Arunachal BJP MP Confirms Chinese Village In India; The Trouble With Nehru

Ahmedabad moves against non-veg food, Saurabh Kirpal made judge, 1,507 detained under UAPA every year, Mannu Bhandari dead, anti-Bollywood tweets have ecosystem, and E coli biocomputer solves a maze

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

November 16, 2021    

Pratik Kanjilal

Soaring wholesale price inflation should have rung alarm bells yesterday. Now, domestic two-wheeler sales have recorded the second lowest level in seven years. Likely to end the year with a 3-6% decline, CRISIL reads this as a negative economic signal.

The government has amended the Fundamental Rules, 1922, leaving the foreign secretary out of its ambit. The post enjoys a two-year term. The reason for the change is unclear. 

Between 2014 and 2020, 10,552 people were arrested and 253 were convicted under the UAPA. On average, 1,507 people were nabbed each year and an average of 36 people were convicted, NCRB data shows. 

The quality of the discourse remains low and the impunity of mobs is high. Senior Congress leader, former union Law Minister and Minister for External Affairs Salman Khurshid’s house in Uttarakhand’s Nainital was vandalised and set on fire by a Hindutva mob in response to his book on Ayodhya, in which Hindutva has been compared with Islamist fundamentalist groups like ISIS and Boko Haram. The mob has conclusively proved his point. Khurshid put up pictures of the damage caused by the fire.

From today, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation will ban stalls and handcarts selling non-vegetarian food in public places. Committee Chairperson Devang Dani said that complaints of a “bad smell” were made by morning walkers, those visiting religious spaces and “parents, as these were leaving a negative impact on the minds of young children.” The ban applies to the whole gamut ― chicken, fish and eggs.

Two journalists arrested for covering religiously motivated violence in Tripura secured bail yesterday. The New York Times terms their arrest as “the latest in a series of efforts to punish the media for news that casts the ruling Hindu nationalist party in a critical light.”

Arunachal Pradesh BJP MP Tapir Gao told The Daily Telegraph that China has built houses on Indian land. “China has occupied our territory… They have built more than 100 houses,” Gao said, referring to a new village on the banks of the Tsari Chu in Upper Subansiri district. “China lures locals with better living facilities so that they come to live in the disputed border areas and create permanent settlements. By doing so, China grabs our land and claims sovereign rights on the disputed land,” said Konchok Stanzin, a councillor in the Ladakh border region. 

Almost 20 months after the pandemic grounded international travel, India yesterday resumed quarantine-free entry for foreign travellers from 99 countries which have agreed to mutual recognition of Covid-19 vaccination certificates. Travellers from these countries, including the US, the UK, France, Germany, Australia, the Netherlands and Russia in ‘Category A’, have to submit a self-declaration form on the Air Suvidha portal before travelling, and upload a negative RT-PCR report. 

India has permitted the export of 5 crore doses of Covovax to Indonesia. Produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII), jab is not yet approved for emergency use in India. SII had sought grant of emergency use authorisation in May, but approval is still awaited.

In “a turning point for the LGBTQ community,” the Supreme Court Collegium has approved the elevation of senior advocate Saurabh Kirpal as a judge in the Delhi High Court. Following his recommendation by the Delhi High Court in 2018, the government had raised several objections and the collegium had deferred its decision four times.

More than 120 people have tested positive for Zika in the last three weeks in Kanpur, which has appeared in UP for the first time. The actual case load could be higher, since Zika is often mistaken for flu, reports The Daily Telegraph. “But, in 10% of cases it can be fatal, causing paralysis and weakness. Although the first cases were reported in Uganda in the 1950s, the link to birth defects was made during an outbreak in Brazil in 2015-16. At least six pregnant women have tested positive in UP, where “health services in India’s poorest state are scarce.”

An open letter by the Constitutional Conduct Group, a group of former all-India civil servants, to Law Minister Kiren Rijiju has drawn his attention to India’s plummeting rankings across key global indices.

Last week, India and Sri Lanka revived their Parliamentary Friendship Association, with Minister Chamal Rajapaksa, the eldest of the Rajapaksa brothers, as its president. 

A study by Joyojeet Pal of Michigan University on Twitter activity after the arrest of Aryan Khan, the son of Shah Rukh Khan, found interesting patterns ― anti-Bollywood tweeting has a “functioning ecosystem”, which is clearly identifiable.

The Amravati police have arrested former Maharashtra minister and BJP leader Anil Bonde along with other party members in connection with communal violence over the weekend. The police are also on the lookout for BJP leader Praveen Pote, who is missing.

The number of Indians studying in the US decreased by nearly 13% in 2020-21, according to the annual report of the Institute of International Education. US officials attribute it to the pandemic.

​​An E coli biocomputer solves a maze by sharing the work. Genetically engineered bacteria, rigged up as a distributed computing system, is helping synthetic biology. Technology Review reports on the study led by biophysicist Sangram Bagh at the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics in Kolkata, as a fun “toy” problem, “but it also serves as a proof of principle for distributed computing among cells. If this approach works at larger scales, it could unlock applications pertaining to everything from pharmaceuticals to agriculture to space travel.”

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