Daily Briefing: Govt reopens Kartarpur corridor today; Post scam, sharp drop in scholarship beneficiaries in Jharkhand | #cybersecurity | #cyberattack

The Big Story

Ahead of Gur Purab, the Centre announced that the Kartarpur Sahib corridor will be reopened from November 17 to allow pilgrims from India to visit the Sikh shrine in Pakistan. The Ministry of Home Affairs said the decision has been taken keeping in view “the improved Covid-19 situation”.

Only in the Express 

Almost a year after an investigation by The Indian Express uncovered a pre-Matric scholarship scam in Jharkhand involving fake beneficiaries, official data shows that the number of beneficiaries of the Centrally-funded scheme for poor minority students reduced by more than 85% in the academic year 2020-21. But during the same period, the number of applicants for the pre-Matric scholarship reduced by only 22%. 

Former Union minister Salman Kurshid writes on the controversy around his new book: “…Hinduism and Hindutva are two different things for the reason that the latter participates in the killing of innocent persons, what debate survives? The truth is that we have for too long given the forces of Hindutva the freedom to push us around, giving the impression that they have a monopoly of the truth.”

From the Front Page

“What is important is that other than the damage and destruction of some shops and vehicles, no one died, no one was injured. There was no riot.”

That was a police officer taking stock of last week’s Amravati violence even as there was panic among the city police and senior cops from Mumbai had to be scrambled to take charge. 

Families of three of the four persons killed in Monday’s encounter in Srinagar are contesting the J&K Police claim that they were shot dead during a security operation against a terror module. Calling them “innocent”, the families demanded that the bodies of the three men, buried by police, be turned over to them. Leaders of J&K mainstream parties called for an “impartial” and “credible” inquiry into the killings to “bring out the truth”.

Must Read 

Of the over 7.86 crore registrations on the e-Shram portal — the country’s first centralised database of unorganised workers seeded with Aadhaar — 40.5 per cent belong to Other Backward Classes (OBCs), 27.4 per cent to the general category, 23.7 per cent to the Scheduled Castes and 8.3 per cent to the Scheduled Tribes. The estimations are significant because they offer, for the first time, an indicator of the social profile of the informal sector workers in the country.

Amid anxieties over the crackdown on food stalls in Gujarat, especially those selling non-vegetarian food, anguished vendors say that have been left in the lurch. The crackdown on Tuesday was tagged an “anti-encroachment drive”, with authorities seizing carts, chairs and other paraphernalia. Meanwhile, BJP President CR Paatil maintained that people are entitled to eat what they want and “nobody can stop them”.

The issue surrounding the Centre’s contentious new farm laws, which prompted over a year of widespread farmer protests, must be resolved to get things back to normal in Punjab, former CM Amarinder Singh said in an Idea Exchange with The Indian Express. If these laws aren’t repealed villagers in Punjab won’t allow political parties to campaign for next year’s Assembly polls, he said. 

As it probes the financial dealings of alleged hacker Srikrishna alias Sriki in a cryptocurrency scandal, the ED is closely looking at a Kolkata-based Bitcoin trading services provider, who reportedly doubled up as the 26-year-old’s personal accountant. Between 2017 and 2020, Rs 5 crore of funds were reportedly provided by the Bitcoin trader, Rajeev Khandelwal, to Srikrishna — including for chartering a private flight and yacht, and for five-star hotel stays.

And Finally 

At the T20 world cup, the Indian team looked visibly jaded and spent. While this may seem like an excuse to some, cold numbers reflect that there is some truth in this assessment. The Indian players who feature in all three formats have been much busier than their counterparts from other countries. Besides this, bowling coach Bharat Arun noted that the players have not gone home since right after IPL. “They are in a bubble for the last six months, which takes a huge toll.”

Delhi Confidential: With the UP assembly polls around the corner, the BJP is working on CM Yogi Adityanath’s image. The campaign theme, decided as of now, would be to project Adityanath as a fighter – against corruption and criminals. 

In today’s episode of the ‘3 Things’ podcast, we look at concerns over the tenures of CBI and ED chiefs, why people are disappointed with the Glasgow Climate Pact, and S Gurumurthy’s remarks over social media.

Until tomorrow, 
Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose

Express Cartoon by EP Unny.

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