Amit Shah Cold To Pak, Warms To Valley Youth; Mohammed Shami Hounded

UAPA for celebrating Pak T20 win, Aryan Khan case opens cans of worms, ‘toolkit’ probe at dead end, BPCL sale faces headwinds, La Nina to bring winter chill, and gobar gas returns, via Mexico

A newsletter from The Wire & Galileo Ideas | Contributors: MK Venu, Seema Chishti, Siddharth Varadarajan, Sidharth Bhatia, Sushant Singh and Tanweer Alam | Editor: Pratik KanjilalSnapshot of the day

October 26, 2021    

Pratik Kanjilal

There are reports of more activity by China’s People’s Liberation Army in key sectors on the eastern front. The Indian Army has detected more patrols, including long-range and area domination patrols, more visits by senior commanders and construction in Lungro La, Zimithang and Bum La — areas “of high historical significance in the context of Chinese aggression,” according to the Hindustan Times.

The probe against climate activist Disha Ravi for being a ‘key conspirator’ in the trumped-up toolkit case has stalled, with neither Google nor Zoom responding to investigators’ queries. No chargesheet has been filed and Delhi Police are considering a closure report.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah has ruled out dialogue with Pakistan on Kashmir. Referring to National Conference president and MP Farooq Abdullah’s recent suggestion to engage with Pakistan, Shah said, “Dr Farooq Sahib has suggested that I should talk to Pakistan. If I will talk, I will talk to people of J&K and its youth only, no one else.” A Hindu editorial says that “to pretend that there is no political question in Kashmir to be discussed or resolved is reckless.”

J&K Police have registered two cases against students of Government Medical College Srinagar and Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences for “celebrating” Pakistan’s T20 victory. Provisions of Sec 13 of UAPA, an anti-terrorism law, have been invoked. Article 14 reports that after subduing the mainstream media, the government has turned its attention to independent journalists. Faced with raids, threats and detentions, they are self-censoring, avoiding stories critical of the government and fearful of even protesting against police harassment.

At an all-party meeting, Punjab has decided to call an Assembly session to protest the extended jurisdiction of the BSF. It will be the first border state to formally oppose the move, which infringes on federal rights.

The Congress has demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee to probe Facebook. The Opposition party says it is now ‘Fakebook’.

Decriminalising homosexuality has nothing to do with same-sex marriage, and a valid marriage can take place only between a biological man and a biological woman, the Union government told the Delhi High Court. It was hearing several petitions seeking legal recognition of same sex marriages under the Special Marriage Act and Foreign Marriage Act.

India’s infant mortality rate has dropped to 30, but the decline has slowed in the last five years, according to the Sample Registration System. Grave disparities exist ― Kerala has an IMR equal to that of the US while Madhya Pradesh fares worse than Yemen and Sudan.

Bangalore Archbishop Rev Peter Machado says that the state government’s proposed law on ‘forcible religious conversions’ would become a tool for fringe elements. He said: “The government’s proposal is unnecessary as it would affect religious harmony. It is arbitrary as it tends to target only the Christian community.”

Want to film in Madhya Pradesh? Get your script cleared by the district collector before applying for permission to shoot. The direction follows an attack on a film set by the Bajrang Dal. “Objectionable scenes”, including those that may hurt “religious sentiments”, will be screened. 

Under attack from the Congress for his friendship with Pakistani journalist Aroosa Alam, former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh released her pictures with politicians and actors on his Facebook page. “Unfortunately, visas are banned at the moment between India and Pakistan. Otherwise, I would have invited her again,” he said. Expect no reaction from his new-found friends in the BJP, who are normally ready to outrage over anything Pakistan.

The middle name of US Vice President Kamala Harris, in her birth certificate, was Iyer. It was later changed to Devi, Chidanand Rajghatta writes in Kamala Harris: Phenomenal Woman, to be released later this month.

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