Army Officer Sentenced to Life Imprisonment for Fake Encounter in J&K; Opposition Unity – Now You See It, Now You Don't
Outcry as Mamata arrests Cong spox, entire political science in animal kingdom, jeers & cheers for Lavrov in Delhi, Foxconn or Foxcon, asks K’taka opposition, salary-mukt Kashmiri Pandits end protest
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
March 6, 2023
A military court has sentenced to life imprisonment Captain Bhoopendra Singh of the 62 Rashtriya Rifles for murdering three civilians. Singh “exceeded powers vested under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act”, gunning down three innocent young men in Rajouri, J&K, in July 2020, and passing them off as militants.
About the story that the Modi government prevailed upon Colombo to grant Adani a wind power project, the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister confirms: “We were keen on an Indian investor to come in, so who the Indian investor was for the Indian government and the authorities to decide and choose and send it to us… For us, there is absolutely nothing to worry (about), because it is a transparent process and a government to government kind of a project. And then, of course, G2G doesn’t mean that the government gets involved and is doing business. It means the government identifies the entities. So that is the process which had been followed in Adani’s coming into Sri Lanka.”
The Wall Street Journal reports on the recent meeting between French President Macron and Ukrainian President Zelenskyy about a possible peace conference in Paris: “…the Ukrainian leader said he would only attend such an event if President Biden and Xi Jinping of China were included, officials said.” India’s establishment, keen to insert itself into the Ukraine conflict, should be concerned that its many controversial abstentions in the UN have not led to the role it is trying hard to sell to voters.
"The war which we are trying to stop and which was launched against us using the… Ukrai… Ukrainian people…" said Sergei Lavrov in Delhi on Friday – a lie so outrageous that the invited audience at India’s officially sponsored Raisina Dialogue burst out laughing.
But the audience was actively nonaligned. Lavrov’s taunt to his host on stage – “Have you been interested in these years, what is going on in Iraq, Afghanistan? Have you been asking the US and NATO whether they are certain of what they are doing?” – drew applause from the crowd.
In a series of tweets yesterday, the police said former PM Imran Khan is “avoiding” arrest after officers arrived at his home in Lahore to arrest him, and that a superintendent had “gone to the room”, but the 70-year-old was not there. Khan is wanted for failing to appear to face charges of using his office to sell state gifts. He has been banned from Pakistan TV. Supporters say the arrest is intended to roil the waters and delay polls, which he has been demanding since he was ousted.
Sounding a serious warning, former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan has said that with subdued private sector investment, high interest rates and slowing global growth, India is “dangerously close” to the Hindu rate of growth. ‘Hindu rate of growth’, a dig taking off from the market term ‘secular growth’ (growth unaffected in the short term), was coined by Chicago school economist Raj Krishna in 1978 to describe low Indian growth rates of about 4% in the 1960s and 1970s. GDP in the third quarter (October-December) of the current fiscal slowed to 4.4% from 6.3% in the second quarter (July-September) and 13.2% in the first quarter (April-June).
Life is beautiful at the top of the K-curve but R Nagaraj says “well-documented evidence shows a fall in employment levels (with adverse changes in its composition), a rise in the rate of absolute poverty in rural India, and deterioration in the rate of malnutrition. Never in the past seven decades has India witnessed such an economic reversal,” said the economist at a recent lecture in Telangana, reproduced in The India Forum, ringing alarm bells once more.
Following the viral video of a man from Villupuram, Tamil Nadu, roughing up north Indian migrant workers, more videos of unrelated violence were circulated and passed off as attacks in Tamil Nadu on Hindi-speaking people. Fact-checkers exposed the dangerous fake narrative before it triggered violence. Two journalists of Dainik Bhaskar and a BJP spokesperson may be arrested. Tamil Nadu BJP IT chief K Annamalai has been booked for spreading enmity.
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In the story of the Union government’s action against the Centre for Policy Research (CPR), a name hovers between the lines – Adani. Following an income tax notice to the liberal think tank, the Ministry of Home Affairs suspended the Foreign Contribution Act (FCRA) licence of CPR. The IT notice began with an accusation about the “involvement of CPR in Hasdeo [Chhattisgarh] protests through Jana Abhivyakti Samajik Vikas Sanstha”, and listed several objections. The notice mentioned that the IT department summoned JASVS trustee Alok Shukla and retrieved WhatsApp and Signal messages from his phone. Significantly, Shukla recorded his statement before the IT department on September 22 last year, just a fortnight after the department’s investigation wing carried out a ‘survey’ of CPR on September 7. What the IT department doesn’t mention even once in the 33-page notice is that Hasdeo is the site of a massive Adivasi movement against the Adani Group for over a decade. Several news reports have underlined irregularities in Adani’s coal mining operations in the area. Shukla, who is also convenor of Hasdeo Bachao Andolan, is a prominent face of the Adivasi-led protests.
In Kerala, police inspected the regional office of Asianet News channel on Sunday, investigating the telecast of a “fake” interview of a teenage girl from north Kerala, who was presented as a victim of sexual assault under the influence of drugs. The search of several hours interrupted news operations. A case had been registered against the news channel under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and Indian Penal Code. Executive Editor Sindhu Sooryakumar, Resident Editor Shajahan and reporter Noufal Bin Yusaf are among those booked on charges of making false documents and hatching a criminal conspiracy.
The J&K High Court has allowed PDP leader Waheed-ur-Rehman Parra, who was arrested in 2021 under the UAPA, to take the oath as a District Development Council (DDC) member in south Kashmir’s Pulwama. Considered to be close to PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, Parra won the elections in 2020 but could not be sworn in because he was arrested by the National Investigation Agency in November 2021. Granted bail on January 9, 2022, he was re-arrested by the J&K Police’s Kashmir counterinsurgency wing in another case lodged in 2020. In May 2022, the J&K High Court granted bail to Parra.
Angry Christian worshippers claim the Bajrang Dal attacked their church and disrupted worship on February 19 in Siddharthnagar, but the UP state police refuses to file an FIR.
In Meghalaya, Khasi groups have threatened violence if Conrad Sangma, who is Garo, becomes chief minister again. The ethnic divide has again reared its head during elections, reports Scroll.
Keezhadi on the Vaigai river in Tamil Nadu, which has yielded unique artefacts of an early Sangam-era civilisation, now has a museum, opened by CM MK Stalin yesterday. The exhibits, discovered since 2014-15, underscored the need to re-evaluate the prehistory of the entire subcontinent.
The Morning Context has an expose on yoga businessman Ramdev’s latest sales pitch in Goa. He isn’t a qualified ayurvedic practitioner and a lot of Patanjali drugs aren’t subjected to clinical trials. But he makes definitive claims, promising a “100% cure” and takes potshots at modern medicine ― and goes unchallenged.
Australian cricket writer Gideon Haigh, whose observations have shaped the craft and taken forward the tradition of CLR James, makes astute observations in a recent podcast: BCCI has become “a part of the propaganda wing of the BJP”, and that is why in the nationalistic paradigm, “India cannot lose”. He also says that Modi behaves like “a national emperor”.
At the Narendra Modi Stadium in Motera in Ahmedabad, “an allocation of two small blocks” has irked the Bharat Army, a bunch of aggressive cricket fans irked by curbs on spectators because Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Albanese will watch the match on Day One.
Shah Rukh Khan’s Pathaan has become the all-time number one Hindi film, earning Rs 1,028 crore worldwide since its release in January, said Yash Raj Films. “Net collections in India stand at Rs 529.96 crore (Hindi: Rs 511.70 crore, dubbed: Rs 18.26 crore) The total worldwide gross is an incredible Rs 1,028 crore (India gross: Rs 641.50 crore, overseas: Rs 386.50 crore),” YRF said.
Deccan Herald reports that fear has gripped Indian techies “as layoffs claim even star performers.”