Morning Brief: Sabarimala Temple To Open Today For Annual Pilgrimage;  76,000 Evacuated As Cyclone Gaja Hits Coastal Tamil Nadu; And More

Morning Brief: Sabarimala Temple To Open Today For Annual Pilgrimage;  76,000 Evacuated As Cyclone Gaja Hits Coastal Tamil Nadu; And More

by Swarajya Staff - Friday, November 16, 2018 08:56 AM IST
Morning Brief: Sabarimala Temple To Open Today For Annual Pilgrimage;  76,000 Evacuated As Cyclone Gaja Hits Coastal Tamil Nadu; And MoreMembers of Sabarimala Ayyappa Seva Samajam take part in a protest against the Supreme Court verdict. (Biplov Bhuyan/Hindustan Times via Getty Images) 

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

Sabarimala Temple To Open Today For Annual Pilgrimage

Lord Ayyappa’s abode in Kerala's Sabarimala will open today for the 62-day long Mandala Pooja-Magaravilaku annual pilgrimage season. Though the prayers will begin in the evening, the temple will open its doors for pilgrims from Saturday, marking the beginning of the Malayalam month of Vrischikam. The doors of the temple will open a day after the all-party meeting called by the Kerala government failed to build consensus on the issue as the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led coalition stuck to its decision to implement the Supreme Court’s order by use of force against devotees. The Congress and the BJP had walked out of the meeting. The apex court will hear review petitions challenging its verdict on 22 January.

To force the entry of women of reproductive age into the temple, the Kerala government has decided to deploy over 15,000 personnel, including 860 women civil police officers, during the season. When the temple opened last time, the state police were seen using brute force, stone pelting and vandalism to dislodge protesters. The state government’s cracked continued even after the doors of the temple closed, and 3,700 persons have been arrested so far. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday suggested allotting separate days for entry of women into the shrine. The temple will close its doors following prayers on 27 December and reopen after a three-day hiatus from 30 December 2018 to 20 January 2019.

(The Tale Of Sabarimala - A list of articles on the Sabarimala verdict and the underlying faith that drives the belief in it.)

76,000 Evacuated As Cyclone Gaja Hits Coastal Tamil Nadu

At least 76,000 people have been evacuated from coastal areas of Tamil Nadu as cyclone Gaja made a landfall today between Nagapattinam, nearly 300 km from state capital Chennai, and Vedaranniyam. Wind gusting up to 120 km per hour caused damage in low lying areas and people evacuated from these areas have been sheltered at over 300 relief camps in six districts, including Nagapattinam, Pudukottai, Ramanathapuram and Tiruvarur. In a report issued at 3:15am, when the eye of the severe cyclonic storm was still at sea, the Meteorological Department said it will move nearly westwards and weaken gradually in the next six hours.

According to reports, four teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed in Nagapattinam district and two teams of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) have been deployed in Cuddalore district for rescue and relief efforts. The Navy is also on high alert. Two Navy ships - Ranvir and Khanjar - are standing by for humanitarian aid, evacuation, and logistic support. Schools and colleges in the affected region will remain shut today.

India Kick-Starts Process To Buy 24 MH-60 ‘Romeo’ Helicopters From US

India on Thursday issued a ‘letter of request’ to the Donald Trump administration, kick-starting the process to procure 24 MH-60 ‘Romeo’ helicopters for the Navy. The multi-role naval helos, armed with torpedoes and missiles for potent anti-submarine warfare capabilities, will help the Indian Navy track and counter the increasing presence of China’s conventional and nuclear submarines in the Indian Ocean. A government-to-government deal could be signed within a year under the foreign military sales programme of the US. The helicopters may cost India Rs 13,500 crore.

The MH-60s will replace the over three-decade-old British-built Westland Sea King helicopters. The first Sea King helicopter had landed on INS Vikrant, the Majestic-class aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy, in July 1971, just months ahead of the 1971 war.

(Also Read: Explained: How Approval For 147 New Maritime Helicopters Will Revamp Indian Navy’s Chopper Fleet)

Under ED’s Scanner, Amnesty Accuses Government Tarnishing Reputation

Soon after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) launched investigations into Amnesty India’s alleged violations of rules pertaining to overseas donations, the “rights body” has accused the government and the agency of trying to tarnish its reputation. In a statement released on Thursday, the company accused the ED of leaking a dossier about its investigation into the alleged violation to the media without giving it access to any such information.

Amnesty India’s office in Bengaluru was raided on 24 October, two years after the ED launched investigations into the alleged violations of foreign funding rules. The outfit, which claims to be a defender of human rights, was recently accused of sedition after it gave a platform to Kashmir secessionists at an event, reports said. Anti-India slogans were railed at the event, it was alleged.

Tata Sons Board To Discuss Bid For Jet Airways

The board of Tata Sons is scheduled to meet to discuss a proposal to bid for the Naresh Goyal-controlled Jet Airways. Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekaran will present a business viability plan to the company’s board on Friday on the proposed acquisition of the struggling Jet Airways. The company will need backing from the board and its controlling shareholder, Tata Trust, to go ahead with what could emerge as India’s bigger-ever merger and acquisition deal in the aviation sector. Among other things, the plan will detail the long-term financial goals that the company wants to achieve through this deal.

Earlier, Mint had reported that the Tata Group is “conducting due diligence” to buy a controlling stake in Jet Airways. Chief Financial Officer of Tata Sons, Saurabh Agarwal, is leading the discussions with Naresh Goyal, the founder of the cash-strapped airline who owns a controlling stake of 51 per cent. A source quoted by the daily said that Goyal has “agreed to cede control, subject to fulfilment of certain conditions”. The Tata Group already has two aviation joint ventures, one with Singapore Airlines operating Vistara and the other with Air Asia.

From Swarajya

Why Do More Muslims Vote For BJP In Madhya Pradesh Than In Any Other State Muslims account for only 6 per cent of Madhya Pradesh’s total population, yet the community forms an important part of CM Chouhan’s outreach.

Why The Madhya Pradesh Growth Story Is Not Only About Agriculture: Though Chief Minister Chouhan won the love of the people through agriculture reforms, he helped the state secure a leading position in urban development. The question is will the multifarious development translate into votes?

Why ISRO’s Latest Launch Was More Significant Than You Thought: The launch of GSAT-29 atop GSLV Mark-III looked similar to other satellite launches. But there are reasons why it was more significant than most such missions.

The Pros And Cons Of NCLAT’s Binani Cement Order: There is need for clarity on how all future late bids and counter-bids are to be handled. Endless litigation on this issue is counter-productive.

We hope you enjoyed reading our morning brief. Have a great day ahead!

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