As Karnataka HC Hears Hijab Case, Tension Mounts on Campuses; Speed of Green Legislation is Elephant in the Bill
PM’s Surreal Allegations In Parliament, Sensex tanking on selloff, UP & Bihar have lowest per capita income, new press accreditation rules problematic, how the Haryana lion was hunted to extinction
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
February 8, 2022
Today, the Karnataka High Court is hearing the petitions of five girls who question the restriction on wearing hijab. “Keep all emotions aside,” Justice Krishna S Dixit has urged. “I will go by the oath I have taken to the Constitution.” He said that for him, it is above the Bhagavad Gita. (Live updates from Bar & Bench) The chief minister has said: “Keep the peace.” It’s kind of veiled.
A standoff between students in saffron and blue shawls in Chikmagalur, exchanging slogans of “Jai Bheem” and “Jai Shri Ram” on campus, took the hijab controversy to a new level. Large numbers of Muslim women protested against the denial of their fundamental right to education in government institutions. Karnataka Congress President DK Shivakumar suggests that given the charged atmosphere in the state’s educational institutions, they should be closed for a week to restore law and order. Teaching can continue online. That’s what you do when viruses come visiting.
At PES College in Bangalore, a Muslim student in hijab was heckled by saffron-scarved boys shouting Jai Sri Ram:
Meet the girls from Udupi barred from classes for wearing the hijab. They are tired of their identities being reduced to the question of a garment. They dream of becoming a wildlife photographer or a pilot, but they haven’t been inside a classroom for over a month. L Hanumanthaiah of the Congress raised the matter in the Rajya Sabha today. The New York Times reports that as officials look away, hate speech in India nears dangerous levels.
Citing unspecified intelligence inputs and security concerns of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the Kerala High Court today upheld the ministry’s ban on Malayalam news channel MediaOne. The channel will now go to the Supreme Court.
Instead of doing a basic fact check by looking at their own archives, several leading newspapers have simply regurgitated PM Modi’s speech in the Lok Sabha, in which he made outlandish attacks on the Opposition. He mocked India’s first PM Nehru for apparently blamed inflation on the Korean War though the Reserve Bank of India has documented the conflict’s price impact on India and the world. He accused the Congress of giving train tickets to returning migrants from UP and Bihar, whom he blamed for the spread of Covid. Modi forgot that BJP states too had scrambled to set up free transport, but not before a Partition-like exodus followed the needlessly dramatic and unplanned lockdown he unilaterally announced with four hours notice. Self-praise for ‘Make in India’ is completely contrary to facts and serious charges about the Budget were avoided. Here is one fact-check.
The Delhi High Court has granted two weeks to the Centre to state its stand on petitions seeking criminalisation of marital rape, following its submission that it is neither for nor against striking down immunity granted to husbands under the Indian Penal Code. Either the legislature or the courts must address the question. In its 2017 affidavit, the Centre had said that criminalising marital rape could destabilise the institution of marriage and become an easy tool for harassing husbands.
An Uttarakhand sessions court granted bail to Yati Narsinghanand, mahamandaleshwar of the Juna Akhara, in a case related to genocidal speeches made at Haridwar in December. The judge stressed that bail is the rule and jail is the exception. Narsinghanand had moved the sessions court after a chief judicial magistrate rejected his bail application, noting his criminal history and that his speech could spread communal violence.
The Kremlin has confirmed that Pakistan PM Imran Khan will visit Russia after his Beijing visit. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, “Indeed, arrangements are being made for such a visit. We will announce its date in a timely fashion.” A defence deal with Russia does not sound good at all.
At a media briefing in Beijing yesterday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian was asked if fielding Fabao, the PLA regimental commander injured at the June 2020 Galwan clash, in the Olympics Games Torch Relay, went against China’s view that Olympics should build bridges. Zhao said, “Torchbearers of the Beijing Winter Olympics are broadly representative and they meet relevant standards. We hope relevant sides can view it in an objective and rational light.” He did not explain what those “standards” were.
At Rs 65,338, Uttar Pradesh has the second-lowest per capita net state domestic product in the country. Is that why it is not mentioned in the main body of a reply in Parliament yesterday, but in the annexures? The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation told the Rajya Sabha yesterday that per capita income, measured in terms of per capita net state domestic product, ranges from Rs 46,292 (the lowest, in Bihar) to Rs 4,55,654 (in Goa) at current prices in 2020-21. Watch this report on Kanpur, once an industrial centre. Now, tannery industries are feeling the heat of demonetisation, the slaughter ban, GST and the pandemic.
Fitch Ratings has cautioned that India has little fiscal leeway to respond to possible shocks to growth, with the lowest investment grade credit rating with a negative outlook. “India’s public debt/GDP ratio, at about 87% in FY21, is well above the median of around 60% for ‘BBB’-rated sovereigns. We revised the outlook to ‘negative’, from ‘stable’, in June 2020, partly owing to our assumptions about the impact of the pandemic on public finance metrics,” it said.
Arvind Kejriwal, whose party is contesting Assembly elections in four States, has not used the word ‘Modi’ in any of the 38 speeches he has made since poll dates were announced on January 8, except for two press conferences, The Hindu reckons. In one, Kejriwal was replying to a question about “Chhota Modi” and said nothing about Modi himself. In the second, it was a remark from the past and not an attack on Modi. In his former self, Kejriwal had called Modi a “shameless dictator”, “coward”, “psychopath” and “hazardous to Delhi”. But for the past