Top news of the day: PM Modi slams DMK for drug menace, Katchatheevu issues; Supreme Court refuses to intervene for special arrangements for displaced Manipuri voters, and more

The major news headlines of the day and more.

April 15, 2024 07:25 pm | Updated 07:25 pm IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is addressing at the election campaign meeting held at Agasthiyarpatti near Ambasamudram in Tirunelveli district on April 15, 2024.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is addressing at the election campaign meeting held at Agasthiyarpatti near Ambasamudram in Tirunelveli district on April 15, 2024. | Photo Credit: Shaikmohideen A

Lok Sabha election | PM Modi appeals Tamil Nadu to vote for NDA, lambasts DMK over drug menace

“We worked day and night for Tamil Nadu’s development in the past 10 years,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi says at a rally in Tirunelveli. Calling out the ruling DMK over the drug menace in TN, Mr. Modi says the State is witnessing corruption of family-run party. “The BJP will save younger generation from the deep-rooted drug trade in Tamil Nadu which is being done with the blessings of people in power,” Mr. Modi says. Appealing to voters to give NDA an opportunity, Mr. Modi says that the State is set to create a new record by giving a decisive mandate to NDA in the Lok Sabha elections. “...Your support is giving sleepless nights to DMK & INDIA alliance...,” Mr. Modi says.

PM Modi launches fiery attack on ruling and Opposition fronts in Kerala

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 15 sought to capitalise on the momentum from his back-to-back campaign forays into Kerala since January by delivering a series of fiery attacks against the ruling and the Opposition fronts in the State. At a BJP rally at Kattakada in the Attingal Lok Sabha constituency, Mr. Modi accused the Left Democratic Front of running Kerala to financial ruin and then blaming the Centre for its “self-inflicted bankruptcy.”

Lok Sabha election | Supreme Court refuses to intervene for special arrangements to help displaced Manipuris vote

The Supreme Court on April 15 refused to intervene in a petition filed by the Manipur Tribal Forum and two individuals seeking a direction to the Election Commission to make arrangements for persons who had fled the conflict and are currently residing in other States to vote in the 2024 Lok Sabha election. A three-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud said with merely three days left for polling in Manipur on April 19, it was too late for the court to intervene. “Interference at this belated stage would cause substantial impediments in the conduct of elections in Manipur,” Chief Justice Chandrachud reasoned.

Supreme Court seeks ED response on Kejriwal arrest, says earliest date for hearing only from April 29

The Supreme Court sought a response from the ED on April 15 to a petition by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to quash his arrest in the Delhi Excise policy case, but did not relent to order his “interim release” or list the case on April 19. Instead, a Bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta scheduled the case for the week commencing on April 29, urging Mr. Kejriwal’s lawyers to keep the powder dry till the next hearing.

Review plea in Supreme Court claims electoral bonds case alleged ‘make-believe violation of fundamental rights’

A review petition in the Supreme Court has sought a review of a Constitution Bench judgment which struck down the electoral bonds scheme “alleging a make-believe violation of fundamental rights”. The petition said the Parliament, where petitioner-lawyer Mathews J. Nedumpara was “symbolically present”, had ushered in the scheme through an amendment in the Finance Act to curb black money. Admitting that the scheme would not have totally eradicated black money, the petitioner claimed it nevertheless had brought in “some element of transparency” by embracing confidentiality about donors.

Supreme Court rejects AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan’s anticipatory bail plea, asks him to appear before ED

The Supreme Court on April 15 refused to entertain AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan’s anticipatory bail application in a money laundering case related to alleged irregularities in the Delhi Waqf Board during his chairmanship and ordered him to join the investigation. A Bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta asked Mr. Khan to appear before the ED on April 18 at 11 a.m.

Uttar Pradesh Muslim student slapping case | Supreme Court asks State Government to clarify measures taken to prosecute teacher

The Supreme Court on April 15 asked the Uttar Pradesh government to clarify measures taken to prosecute a school teacher in Muzaffarnagar who goaded the classmates of a seven-year-old Muslim boy to slap him repeatedly while making communal remarks. In March, a Bench headed by Justice A.S. Oka had made sure that the State government took expert help from agencies such as HAQ, Muskan and Childline in counselling the child and his classmates after the traumatic episode. The court noted in the order that the State was “substantially complying” with its directions regarding the nature and depth of the counselling sessions. The court had made it clear to the State that the exercise should not be reduced to a cosmetic one.

India likely to experience above-normal rainfall this monsoon: IMD

India is likely to experience above-normal cumulative rainfall in the 2024 monsoon season with La Nina conditions likely to set in by August-September, the India Meteorological Department has said on April 15. However, normal cumulative rainfall does not guarantee uniform temporal and spatial distribution of rain across the country, with climate change further increasing the variability of the rain-bearing system. Climate scientists say the number of rainy days is declining while heavy rain events (more rain over a short period) are increasing, leading to frequent droughts and floods.

BRS leader K. Kavitha sent to judicial custody till April 23

A Delhi court on April 15 sent Bharat Rashtra Samithi leader K. Kavitha to judicial custody till April 23 in a corruption case lodged by CBI. Ms. Kavitha was arrested in connection with a corruption case linked to the alleged Delhi Excise policy scam. The daughter of former Telangana chief minister K. Chandrashekar Rao was arrested from Tihar Jail, where she was lodged after her arrest by the ED. The CBI produced the accused before the court on expiry of her three-day police custody granted earlier by a judge.

Rahul attacks BJP and RSS for their concept of one nation, one language, one leader, and one people

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi launched a scathing attack on the BJP and RSS over the concept of One nation, one language, one leader, and one people. Addressing the public after leading a road show in connection with the launching of his second phase election campaign at Sulthan Bathery in Wayanad of Kerala on April 15 Mr. Gandhi said the main fight during the general election was between the ideology of the RSS and the Congress party.

Part of ‘orchestrated campaign of PM’ to browbeat judiciary: Congress on ex-judges’ letter to CJI

The Congress on April 15 alleged that the letter by 21 judges to the Chief Justice of India was part of an “orchestrated campaign of the prime minister” to “threaten, browbeat and intimidate” the judiciary that has flexed its muscles in recent months. A group of 21 retired judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts have written to the Chief Justice of India on the escalating attempts by “certain factions to undermine the judiciary through calculated pressure, misinformation and public disparagement”. Asked about the letter at a press conference at the AICC headquarters in New Delhi, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh alleged that the “greatest threat” to judicial independence comes from the BJP. “Please see the fourth name on that list and it will give away the whole objective, background and authorship of the letter,” he said in an apparent reference to former Supreme Court Judge M R Shah.

Sydney church stabbing: Several people including bishop injured; one arrested

A number of people were injured in a stabbing at a church in Walkley, about 30 km west of the Sydney central business district, police authorities said on April 15. Officers arrested a male and he is assisting police with inquiries, a police statement said. The injured people suffered non-life threatening injuries and are being treated by paramedics, police said.

Iran promises Indian officials can meet with 17 detained Indian crew members ‘soon’

Iran said that it will allow Indian officials to meet with the 17 Indian crew members detained after its forces seized an Israel-linked ship MSC Aries “soon” after the issue was raised by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, who spoke to Foreign Ministers of both Iran and Israel on April 14 night. In a readout of the conversation between Mr. Jaishankar and Iranian Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian released on April 15, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said that they had discussed Iran’s drone and missile attack on Israel in what it called a response to Israel’s attack on the Iranian embassy on April 1 in which 7 Iranian diplomats and commanders died, as well as the situation in Gaza, and Red Sea. 

Aid groups call attention to Sudan with famine looming after a year of civil war

Sudan has been torn by war for a year now, ever since simmering tensions between its military and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) exploded into street clashes in the capital in mid-April 2023. The fighting rapidly spread across the country. The conflict has been overshadowed by the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza Strip, which since October has caused a massive humanitarian crisis for Palestinians and a threat of famine in the territory.

Wholesale price inflation rises to three-month high of 0.53% in March

India’s wholesale price inflation rose to a three-month high of 0.53% in March from 0.2% in February, with the food index rising 4.65%, primarily led by cereals prices surging at a 12-month high pace even as the inflation in paddy (11.7%), potato (53%) and onions (57%) accelerated. Inflation in pulses and vegetables remained elevated at the wholesale level, at 17.2% and 19.5%, respectively, as per the Wholesale Price Index (WPI). Fuel and power as well as manufactured products continued to be in deflation mode, though the level of price declines from a year ago moderated to about 0.8% in March.

Goods exports hit 12-month high of $41.68 bn in March

India’s goods exports hit a 12-month high of $41.68 billion in March, although it constituted a 0.67% decline from last year’s tally, while imports dropped 6% to $57.3 billion last month. The goods trade deficit contracted to $15.6 billion in March, the lowest in 11 months. The sharp drop in India’s import bill during March was led by gold imports, which fell a sharp 53.6% in March to $1.53 billion, and aided by a drop in non-oil, non-gold imports. However, silver imports jumped nearly 1059% to $816.6 million.

IPL-17: KKR vs RR | Rajasthan Royals star-studded batting face serious challenge of decoding Sunil Narine bowling

Rajasthan Royals’ star-studded batting will face the serious challenge of decoding Sunil Narine’s mystery at Eden Gardens when they take on two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders in a top-of-the-table IPL clash in Kolkata on April 16. Narine, who is one month shy of turning 36, had played a pivotal role in KKR’s twin triumphs under former skipper Gautam Gambhir in 2012 and 2014.

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