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Didn't want PM Modi, Rahul Gandhi in Kollam during temple rescue ops: Kerala DGP

Kerala's Director General of Police (DGP) TP Senkumar had reportedly raised objections to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi visiting Kollam hours after the temple fire disaster.

The Indian Express quoted Senkumar as saying that he did object to the idea of the PM visiting the region within 12 hours of the accident.

"I told them it would be better for the PM to visit the spot a day after the disaster. But the PM wanted to visit that day itself. Our entire force had been working from early morning, engaged in rescue and relief work. So much work was still left and all of them were tired because there was no provision of even drinking water. We had to make arrangements for the safety and security of Prime Minister Modi and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi too," the DGP was quoted as saying.

Pathankot-Jalandhar train halted after suspicious bag found on board

A local DMU Pathankot-Jalandhar train has been halted at Kandrori near Pathankot after an unclaimed suspicious bag was found on board on 15 April. The train has reportedly been evacuated. A bomb squad has been rushed in and search operations are underway.

More details are awaited.

RBI Governor Rajan says more rate cuts on lower inflation, good monsoon

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) may further lower the interest rate if inflation continues to ease and if the monsoon is favourable, Governor Raghuram Rajan has said.

Earlier this month, RBI reduced its policy rate by 0.25 per cent to 6.5 per cent -- its lowest level in more than five years. While this was the first rate cut after a gap of six months, RBI has lowered its rate by 1.5 per cent cumulatively since January 2015.

Still, the industry wants further rate cuts from RBI to boost investment. During the same time period, the banks have lowered their own lending rate by 0.25-0.5 per cent.

Handwara: Molested girl has been in police custody since 12 April

The girl who was allegedly molested by an Army man at Handwara, Kashmir, has been in the custody of the Jammu and Kashmir Police since the incident occurred on Tuesday, 12 April.

The incident led to violent protests in Handwara, and subsequent firing by the Army and police that killed four people.

The girl was taken to the police station soon after the protests began on Tuesday, and purportedly recorded a video statement in which she said her assailant had not been from the Army.

Both the girl and her father are in protective custody, said Uttam Chand, DIG for North Kashmir, according to The Indian Express.

Haryana govt had ignored more than 100 intel alerts about Jat reservations stir

The Haryana government had ignored more than 100 intelligence alerts about the Jat stir since June last year, which finally led to the two weeks of violence this February in which 30 lives were lost, 320 people were injured, and crores' worth of property was damaged.

This revelation will most likely feature in former IPS officer Prakash Singh's one-man commission report on lapses by the police and government during the agitation. Singh had said earlier that the lack of action from the police in the early days of the agitation had been deliberate, according to the Hindustan Times.

India's top judges to discuss setting up new system of commercial courts

A three-day conference of chief justices that will begin in Delhi from 22 April will discuss the issue of establishing commercial courts to ensure speedy settlements of high-value business disputes. The commercial courts will boost the government's initiatives to improve the ease of doing business in India.

President Pranab Mukherjee had approved the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of HCs Act, 2015 in January.

The new courts will be equivalent to district courts and will be set up in states and union territories where high courts do not have ordinary original civil jurisdiction, says The Economic Times.

School education secretary red-flags Ramdev's Vedic Education Board proposal

At a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, school education secretary SC Khuntia expressed reservations about the government's involvement in setting up yoga guru Ramdev's Vedic Education Board (VEB), arguing that if the state sanctioned a private school board, other unrecognised school boards could request the same sanction.

The meeting of higher education and school education secretaries had been called by Modi, according to The Indian Express, to understand the HRD ministry's position on the proposal that had been submitted by the Vedic Education Research Institute (VERI) run by Ramdev's Patanjali Yogapeeth. 

Gujarat judicial commission takes 6 years to file nothing

Six years after it was set up in 2009, a one-man judicial commission in Gujarat meant to investigate religious polarisation in the state since Independence, wound up having held no public hearings and received only one affidavit.

The Justice (retired) B J Sethna commission had had four extensions, but never submitted a report because it had nothing to report. The commission was wound up last August when its term expired, though, according to acting secretary of the commission KM Bhavsar, Justice Sethna had sought another extension, says The Indian Express.

Antimalarial drug resistance can't be passed on by mosquitoes

In a breakthrough, a team of researchers has found that malaria parasites with a developed resistance to certain drugs cannot spread their resistance on. The discovery could potentially shut down the avenue for mass drug resistance to spread, making malaria treatment significantly more effective for the 3.2 billion people at risk. The international research project was led by the University of Melbourne and focused on the drug atovaquone. The study reveals that although some malaria parasites had developed a genetic mutation that protected them against the drug in early life, the mutation eventually killed the parasites by stopping production of an essential type of energy as they grew. The study is published in the journal Science today.

Centre notifies new, tight rules of compensation for offences against SC/ST persons

On Ambedkar Jayanti on Thursday, the government at the Centre significantly enhanced the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules, 1995 through a notification that makes compensation for SC/ST victims of gang rape, murder or acid attack much higher.

With the new amendments, the 1995 Rules now specify 47 categories of offences in which states will pay compensation ranging from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 8.25 lakh to SC/ST victims. Last amended on 2011, the rules listed only 22 kinds of offences with minimum compensations ranging from Rs 60,000 to Rs 5 lakh, according to The Economic Times.

US report shows bleak picture of human rights in Nepal

An annual report prepared by the United States Department of State, the Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 2015, observed that there were serious problems in Nepal regarding implementation of principles of human rights. The most significant human rights problems included the alleged use of excessive force by security personnel in controlling protests related to the finalisation of the new Constitution. The report also highlighted discrimination against women, persons with disabilities, lower-caste individuals and some ethnic groups as well as violence against children and sex trafficking.