Morning Brief: Asaram Rape Case Verdict Today; India Unlikely To Attend SAARC Summit In Pakistan; Launch Of Satellite GSAT-11 Postponed

by Swarajya Staff - Apr 25, 2018 08:11 AM +05:30 IST
Morning Brief: Asaram Rape Case Verdict Today; India Unlikely To Attend SAARC Summit In Pakistan; Launch Of Satellite GSAT-11 Postponed Asaram being produced at session court in Jodhpur. (Ramji Vyas/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Good morning, dear reader! Here’s your morning news and views brief for today.

Asaram Rape Case Verdict Today

A trial court in Jodhpur will deliver its ruling on a rape case involving Asaram later today. The self-styled godman has been accused of sexually exploiting a 16-year-old girl from Uttar Pradesh’s Shahjahanpur in his ashram near Jodhpur in 2013. To ensure there’s no repeat of the kind of chaos that followed the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, Jodhpur was turned into a fortress on Tuesday with the administration putting in place stringent security measures and prohibitory orders. A special courtroom has been set up inside the Jodhpur Central Jail for pronouncement of the verdict. The Centre has asked Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana governments to deploy additional forces to maintain law and order. Since the trial started, at least nine witnesses in the two cases against Asaram have been attacked. If convicted, he faces a minimum sentence of 10 years in jail.

India Unlikely To Attend SAARC Summit In Pakistan

India is unlikely to attend the 20th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Summit to be held in Pakistan later this year. Initially scheduled to take place in November 2016, the summit was cancelled after India, Afghanistan, Bhutan and Bangladesh declined to attend it citing lack of conducive atmosphere in the wake of the terrorist attack in Uri. Pakistan has been making efforts to host the summit and has been trying to engage other six nations to ensure there isn't an en masse cancellation like the one in 2016. However, Delhi’s position remains the same. If the 2016 episode is repeated, this would be the third consecutive year when the summit would stand cancelled. The eight-member bloc includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Launch Of Communication Satellite GSAT-11 Postponed

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has postponed the launch of satellite GSAT-11 a month after it lost contact with communication satellite GSAT-6A following a successful launch. GSAT-11, a large communication satellite which was to be launched from French Guiana in South America, would have ushered in an age of high-speed internet connectivity with speeds of up to 14 gigabits per second. The launch has been postponed as the agency needs to carry out more technical checks before it is put into orbit. According to some reports, the satellite had developed a few technical problems after reaching the launch site on 30 March.

Government Meets Rs 10 Lakh Crore Credit Disbursal Target

The government has said that it achieved the agriculture credit disbursal target of Rs 10 lakh crore set for the fiscal year 2017-18 and has raised it to Rs 11 lakh crore for this fiscal year. Of the Rs 10 lakh crore disbursed, Rs 6.8 lakh crore was in the form of short-term crop loans. Of this, 50 per cent amount was provided to small and marginal farmers. According to reports, the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare is planning to bring a proposal before the Cabinet for improving lending to small and marginal farmers based on the recommendations of the Sarangi committee. The ministry has sought data from banks for better targeting of agriculture credit.

Gadchiroli Naxal Encounter: Toll Reaches 37

After six more Maoists were killed in a gunfight on Monday evening and 15 more bodies were recovered from the site of Sunday’s shootout, the number of rebels killed in the past 48 hours has risen to 37. At least 15 bodies, including two women, were found floating in Indravati river late onTuesday. Among the 37 dead Maoists, 19 were women, including 18-year-old Suman Kulyeti, a platoon member with a Rs 4 lakh reward on her head. Among the bodies recovered, two were of senior members of the Communist Party of India (Maoist). The two senior leaders had a reward of Rs 20 lakh and Rs 12 lakh on their heads. The Naxals, who have been identified so far, were carrying rewards of Rs 82 lakh on their heads cumulatively.

Juna Akhara To Get First Dalit Mahamandaleshwar

Juna Akhara, the largest and oldest order of sadhus in India by some accounts, will appoint a Dalit sanyasi as ‘Mahamandaleshwar’ at Kumbh 2019. This will be the first time in the history of the akhara that a Dalit sanyasi will hold the influential position. Kanhaiya Kumar Kashyap, who will hold the position, was rechristened Kanhaiya Shivanand Giri after his ‘diksha’ ceremony on Tuesday. At the last Kumbh in Ujjain, Niranjani Akhara had included a Dalit in its higher echelons.

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