Almost 4,500 Custodial Deaths Since 2020, With UP Leading; Government’s Sharp Instrument ED Is Caged Parrot That Can’t Get Anyone To Sing
More food inflation if monsoon remains slow, Ukraine claims Indian opinionators furthering ‘Russian propaganda’, Yasin Malik on hunger strike pens tell-all will, and is nonalignment back in vogue?
A newsletter from The Wire & Galileo Ideas | Contributors: MK Venu, Seema Chishti, Siddharth Varadarajan, Sidharth Bhatia, Sushant Singh and Tanweer Alam | Editor: Pratik Kanjilal
Snapshot of the day
July 27, 2022
An Ahmedabad sessions court yesterday adjourned till tomorrow the bail hearing of activist Teesta Setalvad and former state director general of police (DGP) RB Sreekumar, accused of fabricating evidence to frame innocent (and powerful) people in connection with the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat when Narendra Modi was chief minister.
Aakash Hassan, a Kashmiri journalist who has reported for several international media organisations in the past, was stopped at Delhi airport on Tuesday night and prevented from boarding a flight to Colombo where he was going to report on the ongoing turmoil in Sri Lanka. He is the fourth Kashmiri journalist to be stopped from leaving without any reason in recent months.
The pace of road construction has fallen by over 14% in the April-June quarter of FY23. It sputtered to 1,966 km, slower than even the 2,284 km built at the peak of the second wave of the pandemic, the latest Ministry of Road Transport and Highways data shows. Battered by the pandemic and a long monsoon last year, construction had fallen over 20%, but it’s worse this year.
There have been 4,484 custodial deaths in India since 2020 (1,940 in 2020-21 and 2,544 in 2021-22) ― six a day on average ― according to figures shared in Parliament yesterday. UP leads the list of shame with 501 deaths in two years.
A 15-year-old boy in Madaiya village, Kannauj, was allegedly locked in a room and beaten to death by three teachers who accused him of stealing a watch. Dilshan alias Raja, a Class IX student, succumbed to his injuries in a Kanpur hospital.
The Supreme Court on Monday sought the Haryana government’s response to a petition questioning state laws which can prevent a Scheduled Caste candidate from being elected sarpanch ― Section 9(5) of the Haryana Panchayati Raj (Second Amendment) Act, 2020 and Haryana Panchayati Raj Election (Amendment) Rules, 2021. They lay down that an SC candidate can be sarpanch only if SCs form more than 10% of the panchayat’s population. Their legality will be tested on August 11.
In dry Gujarat, ruled by the BJP for over two decades, 36 have died after drinking spurious alcohol in villages in Ahmedabad, Surendranagar and Botad since Monday. Five deaths in Dhandhuka in Ahmedabad district are under investigation and are currently recorded as accidental deaths. The spurious liquor, known as lattha in local slang, was supplied to over 100 people. At least 51 are still in hospital and the death toll is expected to rise. The Gujarat government attributed the deaths to “chemical poisoning”. The Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), Gandhinagar, has detected 98.71-98.99% of toxic methanol in samples.
This month, India will overtake China to become the top importer of seaborne Russian crude oil, consuming 1 million barrels a day (b/d). Urals grades accounted for 880,000 b/d in the first 25 days, according to energy analytics company Vortexa in London.
India may face higher food price-led inflation if the monsoon does not pick up pace and coverage. Monsoon activity is currently 11% above normal, in the key kharif sowing month. However, rains have been geographically uneven, concentrated in central and South India, trailing in the northwest and 15% below normal in the east and Northeast.
Having received both the Infrastructure Provider and Internet Service Provider (ISP) licences from the Union government, the Kerala Fibre Optic Network (KFON) is in the last mile. The ambitious flagship project of the Pinarayi Vijayan government was launched on February 15, 2021 to provide Internet connections to 20 lakh below poverty line (BPL) households in the state to bridge the digital divide. This month, over 80% of the network is in place and around 26,000 government officers have been connected.
Karnataka’s anti-conversion ordinance of May 2022 faces a constitutional challenge in the High Court. A collective of Christian missionaries argue that several provisions of the Karnataka Right to Freedom of Religion Ordinance violate rights guaranteed under the Articles 14, 15, 19, 21, 25, and 30 of the Constitution. According to their petition admitted on Friday, it affects the right to equality before the law, right to freedom of conscience, the right to profess, propagate and practise one’s religion, the right to freedom of speech and expression, the right to carry out a trade or business of one’s choice, and the right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions. It also strips away protection from discrimination. According to the writ, the ordinance even violates the right to life and personal liberty.
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In remarks made after inaugurating a three-day training camp of the BJP’s national Minority Morcha on Monday, Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar said that when “East Germany and West Germany can unite (sic), the merger of Pakistan and Bangladesh with India can also be possible,” according to a press release.
The Centre has dropped two proposed surveys on employment generated by professionals like doctors and lawyers at their establishments and on employment generated in the transport sector. Both were to be conducted by the Labour Bureau, under the Labour Ministry, but the Finance Ministry refused to sanction funds. Last year, the Labour Ministry had decided to undertake five all-India surveys on migrant workers, domestic workers, employment generated by professionals and employment generated in the transport sector, and an All-India Quarterly Establishment-based Employment Survey (Aqees). The migrant worker survey and Aqees started in March last year while the survey on domestic workers kicked off in November.
South Africa’s top prosecutor has cautioned that the process to extradite two of the three India-born Gupta brothers from the UAE for their alleged role in a high-profile corruption scandal could take months. Shamila Batohi, head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), and Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola confirmed that the agency has submitted a formal extradition application for Atul and Rajesh to the Central Authority in the UAE. Along with their elder brother Ajay, they exiled themselves to Dubai when the net closed in three years ago, for siphoning off billions of rands from state enterprises by misusing their proximity to former president Jacob Zuma.
A few students of Delhi University’s BR Ambedkar College have alleged that they were forced by the principal to change the Urdu name of their theatre society. Principal RN Dubey denies it. The society named ‘Ilhaam (revelation)’, was allegedly renamed ‘Aarambh (beginning)’ on Monday.
Is a hypersensitive Ukrainian government equating debate and criticism with misinformation? The Centre for Countering Disinformation (CCD), a subsidiary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, has published a list of commentators whom it accuses of promoting “Russian propaganda”. The list included three three Indians, including the former chair of the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) former Indian ambassador to Russia PS Raghavan, senior journalist Saeed Naqvi and Sam Pitroda, former advisor to PMs Rajiv Gandhi and Manmohan Singh. Raghavan is accused of promoting the “pro-Russian narrative” that “Ukraine against Russia is like NATO against Russia”, reflecting Moscow’s stance that Ukraine is doing the bidding of Western military powers. Pitroda said that the “world should negotiate with Putin”. Naqvi said the Ukrainian army’s “success” was an “illusion”, and that the West was “waging a propaganda campaign” against the Russian president.
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