BJP to Soon Run Out of Muslim MPs; Can Far Right Audiences Save ‘Samrat Prithviraj’ From Financial Failure?
Two environment reports vanish from ministry website, yawning India-China gap revealed, Agnihotri's Oxbridge adventures, multiple Gyanvapi suits are strategic, religious meet ends in fight
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 1, 2022
The BJP will have no Muslim MPs since it did not renominate any of its three sitting Rajya Sabha MPs, nor give a ticket to any other Muslim candidate. Till the Budget Session, the BJP had three Muslim MPs, all in the Rajya Sabha. Minority Affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, party spokesperson Syed Zafar Islam and the controversial former editor MJ Akbar will complete their six-year tenures by July. The BJP has no Muslim MPs in the Lok Sabha either. Out of the party’s 1378 MLAs across 28 states, a rough count produced just one Muslim, Numal Momin in Assam.
Hate speech offences registered by the police under Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code may have shot up six times in the past six years but they are not being properly probed: The Hindu found that among select major crimes, hate speech cases had among the lowest conviction rates (20.2%) and the second highest police pendency rate (64.3%).
NDTV reports that a farm leader who is a witness in the Lakhimpur Kheri case has survived an attempt on his life. In the latest twist to the National Herald case, the Enforcement Directorate has summoned Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi for questioning about ‘money laundering’.
‘Urgent’ orders by the Assam government for PPE equipment to deal with Covid-19 went to firms owned by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s wife and his family's business associate in spite of prices quoted being above others, an investigation by Sangeeta Barooah Pisharoty, Arup Kalita and Gautam Pratim Gogoi has shown.
At an emergency meeting at the National Socialist Council of Nagalim-Isak-Muivah General Assembly, convened to decide a response to New Delhi’s refusal to accept its demands, the Naga rebel group has taken a strong stance, jeopardising talks with the Union government . NSCN-IM chairman Q Tuccu said: “How can we forfeit [the] Naga National Flag and Naga Constitution in the name of [a] Naga political solution? What belongs to us that defines our political identity can never be compromised for the sweet morsel in the name of Naga political settlement. We can not be made a laughing stock before the world by tamely succumbing to pressure or temptation.”
The Centre was ready to accept the Naga flag as a “cultural flag”, but this was turned down by the NSCN-IM last Thursday. The Centre has been holding separate talks with the NSCN-IM since 1997 and the Naga National Political Group (NNPG), a conglomerate of Naga groups, from 2017. It signed the Framework Agreement with NSCN-IM in August 2015 and an Agreed Position with NNPG in November 2017. The NNPGs are ready for settlement and they have already stated that contentious issues could be pursued post-settlement.
Yesterday, senior diplomats and officials of India and China met virtually and agreed to hold the next (16th) round of Corps Commanders’ talks at an early date. While the Indian statement said that this was “to achieve the objective of complete disengagement from all friction points along the LAC in the Western Sector in accordance with the existing bilateral agreements and protocols,” the Chinese statement said that this was “for the resolution of relevant issues along the LAC in the western sector”. That China is unwilling to agree even to the Indian formulation on what the talks are about shows a yawning gap. The last corps commander meet in March did not result in disengagement at PP15, Depsang or Demchok.
“At present, the border situation is stable in general. The two sides have been maintaining close communication through diplomatic and military channels,” said Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian (see below for the trade angle). “China always believes that the boundary question doesn’t represent the whole of China-India relations and we should put it in an appropriate position in bilateral relations and under effective control and management.”
The India Cellular and Electronics Association, which includes Apple, Xiaomi and other global tech giants, has called out India’s agencies for misunderstanding how patent fees work, following a dispute with Xiaomi. The phone company has said that it is being targeted because it is Chinese, and insists that payments abroad were patent royalty remittances. The Financial Times yesterday had a big spread on Xiaomi being hunted down in India for purported violations of the law. Non-business factors are at play.
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A Business Standard analysis shows that even after two years of the government banning Chinese apps, no company has come close to TikTok’s market share. Data from Comscore shows TikTok in May 2020 accounted for 41% of mobile internet users as its unique visitors. BIGO Live, also banned in India, had 7.8% share of the country’s total mobile, web and app audience, and Sharechat had 3.6%.
Turkish authorities denied clearance to an Indian wheat consignment over phytosanitary concerns, and the ship carrying the grain turned back on May 29. The shipment was arranged prior to India’s export ban.
In Gujarat, bad loans under the Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana rose by 69% in the past year. According to the State Level Banker’s Committee’s figures, banks in Gujarat have non-performing assets of Rs 957 crore, 9.13% of the total outstanding as of December 2021.
The government has raised the premium for its flagship insurance schemes for the poor, Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY). The premium rate of PMJJBY has been increased to Rs 1.25 per day, or Rs 330-436 annually, while the annual premium for PMSBY has been hiked from Rs 12 to Rs 20.
Archbishop of Hyderabad Anthony Poola represents the growing aspirations of Dalit Christians. He is the first Dalit to become a cardinal of the Catholic church, elevated by Pope Francis on Sunday. Speaking to The Quint, Poola was clear about his priorities: attacks on churches and preachers, and Scheduled Caste (SC) status for Dalit Christians. Under a 1950 Presidential Order, Dalit Christians and Muslims are not counted as SCs and thus not eligible for affirmative action benefits.
Same sex couple Adhila Nazrin and Fathima Noorah can now live together, as they wished despite their families’ opposition, after the Kerala High Court yesterday allowed them to do so, since they are both adults. It was hearing the habeas corpus petition filed by Noorah, 23. A native of Ernakulam district, 22-year-old Nazrin and Kozhikode native Noorah had been fighting their families for years to be able to live together, ever since they were together in Saudi Arabia, where they had gone to study.
More than 290 trees were uprooted in Delhi during Monday’s fierce thunderstorm and heavy rain. Nearly 215 trees were uprooted in MCD areas while the Lutyens’ zone lost at least 77.
A religious meet convened yesterday in Nashik, Maharashtra, to lay to rest a controversy about the birthplace of Lord Hanuman witnessed acrimonious scenes as two groups of sadhus argued angrily, prompting the police to restore order. The ‘dharmasabha’ started with differences over seating arrangements, and taunts led to escalating verbal clashes. The issue: spiritual leader Kishkindha Mathadhipati Swami Govindanand Saraswati’s recent claim that Kishkindha (believed to be near Hampi area in Karnataka) was the birthplace of Lord Hanuman and not Anjaneri near Nashik, as is widely believed.
More farce: The Kashmir Files director Vivek Agnihotri has called the Oxford Union “Hinduphobic”. Because the union has “cancelled” an event of the director, who is in Europe on a so-called humanity tour. Agnihotri has threatened to sue. He did speak at an event in Cambridge but the university was quick to clarify it had not invited him but merely rented a room for a ‘commercial’ event.
More tragedy than farce: The PM’s speech was played at a Mumbai local railway station, instead of train announcements. It raises the bar for authoritarian rulers everywhere.
Correction: In this section of Tuesday’s edition of The India Cable, it was suggested that TV hatemonger Suresh Chavhanke had accused Jamia Millia Islamia of ‘UPSC jihad’. He had, in fact, accused the institution’s Residential Coaching Academy, which trained 2022 UPSC topper Shruti Sharma and 22 others. The error is regretted.