comedian Kunal Kamra for heckling journalist Arnab Goswami on board an IndiGo aircraft may have violated the government’s rules on no-fly lists issued in September 2017. The worst penalty for unruly behaviour on flights, if limited to verbal harassment, is a flying ban for just three months, following an internal inquiry. IndiGo banned Kamra for six months within hours of the incident.

Visva Bharati student evicted from hostel for recording vice chancellor’s Republic Day speech

Visva Bharati University in Shantiniketan in West Bengal’s Birbhum district has evicted a student from hostel for recording the vice chancellor’s speech on Constitution during a Republic Day event, The Telegraph reported on Wednesday. The university claimed that the video was used to tarnish Vice Chancellor Bidyut Chakrabarty’s image.

Mumbai: Annual queer pride march denied permission, police cite fear of anti-CAA slogans

Mumbai Police have denied permission to the organisers of the city’s annual queer pride parade, claiming they have information that placards and slogans criticising the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens might be used at the event. The pride march was scheduled to be begin at August Kranti Maidan on February 1 evening.

Citizenship Act protest: Two killed in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district after violence erupts

Two people were killed and three were injured after violence erupted during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the proposed National Register of Citizens in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district on Wednesday, PTI reported. The injured were taken to Murshidabad Medical College and Hospital.

CAA protests: Bijnor court trashes police claim of firing and arson, grants bail to two accused

A sessions court in Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh has granted bail to two persons, trashing police claims that the accused indulged in firing and arson during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act on December 20, The Indian Express reported on Wednesday. Additional Sessions Judge Sanjiv Pandey, in the bail order passed on January 24, said the police produced no evidence to corroborate their claims.

JD(U) expels Prashant Kishor and Pavan Varma after they questioned Nitish Kumar’s stand on CAA

The Janata Dal (United) on Wednesday expelled party Vice President Prashant Kishor and national spokesperson Pavan Varma, PTI reported. This came days after their recent criticism of party chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s stand on the Citizenship Amendment Act.

Homoeopathy and Unani can prevent coronavirus infections, claims AYUSH ministry

The Ministry of AYUSH on Wednesday issued a medical advisory based on traditional Indian medicine practices such as Ayurveda, Homeopathy and Unani to prevent the spread of Wuhan coronavirus, which has killed at least 132 people till now. The advisory also suggested general hygienic measures such as maintaining personal hygiene, washing hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, and avoiding close contact with people who are sick.

The World Health Organization has said at present there is no “effective antiviral therapy” for the Wuhan coronavirus.

Cabinet approves extending abortion period to 24 weeks

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday extended the upper limit for permitting abortions from 20 to 24 weeks. Union minister Prakash Javadekar said the move will ensure safe termination of pregnancies and give women reproductive rights over their bodies. The minister added that this will also reduce maternal mortality.

IIT-Bombay warns students to not participate in ‘anti-national’ activities amid anti-CAA protests

The Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, on Tuesday warned hostel students to not participate in any “anti-national and undesirable activities” or to distribute posters inside the campus, where protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act have raged on since last month.

The institute’s dean of student affairs in a mail mentioned 15 code of conduct rules for the students. “Residents shall not participate in any anti-national, anti-social and or any other undesirable activities,” the dean wrote. “No posters or leaflets/pamphlets distribution allowed in the hostel without permission from the respective hostel council or Dean of Student Affairs.”

GoAir becomes fourth airline to ground comedian Kunal Kamra for heckling Arnab Goswami

Indian budget carrier GoAir on Wednesday became the fourth airline to suspend comedian Kunal Kamra from flying with it, a day after he heckled journalist Arnab Goswami on board an IndiGo airline flight from Mumbai to Lucknow. After IndiGo grounded Kamra for six months, Air India and SpiceJet followed suit.

In a statement released before GoAir suspended him, Kamra said the bans were not shocking. “At no point did I endanger the safety of any passenger on board, the only damage I caused was to the inflated ego to the ‘journalist Arnab Goswami,” he added.

Protest watch: ‘Pick a place,’ Owaisi challenges Anurag Thakur over his ‘shoot the traitor’ slogan

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Tuesday chastised Union minister Anurag Thakur for encouraging the audience at a rally to shout “shoot the traitors” slogan, and challenged the Bharatiya Janata Party leader to specify the place where he would want to shoot him, ANI reported.

“I challenge you Anurag Thakur, to pick a place in India where you will shoot me and I am ready to come there,” the Hyderabad MP said at a rally in Mumbai’s Jhula ground. “Your statements will not create fear in my heart because our mothers and sisters have come out in large numbers on the roads. They have decided to save the country.”

EC allows Anurag Thakur, Pravesh Verma to campaign in Delhi, drops them from ‘star’ list

The Election Commission of India on Wednesday ordered the Bharatiya Janata Party to remove Union minister Anurag Thakur and parliamentarian Parvesh Verma from its list of star campaigners for the Delhi Assembly elections for violating election guidelines.

Badminton player Saina Nehwal joins BJP along with her sister

Badminton star Saina Nehwal and her sister Chandranshu Nehwal joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday. BJP National Secretary Arun Singh welcomed the athlete in the party. She later met BJP President JP Nadda.

Davinder Singh arrest: CRPF conducts check among 3 lakh personnel to identify ‘subversive elements’

The Central Reserve Police Force carried out a mega check among its over three lakh personnel to find out if there were any “subversive element” in its ranks. This came in the wake of Jammu and Kashmir police officer Davinder Singh being caught with Hizbul Mujahideen militants earlier this month.

Full text: Shaheen Bagh environment ‘constructive’ for children, expert team rebuts NCPCR’s claims

A team of academics and psychologists on Tuesday dismissed National Commission for Protection of Child Rights claims that children involved in the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh were being “misled” and suffering from “mental trauma”.

CAA protest: Non-bailable warrants against 12 persons for allegedly attacking Varanasi policemen

The Varanasi Police registered non-bailable warrants against 12 persons named in a case on charges of attacking policemen when people gathered at Beniyabagh Ground to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act on January 23.

‘New NPR form is creating more apprehensions and fear,’ says NDA ally Nitish Kumar

Janata Dal (United) President and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday suggested that the Centre use the 2011 form for the National Population Register instead of a new one, reported News18. He reiterated his opposition to the proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens while maintaining a diplomatic silence on the Citizenship Amendment Act.

Separately, the Odisha government said it has decided against asking these questions and that the relevant column will be deleted from the form for the state. “The specified Column 13 (ii) of the NPR form will be deleted from the state NPR sheet,” ruling Biju Janata Dal leader Pinaki Mishra told The Times of India after a meeting of party MPs chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

2012 Delhi gangrape: Supreme Court dismisses convict’s petition for review of mercy plea

The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a petition filed by one of the convicts in the 2012 Delhi gangrape case again the rejection of his mercy plea by President Ram Nath Kovind, ANI reported. A day earlier, the top court had reserved its verdict after Mukesh Kumar Singh’s advocate claimed the trial court judgement was not placed before the president when the mercy plea was filed, and that Singh was abused in jail.

A bench of Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and AS Bopanna said alleged torture of the convict cannot be a ground for mercy. They added that there was no merit in the contention that all documents were not placed before the president.

Kerala: Opposition UDF protests against CAA, blocks governor in Assembly

The Congress-led United Democratic Front on Wednesday blocked Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan’s way in the Kerala Assembly, asking him to “go back” and holding placards against the Citizenship Amendment Act. After nearly 10 minutes of protest, watch and ward personnel removed the Opposition legislators. The Opposition MLAs stormed the well of the House and shouted “go back” slogans at the governor once again. When Khan began his address, the Opposition members walked out of the Assembly and began a sit-in protest at the gate.

Protests by students force West Bengal governor to leave event attended by Abhijit Banerjee

Students of Calcutta University in West Bengal on Tuesday allegedly prevented Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar from chairing a convocation programme that was attended by Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee, NDTV reported. Students shouted “go back” to Dhankhar, who was seated in a room backstage with Banerjee.

Dhankhar eventually left the university without attending the convocation, after sitting in backstage for an hour.

2012 Delhi gangrape: Another convict files curative petition in SC challenging his execution

Another of the four convicts in the 2012 Delhi gangrape case on Tuesday filed a curative petition in the Supreme Court challenging his death sentence, NDTV reported on Wednesday. Akshay Singh, 31, used the last legal remedy available to him a month after the Supreme Court rejected his plea seeking a review of his death sentence, using bizarre arguments.

Akshay Singh, Mukesh Kumar Singh, Vinay Sharma, and Pawan Gupta are to be hanged at Delhi’s Tihar Jail on February 1, for raping and brutally assaulting a paramedical student on a bus on the night of December 16, 2012, an incident that had sparked countrywide protests.

CAA: West Bengal BJP chief wonders why nobody has died in Shaheen Bagh protests

West Bengal Bharatiya Janata Party President Dilip Ghosh on Tuesday wondered why nobody had died during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act at Shaheen Bagh in New Delhi, despite very cold weather, NDTV reported. Protestors, mainly women and children, have been demonstrating at Shaheen Bagh for one-and-a-half months now.

Ghosh said that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had claimed that over 100 people had died while standing in queues following demonetisation of high-value currency notes in 2016. “What surprises me is that people were dying after standing in line for two to three hours,” he said at an event at the Press Club in Kolkata. “But now women and children are sitting in temperatures as low as 4-5 degrees Celsius but nobody is dying! What nectar did they have? I am astonished! What is their incentive?”

After IndiGo, Air India bans comedian Kunal Kamra from its flights indefinitely

National carrier Air India announced late on Tuesday that it was suspending comedian Kunal Kamra from travelling on any of its flights, hours after private airline IndiGo banned him for six months for heckling television presenter Arnab Goswami on a flight.

Kamra had on Tuesday posted a video which showed him heckling Goswami on a Mumbai-Lucknow IndiGo flight. In the video, he is seen calling Goswami a “coward” and mocking him for being a “nationalist”. The comedian told the journalist he was confronting him for discussing the caste of Rohith Vemula’s mother Radhika Vemula on his show.

JNU student Sharjeel Imam’s words more dangerous than Kanhaiya Kumar’s slogans: Amit Shah

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday said Jawaharlal Nehru University student Sharjeel Imam’s alleged remarks about cutting off Assam from the rest of India were “more dangerous” than former JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar’s slogans.

Imam, a PhD scholar, is under fire for alleged remarks he made at Aligarh Muslim University on January 16. In a clip on social media, Imam was purportedly heard telling protestors to “cut off Assam from India” by occupying the “Muslim-dominated Chicken’s Neck”. The JNU student was arrested in Bihar earlier in the day on charges of sedition after he reportedly surrendered to Delhi Police. Kumar, now a leader of the Communist Party of India, had also faced sedition charges in 2016.