Daily Briefing: US Def Sec calls on PM Modi; WhatsApp privacy policy violates IT Rules, Centre tells HC

From the upcoming Assembly elections in four states and one Union Territory, to the latest on MP's controversial anti-conversion 'love jihad' law; here are today's top stories.

Good morning, 

The Big Story

In a first visit by a senior official of the Biden administration which came to power in January, US Secretary of Defence Lloyd J Austin met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and conveyed Washington’s “commitment towards strengthening the bilateral defence relations between the two countries”. Austin also met  National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. He will be meeting Rajnath Singh sometime today. 

Only in the Express 

Even as the Mizoram government is in favour of allowing refugees from Myanmar, the Centre has asked all bordering states to prevent the influx and deport those who came in since the coup. The state government had even promulgated an SOP that provided the refugees medical assistance and accommodation in community halls. 

From the Front Page

Arguing against WhatsApp’s new privacy policy, put on hold till May, the Government told the Delhi High Court that it violates the 2011 IT Rules on five counts, including failure to notify the details of personal information collected to the user. The government also said “substantial corpus” of data may be retained even after the user deletes the account.

Suspended Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Waze’s plea to meet and consult his lawyer in private during non-interrogation hours was denied by a special court in Mumbai. The court also rejected the NIA’s plea seeking directions for Waze’s lawyer to remain present at the agency’s office throughout the interrogation.

Members from 13 parties, including the Congress that wants the farm laws repealed, have asked the government to implement one of the three farm laws in “letter and spirit”. Removing the stock-holding limits on items considered essential, they say, in increasing the farmers’ income. 

Must Read 

47 people. 21 cases. 25 arrests. Within just three months of BJP ruled Madhya Pradesh clearing an anti-conversion ordinance modelled on a legislation in Uttar Pradesh to check what it calls “love jihad”, police records show that in at least 11 of the 21 cases, the women who registered complaints knew the accused — they were friends, in a relationship, and in one case, married for over five years.

Wanted for the murder of Jamnagar-based criminal lawyer Kirit Joshi, gangster Jayesh Ranpariya was detained by Interpol and produced before the Westminster Magistrates’ Court where he refused consent to be extradited to India. But how did a farmer’s son from a small village in Gujarat become a fugitive with 45 cases against him? According to the police, it all began in the 1990s when he moved to Jamnagar to work in a garment shop. 

Decision 2020

Come elections, elephants are back as a poll issue in the 12 Assembly seats of Bankura. Last year, Mamata Banerjee announced the next of kin of those killed by elephants would be given a government job and monetary compensation. But on the ground, relief has been hard to come by. Meanwhile, the BJP insisted that, unlike the TMC, they will provide jobs to the affected families. 

The popularity of Hagrama Mohilary, once one of the most feared militants in Assam and later the unrivalled face of Bodo politics, may be seen as on the decline. Yet, it is undeniable that one of the biggest political developments ahead of the Assam elections was the exit of Mohilary’s Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) from the BJP-led alliance to join the Congress-led Mahajot.

More than one-third of the candidates fielded by the different political fronts in Kerala — the LDF, UDF and NDA — have risen from the state’s vibrant three-tier self-governing local body system.The choice of these faces with a proven track record is another endorsement of the local body system in place in Kerala since 25 years.

And Finally 

When Suryakumar Yadav strode onto bat for the first time in an international game, he executed a stroke that was both brilliant and beautiful. The beauty of the stroke was that he made it look all too natural. There was no hint of premeditation or a release of suppressed nervous energy or a sense of over-keenness. There was calm, a sense of belonging and just plain, spontaneous joy.

Delhi Confidential: Just like horoscopes are matched before marriage, blood screening reports of bride and groom should also be matched, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said in Lok Sabha, while answering a question on thalassemia and how to prevent hereditary diseases.

Until tomorrow, 

Leela Prasad G and Rahel Philipose

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