19 Parties to Boycott New Parliament Building Inauguration by Modi; Army Puts Its Foot Down on Restoration of Patrolling Rights on Depsang
Chola-dynasty ‘Sengol’ to be placed in new parliament building, UK sets new immigration curbs, cheetah cub born in March dies, IISc a ‘hostile’ space for Dalit students, RBI must avoid trust deficit
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Snapshot of the day
May 24, 2023
Accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of insulting the office of the President and violating the spirit of the Constitution, 19 opposition parties including the Congress, the Trinamool Congress, the DMK and AAP, announced on Wednesday that they would boycott the inauguration of the new parliament building by Modi on May 28. A joint statement issued by the parties said that Modi’s decision to inaugurate the new building himself, while sidelining the President, was not only a grave insult to the highest office in the land but also a direct assault on Indian democracy.
Shortly after the opposition parties issued the “boycott” statement, Union home minister Amit Shah said that the government had invited all political parties for the inauguration and that “they are allowed to act as per their wisdom”. Urban development minister Hardeep Puri accused the Congress of playing politics, saying that Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi had themselves inaugurated the parliament annexe and library buildings when they were prime minister. Puri’s facts have been questioned; and Congress leaders have noted that additional structures to an existing institution cannot be compared to the inauguration of an entirely new parliament building.
Calling the new parliament building a testimony to the PM’s “foresightedness” and long-term vision for India, Shah announced that an ancient relic called “Sengol”, belonging to the Chola dynasty, would be placed in the new building. “Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru accepted the Sengol at around 10.45pm on August 14, 1947 through the Adhinam of Tamil Nadu; it was a sign of shift of power from Britishers to the people of our country,” he said.
The UK government on Tuesday announced new immigration curbs from January 2024 under which foreign postgraduate students, including Indians, on non-research courses will no longer be able to bring dependent family members to the country. In a written statement to the House of Commons, the Indian-origin UK home secretary Suella Braverman said: “The immigration statistics also highlighted an unexpected rise in the number of dependents coming to the UK alongside international students.” Meanwhile, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, he too of Indian origin, told ministers that the move would help bring migration down. Indian nationals in the UK have the second highest number of dependents, with an increase from 3,135 in 2019 to 38,990 in 2022, followed by students from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
The government has no records of the office expenditure incurred for the Justice G Rohini Commission for the sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes since September 2021, according to replies to RTI requests filed by the Hindu. The commission was set up in 2017 to sub-categorise the nearly 3,000 OBC caste groups and recommend a quota breakup among them. It was initially given 12 weeks to submit a report in this regard but has so far received 14 extensions – the latest in January.
The Indian Army has put its foot down over the restoration of patrolling rights on Depsang as the talks between India and China are underway for troop disengagement in eastern Ladakh both at the diplomatic and military levels. The New Indian Express reported, quoting army sources that the Indian stance on the stand-off points has remained consistent, that is, restoration of status quo ante as of April 2020. “This entails the restoration of patrolling rights to the traditional patrolling points.”
Purchasing power, not hot weather, determines people’s decision to buy air conditioners, an analysis of official data by the BusinessLine has found. The ownership divide is stark between rural and urban India. According to NSS, Just 1.2% of rural households own ACs, while it is 12.6% for urban areas.
Sixteen years after a Dalit PhD student died by suicide at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, the atmosphere is still stifling for students from marginalised communities. Students that Scroll spoke to said that even now the IISc does not recognise that the campus has a caste problem and that for many students from marginalised communities, it remains a hostile space.
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One of the four cheetah cubs born in Kuno died on Tuesday, the Madhya Pradesh forest department said. The cub was weak, and the runt of the litter of four that cheetah Jwala gave birth to in the last week of March, it said in a press release. The cub is the fourth cheetah to die in Kuno since the big cats were translocated from Namibia and South Africa as part of the project to reintroduce the species in India.
A UP court on Wednesday acquitted senior Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan in a 2019 hate speech case. His conviction in the case last year led to Khan losing his assembly membership, resulting in a bypoll, which was won by the BJP’s Akash Saxena. Rampur additional district and sessions judge (MP/MLA court) Amitveer Singh set aside a lower court order that had convicted Khan in a hate speech case lodged in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and sentenced him to three years in prison.
Amid reports of fresh violence in curfew-bound Manipur, at least one person was reportedly killed and two others were injured in separate incidents that took place in Bishnupur district on Wednesday. Official reports said that miscreants belonging to one community torched three houses at Phoubakchao in Bishnupur district on Tuesday. In retaliation, some youths of another community burnt down four houses.
India appears to have slowed down on sequencing genomes of Covid-19 variants. The India SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG), a multi-laboratory, multi-agency, pan-India network tasked with sequencing, and keeping an eye out for new, threatening SARS-CoV-2 variants, has not published a single bulletin since March 27. Earlier, the agency would publish reports once a week. Bulletins provided information on the circulating variants of Covid-19, states that were seeing a surge in the contagious variants and information on whether SARS-CoV-2 variants linked to major outbreaks internationally had been found in India.
NDTV anchor and senior editor Sarah Jacob has resigned from the news channel, reports Newslaundry. Hers is the latest in the spurt of resignations since the channel was taken over by Gautam Adani. Jacob, who worked at NDTV for more than 20 years, also hosted the show “We the People”. Jacob’s resignation followed an NDTV clip going viral on social media. It showed Jacob anchoring a cringe-worthy news story on how Narendra Modi “shows respect towards women”. You can watch it here.
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