Morning digest: Three Navy personnel killed in explosion onboard INS Ranvir; Tableaux selection fair, says Rajnath, and more

The Supreme Court’s questions on hunger deaths drew a near blank from the Union government on Tuesday. The government’s response skirted from urging the court to ask the States for data, making sweeping comments about malnutrition in “developing countries” to reading statistics out of a 2015 health survey report and a newspaper article.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was still recovering from last week’s jolts of resignations of at least 10 MLAs in U.P., including three ministers, Allahabad MP Rita Bahuguna Joshi gave it another shock on Tuesday after she publicly offered to give up her Lok Sabha membership if the party fields her son from Lucknow Cantonment seat in the upcoming State Assembly Elections.

Three Navy personnel were killed after an explosion in an internal compartment onboard destroyer INS Ranvir at Naval Dockyard Mumbai on Tuesday. “The ship’s crew responded immediately and quickly brought the situation under control. No major material damage has been reported,” the Navy said in a statement.

India recorded 2,79,031 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, a 42.8% increase compared to a week ago. The total number of infections has reached 3.76 crore, and the active cases have crossed the 17.6 lakh mark.

The Union Health Ministry has advised the COVID-19 patients to undergo tests for tuberculosis and other conditions if cough persists for more than two-three weeks. It also instructed the States to keep an eye on the decline in the number of COVID-19 tests.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has conveyed to the Chief Ministers of West Bengal and Tamil Nadu that there exists a well-established system for selection of tableaux for participation in the Republic Day Parade (RDP), as per which Ministry of Defence invites proposals from all States, Union Territories, Central Ministries and Departments.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday conducted raids at close to a dozen places in Punjab, including the residence of Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi’s nephew Bhupinder Singh Honey, in connection with an illegal sand mining case.

Terming the drone attacks by Houthi rebels in Abu Dhabi that left two Indians dead and two others injured, as “unacceptable”, India on Tuesday expressed solidarity with the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday commuted the death sentence of two sisters — for murdering and kidnapping children between 1990 and 1996 in Kolhapur — to life imprisonment. A Division Bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and S.V. Kotwal was hearing a petition filed by Renuka Shinde and Seema Gavit, lodged at the Yerwada Central Jail in Pune, in 2014.

West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee will campaign for the Samajwadi Party in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election. After meeting Ms. Banerjee at her residence in Kolkata,SP leader Kiranmoy Nanda said Ms. Banerjee would hold a joint virtual meeting and press conference with Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow on February 8.

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Tuesday ruled out any alliance with the Congress in the coming Goa Assembly elections on grounds that the latter had not responded favourably to seat-sharing. The Sharad Pawar-led party, however, stated that it would fight the polls in alliance with the Shiv Sena.

Thirty civilians, who were stranded due to fresh snowfall and avalanches, were rescued in a six-hour long operation by the Army in north Kashmir’s Kupwara on Tuesday. The civilians were stranded on the Chowkibal-Tangdhar road after a spell of fresh snowfall and two avalanches hit the stretch on the night of January 17-18.

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