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Veteran Kashmir journalist assassinated, and fresh hope for IIT aspirants

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Kashmiri editor shot dead: Shujaat Bukhari, senior journalist and editor of Rising Kashmir, was shot dead by three unidentified gunmen outside his office in Srinagar Thursday evening, reports The Indian Express. His personal security officer was also killed in the attack while another security guard was critically injured.The killings, on the eve of Eid, left Srinagar and the country stunned.

India rejects UN report on rights violations in Kashmir: A first-of-its-kind UN report on alleged human rights abuses in Jammu & Kashmir provoked a strong reaction Thursday from India, which described it as “fallacious, tendentious and motivated”, reports Hindustan Times. External affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar called the report “overtly prejudiced and seeking to build a false narrative”, adding that it violated “India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”. Pakistan and separatist leaders, however, have welcomed it.

The fate of 18 MLAs of the Tamil Nadu assembly remains unresolved, with a two-judge bench of the Madras High Court delivering a split verdict over their challenge to their disqualification by speaker P. Dhanapal, reports Live Mint. The move is a huge relief for CM Palaniswami and his deputy O. Panneerselvam, as they will not have to take a floor test or face elections in the 18 assembly seats as long as the status quo holds.

In another episode of Kejriwal vs L-G… On Day 4 of the sit-in by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and three of his ministers, a huge banner was hung from the top of the Delhi Secretariat building, mocking the protest. “There is no strike here. People of Delhi are on duty. The chief minister of Delhi is on leave,” the banner read, according to reports by NDTV.  Kejriwal reacted with shock, alleging that the “BJP has captured Delhi Secretariat”.

However, having failed to elicit any response from the L-G, Kejriwal has now written to the PM, seeking his intervention to end the IAS officers’ “strike”, claiming that the L-G was doing “nothing” to break the impasse, according to a report in The Pioneer. During all of this, the Delhi L-G has chosen to “work from home” and avoid the chaos, reports Business Standard.

File photo of Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia with CM Arvind Kejriwal | PTI

Sri Ram Sene chief seen in photo with Gauri Lankesh murder suspect: Radical organisation Sri Ram Sene has come under the scanner in the Gauri Lankesh murder case with the emergence of a picture showing the outfit’s chief, Pramod Muthalik, with his arm round the latest suspect to be arrested. Muthalik, however, denied the allegations and claimed that he did not know Parashumar Wagmare and many strangers sought to take pictures with him, reports The Telegraph.

Akhilesh Yadav to contest 2019 polls from Kannauj: Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav Thursday said he would contest next year’s parliamentary elections from Kannauj, the high-profile seat that his wife currently represents, and hoped his joining the fray would fire up party workers enough to “remove the BJP forever”, reports The Times Of India.

IITs issues fresh merit list: The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) issued Thursday a fresh merit list for the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) Advanced, spelling fresh hope for thousands of more aspirants, Kritika Sharma reports for ThePrint. The new cut-off took the number of qualifiers from 18,138 to 31,980.

India’s looming water crisis: The Hindu reports on a Niti Aayog study that estimates that about 60 crore people in India face high to extreme ‘water stress’ and about two lakh die every year due to inadequate access to safe water. The study has predicted that, by 2030, the country’s water demand will be twice the available supply.

Women protest during Shimla’s recent water crisis | PTI

VHP and Bajrang Dal have been tagged militant religious outfits by the CIA: Sangh affiliates Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal have been classified as militant religious outfits in the recently updated World Factbook, published by the US’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Pragya Kaushika reports for ThePrint. The outfits are now expected to seek legal options to get the tags removed.

Business Class

Former Supreme Court judge B.N. Srikrishna will probe the allegations of impropriety against ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar, reports The Economic Times. It writes, “Srikrishna will investigate whether Kochhar violated the bank’s code of conduct and was involved in quid pro quo transactions with certain bank borrowers.”

The government will not accept the NITI Aayog’s proposal of reducing the Centre’s stake to below 50 per cent in non-strategic companies, reports The Economic Times.

News it’s just kinda cool to know

The cat’s out of the bag: Achilles the cat is being touted as the official oracle of FIFA World Cup 2018 after he picked Russia as the winner of their opening encounter with Saudi Arabia Thursday. Achilles, a resident of Russia’s State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, was given two bowls of cat food with the flags of the competing sides and the deaf, white cat chose the one with the Russian flag, reports Hindustan Times. He had previously correctly predicted the winner of the 2017 Confederations Cup too.

Point of View

The editor of Rising Kashmir was shot dead by militants Thursday evening in Srinagar. The Indian Express, in its editorial, writes, “The first killing of a journalist in Kashmir in over a decade is an attack on free speech, on democracy and on the idea that the people of Kashmir deserve peace and a political solution to a complex and congealed crisis.”

Shujaat Bukhari
Shujaat Bukhari | Twitter/ @bukharishujaat

Two Muslim men were allegedly thrashed to death in Jharkhand on the suspicion of cattle theft. The Times Of India, in its editorial, writes, “…in a well administered state, they would never have dared to take the law into their own hands, committing murder. This a worrying sign that communalised hysteria around so-called gau raksha is still spreading, instead of being reined in.”

Even if one tries hard, it would be impossible to forget the 22 May police firing in Thoothukudi that killed 13 people. Former national security adviser M.K. Narayanan, in his column in The Hindu, writes that the incident “helped turn the spotlight on the changing nature of violence, and the inadequacy of existing rules and procedures to deal with new-era protests. This should be instructive, for new-era protests are redefining the internal security landscape”.

Growing protectionist tendencies are imperiling current global economic growth. This presents a new challenge to emerging economies, but also spells opportunity. The chairman of Switzerland-based thinktank Horasis, Frank-Jürgen Richter, writes in his column in The Economic Times, “India’s government needs to complement its emphasis on manufacturing with a commitment to growth in exports. ‘Make in India’ was a step in the right direction. Now, it should be wedded to a parallel ‘Trade with India’ programme.”

Media Watch

The shocking murder of Shujaat Bukhari has stunned journalists throughout the country. In an ode to the Rising Kashmir proprietor and editor, media outlets everywhere remembered his warmth and contribution to the industry. The Hoot remembers this article from 2012, where he had written about the vulnerability of journalists in Kashmir, whereas Ipsita Chakravarty, in an article for Scroll, pays tribute to a man who defended dialogue to the end.

Prime Time

Another journalist, another bloody day

On India Today TV, a teary-eyed Rajdeep Sardesai talked about the assassination his friend and eminent journalist Shujaat Bukhari. Former chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said the news had left him in absolute shock. “I cannot believe that it has happened. Terrible sadness for Shujaat and for Kashmir,” he remarked.

Lt Gen S.A. Hasnain, former GOC 15 and 21 corps, shared a few glimpses of his 20-year friendship with Bukhari. “Sometimes I used to write good things about him and he asked me to desist from doing so ‘as it attracts attention towards me [Bukhari]’,” said Hasnain.

Sardesai also questioned the utility and effectiveness of the Ramzan ceasefire. He ended his show with the words: “The death of Shujaat Bukhari and the abduction of a Kashmiri Army jawan make this yet another terrible bloody day in the scarred history of the Valley.”;

‘UNHRC has anti-India agenda’

AajTak’s Rohit Sardana began his show Khabardar by mentioning that since 2016, 205 security personnel had died in Kashmir, with another 14 killed during the ongoing Ramzan ceasefire. Referring to the recent UNHRC report on alleged human rights violations in Kashmir, he said, “But international agencies are more concerned about the human rights of stone-pelters and terrorists than of Army as they have to run their anti-India agenda.” Sardana claimed that the people who made the report didn’t even come to Kashmir and were instead sitting in Switzerland.

Will he, won’t he?

On CNN News 18, anchor Maha Siddiqui discussed the possibility of Shatrughan Sinha ditching the BJP in the future. While BJP spokesperson Syed Zafar Islam completely rubbished the possibility, Tejashwi Yadav and Shakti Singh Yadav of the RJD said they would welcome such a move. Political analyst Priyam Mishra talked at length about “cracks” in the coalition between the BJP and the JD(U). “Shatrughan Sinha has been mistreated by the BJP, he’s a good friend of my father Lalu Prasad. He’s welcome to join RJD,” said Tejashwi, the former deputy chief minister of Bihar.

With inputs from Prateek Gupta

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