As Trust Vote is Called, Maharashtra End Game Looms; CM Says Udaipur Killers Had 'Contacts Abroad', Invokes UAPA
Survey of RS MPs paints unflattering picture of crime and money, Poor digital learning in schools, Do women under-report crimes against themselves? Vijay Iyer picks his favourite music
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
June 29, 2022
Journalists should not be jailed for what they write, tweet and say, UN chief Antonio Guterres’ spokesperson has said on journalist and fact-checker Mohammed Zubair’s arrest. He asserted that people must be allowed to express themselves freely without the threat of harassment. The UN Human Rights office has come out in solidarity with Teesta Setalvad: “We are very concerned by the arrest and detention of #WHRD @TeestaSetalvad and two ex police officers and call for their immediate release. They must not be persecuted for their activism and solidarity with the victims of 2002,” Nobel laureate journalist Maria Ressa called the arrests “shocking” and said; “It’s death by a thousand cuts. The law is being weaponised. You need to mobilise your community, start with the journalists.” Pierre Larroutorou of the European Parliament has called the arrest of Teesta Setalvad and Mohammed Zubair “unconscionable”.
The shocking beheading of Udaipur tailor Kahaiya Lal has stunned Rajasthan and Section 144 has been imposed for a month. Internet connectivity has been suspended for 24 hours. The grusome act is said to be a response to Lal sharing BJP national spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s post insulting the Prophet. The two accused men, now under arrest, put up a video of the crime, identified themselves, posed with large knives and said they would kill Narendra Modi if they had the chance. The NIA, which has been despatched to Rajasthan, has declared it a terrorist incident, and the Rajasthan Police have filed charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The murder was “meant to spread terror”, Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot said, adding that information has surfaced that the killers have contacts abroad. Ministers have been quick to condemn, as they should, but this alacrity was not seen in other lynchings, including those concerning beef politics. The outrage highlights the tense atmosphere in the country. Gehlot has appealed for calm and said the guilty will be punished. He also asked the PM to appeal for peace and calm. Leading Islamic organisations have condemned the Udaipur killing and demanded justice for the victim.
Journalist Mohammed Zubair is likely to be taken to Bengaluru today, the first of his four days in police custody. He will need to be produced before a court on July 1. The original complainant, ‘Hanuman Bhakt’, has deleted his Twitter account and vanished. S/he was always anonymous, by the way, and had squeezed off just one tweet ― concerning Zubair – before being carried away by the wind.
Meanwhile, Zubair’s AltNews continues to expose fake news, the latest example being the claim made by the BJP folks that Teesta Setalvad’s great grandfather had given a ‘clean chit’ to General Dyer for the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre.
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The Maharashtra crisis continues with Shiv Sena rebels holed up in Guwahati’s Radisson Blu, but the BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis last night reached the governor’s office after meeting party chief JP Nadda in Delhi. There will be a floor test tomorrow and Eknath Shinde has said that he will be travelling to Mumbai. The BJP’s role in this sordid saga involving lavish five star hotel stays in a BJP state, and the tactical deployment of the Enforcement Directorate, the taxman and other Union government agencies is the country’s worst-kept secret. Fadnavis met the governor and according to NDTV, told him that Thackeray’s government is in a minority and a floor test is in order. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray too has reached out to the MLAs through a statement, urging them to come back and meet him in person.
The BJP is insisting the deputy speaker – against whom they have sought to move a notice – cannot conduct the proceedings. Former Lok Sabha Secretary General PDT Achary forcefully argues why the BJP’s claim is not correct.
Modi may have signed on to the G7’s democracy and freedom of expression statement yesterday though its contents run counter to his government’s actions but India appears to be distancing itself from the G7-led counter to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
Adani Copper Tubes is among 15 companies with a committed investment of Rs 1,368 crore, including LG Electronics and Wipro, selected by the Centre in the second round of production-linked incentive (PLI) for white goods. Six have committed Rs 968 crore to make AC components, and nine have committed Rs 460 crore for making LED light components. These 15 companies are supposed to have a total production worth Rs 25,583 crore over the next five years.
The flood situation in Assam is worsening, with nearly 3 lakh people affected in Silchar. Cremation, reports PTI, is a problem there due to the floods.
Three newly-elected MLAs of Tripura took the oath of office on Tuesday, but Chief Minister Manik Saha, who also won the June 23 by-election to become a legislator, was not sworn in though he was present. Saha is also in the Rajya Sabha and evidently delaying taking the oath as an MLA in order to vote in the President poll for the BJP candidate. A mockery of constitutional propriety, which has become commonplace.
Facing pushback globally, the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has extended the deadline for complying with its controversial rules for small enterprises and virtual private network (VPN) providers in India, till September 25. CERT-In has acknowledged that there was pressure from MSMEs, which sought more time.
The rupee continues to fall and hit another historic low yesterday at Rs 78.78 to a dollar. It remains weak despite support from a mind-boggling volume of currency. India’s high taxes, discouraging atmosphere and chaotic policy has prompted crypto exchange founders to leave. Co-founders of India’s largest cryptocurrency exchange WazirX, Nischal Shetty and Siddharth Menon, have moved to Dubai with their families.
Exporters are seeing a 10-20% order dip as fears of recession grow. Volumes in the leather and footwear industry have already dipped 15-20% this year, a manufacturer told Mint.
Opposition-ruled states have demanded an extension of the GST compensation period by five years at the GST Council meet which commenced yesterday. The states have cited a recent Supreme Court ruling ― decisions made by the Council are not binding and states need not stick to them (see Prime Number).
The Financial Times reports that the Walgreens Boots Alliance has abandoned the sale process for the Boots chain in the UK after the upheaval in credit markets resulted in bids below expectation. The only bid, which was non-binding, was of a consortium of Apollo and Reliance Industries, the conglomerate controlled by Mukesh Ambani.
A study in The Journal for Nature Conservation has reported the presence of plastics and other anthropogenic materials in elephant dung in the forests of Uttarakhand. The authors investigated samples collected from four sites and found that glass and metal pieces, rubber bands, clay pottery and tile fragments, too.
Most employees feel that showing more emotions at work makes them more productive and boosts their sense of belonging, according to a report by LinkedIn. More than three in four professionals in India feel more comfortable expressing their emotions at work post-pandemic, the report finds. It is based on a survey of 2,188 professionals conducted in May 25-31.
master tailors spend up to 35 hours on each shirt, “joining a tradition long dominated by European centres like Savile Row.” A basic white shirt will set you back Rs 25,000; for fancier fabric, expect to pay Rs 40,000 and up.
Actor Alia Bhatt has called out a report claiming Ranbir Kapoor will “pick” her up from UK: “I'm not a parcel,” she said. “Now, if you would excuse me… My shot is ready.”
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