India in 2 minutes

Court acquits BJP leaders in mosque demolition case

A special court has acquitted senior leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), including former deputy prime minister Lal Krishna Advani, 28 years after a Hindu mob demolished a centuries-old mosque that triggered deadly riots killing thousands.

The court in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, on Wednesday found no evidence against Mr Advani, BJP parliamentarians Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti and 29 other politicians and Hindu activists who were charged with criminal conspiracy, unlawful assembly and provoking riots.

States allowed to reopen schools gradually

The Central government on Wednesday allowed states to reopen schools and other educational institutions in a phased manner along with movie theatres, even as the Covid-19 cases continue to rise daily.

India reported nearly 80,500 new Covid-19 cases over the past 24 hours on Wednesday, taking its tally to 6.23 million. Deaths stood at 97,497.

Tea plantation workers demand wage hike

More than 400,000 tea plantation workers in Assam went on strike on Wednesday to demand higher pay.

The state accounts for more than half of India's tea production and the workers are asking for the minimum wages to be increased from Rs145 ($2.70) to Rs350 a day.

India's tea industry, the second largest in the world after China's, employs 3.5 million workers, many of them subject to labour abuses and living in poverty on the estates.

Monsoon rains above average for second year in a row

India's monsoon rains this year were above average for the second year in a row, the first time that has happened in more than six decades, weather department officials said on Wednesday.

The 9 per cent above-average rainfall replenished reservoirs and built up ground water, helping assuage water shortages in pockets of the country of 1.3 billion people.

New Delhi loses cleaner lockdown air as farmers burn crop waste

India's longest spell of clean air on record came to an end in September when New Delhi, the world's most polluted capital city, recorded a significant deterioration in air quality, partly due to crop waste burning by farmers.

Until last month, New Delhi and its satellite cities, which last year accounted for half of the dozen most-polluted cities worldwide, had enjoyed respite due to the strict nationwide lockdown to stem the spread of Covid-19.

Hopes fade for girl buried in garbage dump

The search for a 12-year-old girl buried under a huge garbage heap in Ahmedabad entered its fifth day on Wednesday with hopes fading fast of finding her alive.

Neha Vasava was on top of a 30-metre mountain of refuse at the Gujarat capital city's biggest rubbish dump - where she and her family eke out a living - when it collapsed on Saturday.

Modi offers India's vaccine capacity to 'all humanity'

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged at the United Nations on Aug 27 that his country's vaccine production capacity would be made available globally to fight the Covid-19 crisis.

Speaking for "the largest vaccine-producing country of the world, I want to give one more assurance to the global community today," Mr Modi said in a pre-recorded speech to the UN General Assembly.

"India's vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used to help all humanity in fighting this crisis."

Controversial farm Bills become law despite protests

President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday approved three controversial agricultural Bills amid nationwide protests by farmers who say the new laws will stunt their bargaining power and instead allow large retailers to have control over pricing.

Farmers' organisations pointed out that one of the three laws could lead to the government not buying grain at guaranteed prices, a move that would disrupt wholesale markets which have so far ensured fair and timely payments to farmers.


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