China Demands 15-20Km Buffer Zone Inside Indian Territory on Depsang; Opposition Parties the Real Target of ₹2,000 Note Withdrawal
Did PM’s promise to Zelensky mean anything? Opposition may boycott new parliament opening, BBC’s Modi docu to be screened in Oz parliament, Times Group splits
A newsletter from The Wire | Founded by MK Venu, Seema Chishti, Siddharth Varadarajan, Sushant Singh, Sidharth Bhatia, Tanweer Alam and Pratik Kanjilal | With inputs from Kalrav Joshi | Editor: Vinay Pandey
Snapshot of the day
May 22, 2023
The Chinese army has demanded the creation of a 15-20km buffer zone inside India-claimed lines on the strategic Depsang Plains as a precondition for disengagement, refusing India’s offer of a 3-4km demilitarised strip. “The Chinese want a buffer zone with a width of 15-20km inside Indian territory as part of the disengagement process from the Depsang Plains,” an official from the intelligence wing of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police was quoted as saying by the Telegraph.
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met at Hiroshima on Saturday on the sidelines of the G7 summit, Zelenskyy invited Modi to visit Kyiv and urged the Indian prime minister to “join the implementation” of his official peace formula. Modi told Zelenskyy: “I want to assure you that India – and personally myself – will certainly do everything that is necessary to resolve this crisis.”
Zelenskyy’s formula includes restoration of Ukraine’s borders with Russia, withdrawal of Russian troops and price restrictions on Russia’s energy resources. Despite Modi’s promise to do “everything”, the Indian readout on the meeting made no mention of Zelensky seeking India’s support for his peace plan or the invitation to visit the Ukrainian capital as some world leaders, including the US president, have done. Modi just “conveyed India’s clear support for dialogue and diplomacy to find a way forward”.
Trinamool Congress MP Jawahar Sircar and several others tweeted this short clip of Modi looking lonely and lost at the G7 summit.
Who is the complicated process to hand in ₹2,000 notes meant to target? In all likelihood, the opposition parties. What will a political party do if it has a large stash of, say, ₹100 crore or ₹200 crore? It will be very difficult to withdraw such large sums through proxy individuals within such a short span of time. It cannot deposit the money either, because funds will be needed for several crucial state elections in the last quarter of 2023. The BJP will have a natural advantage as it has arranged for itself the bulk of the funding via electoral bonds in a non-transparent manner, says MK Venu.
A khap “mahapanchayat” on Sunday decided that khap groups would hold a “women’s panchayat” in support of the wrestlers protesting against Wrestling Federation of India chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, who has been accused by seven female wrestlers, including a minor, of sexual harassment. The panchayat will be held in front of the new parliament building on May 28, the day the newly built edifice is inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi.
Meanwhile, the protesting wrestlers said they were denied entry at Feroz Shah Kotla for the match between Delhi Capitals and Chennai Super Kings despite holding valid tickets. Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia were among the wrestlers who arrived at the venue wearing white T-shirts that read, “I support wrestlers.” Phogat said: “They told us it would be a security issue, and they’d seat us in a VIP area. We told them, ‘No, we want to watch the game from the seats we have tickets for.’” The Delhi police denied the allegations.
The Congress and other opposition parties are said to be mulling a boycott of the inauguration of the new parliament building by the prime minister on the birth anniversary of Hindutva ideologue VD Savarkar. Most of the opposition parties have opposed the scheduled inauguration by Modi and argued that President Droupadi Murmu should have been invited to open the building as head of state. Interestingly, the Congress the avoiding criticism of the government for holding the function on Savarkar’s birth anniversary.
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In 2018, SEBI, in its legislative capacity, did away with the provision of dealing with an “opaque structure” and requiring a foreign portfolio investor to disclose every ultimate natural person at the end of the chain of every owner of economic interest with the FPI”. This, according to the panel appointed by the Supreme Court to look into the Adani-Hindenburg controversy, is the reason why SEBI drew a blank in this case.
The findings – in fact, non-findings – of the Supreme Court-appointed panel have been explained in a lucid manner by Andy Mukherjee in this thread.
The BJP government in Manipur has further extended the ban on mobile and broadband internet by five days, citing fresh reports of arson and burning of houses. The ban was first imposed on May 3 when communal violence broke out in Churachandpur district and spilled over to several other districts. At least 73 people have died and over 35,0000 have been displaced.
Coinciding with Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Australia, a screening of the BBC documentary India: The Modi Question will be held in Australia’s Parliament in Canberra on Wednesday. Australia’s Parliament offers several of its spaces for hire, and the screening is a wholly private enterprise organised by diaspora groups along with Amnesty International.
Salman Rushdie is working on a book about the attack that robbed him of his right eye, he said in one of his first public appearances since he was repeatedly stabbed onstage at a literary festival in upstate New York last year. Speaking at the FT Weekend Festival in Washington, the novelist, 75, said he was still “a little beaten up” but “basically fine”.
Asked how India was doing nearly 76 years after Independence, Rushdie said: “To be truthful, I think India is not doing very well. Certainly in the area of religious tolerance, personal freedoms, journalistic independence and so on, it is doing pretty badly.”
Samir and Vineet Jain, the brothers who own Times Group, have reached a settlement to split the media conglomerate’s assets between them. Samir Jain, the elder brother, will get control of the entire print division, including the Times of India and the Economic Times along with their online editions. Vineet Jain will get the broadcast arm of the group, the radio business and other divisions like Filmfare and Femina along with their respective events and online editions. Because the print business of the group is much bigger in terms of revenue, Vineet is likely to receive a cash payout of at least ₹3,500 crore from his elder brother to balance out the partition.
Anti-communalism activist and human rights defender Teesta Setalvad was honoured with an empty chair at the 55th International Writers for Peace Committee Meeting in Bled, Slovenia, the Telegraph reported. Setalvad has been a fierce critic of Narendra Modi’s role during the 2002 communal violence against Muslims in Gujarat; he was the chief minister of the state at that time.
Indian archery got its newest hero in Prathamesh Jawkar, 19, as he matched world number one Mike Schloesser of the Netherlands arrow to arrow to win a thrilling final encounter 149-148 to grab the gold medal in the men’s individual compound event at the Archery World Cup Stage II in Shanghai, the Times of India reported. Watch his concentration.
The Supreme Court will hear on May 26 a plea by Trinamool Congress general secretary Abhishek Banerjee challenging the Calcutta high court order allowing the ED and the CBI to question him in connection with the West Bengal teacher recruitment scam.
Tracing its descent from the Mughal era, zari-zardozi has long been a source of livelihood for a majority of the Muslim population in Bareilly, UP. However, for the past few years, this shimmery domestic industry has been in the dark, leaving thousands of workers in the city in gloom, reports Outlook.
Last week, Kaneez Fatima of the Congress became the only Muslim woman to be elected to the Karnataka assembly. She is only the second Muslim woman MLA in Karnataka, ever. She tells the Quint that the Congress will remove the hijab ban and bring back the reservation for Muslims which was done away with by the previous BJP government.
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