CJI Shoots Down Centre's Manipur Violence Whataboutery; Telangana to Raze Iconic Osmania General Hospital Heritage Building
What kind of UCC does India need? Govt procurement slowing Indian science, Gujarat cancels Muharram holiday, politics turning away from press to influencers, 2000 year old curry found in Vietnam
A newsletter from The Wire | Founded by MK Venu, Seema Chishti, Siddharth Varadarajan, Sushant Singh, Sidharth Bhatia and Tanweer Alam | With inputs from Kalrav Joshi | Editor: Pratik Kanjilal
Snapshot of the day
July 31, 2023
The government, which doesn’t like facts to get in the way of a good story, has suspended KS James, director of the International Institute for Population Sciences, which produces the National Family Health Surveys (NFHS), among others, on its behalf. NFHS-5 had busted the PM’s claims on the elimination of open defecation and Ujjwala Yojana, and found that anaemia is rising. The government has a troubled relationship with data ― it had trashed its own Consumption Expenditure Survey and held back unemployment data before the 2019 general election, in which it bagged a second term. And it has no stomach for the Census, the basic database for planning.
The Chief Justice of India, DY Chandrachud, has squashed the whataboutery that is all around us ever since a video showing Kuki women in Manipur being molested by a mob of men surfaced this month. Prime Minister Modi had himself sought to play down the significance of the horrendous incident by speaking of sexual incidents in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, and the BJP is also insisting a case in opposition-ruled West Bengal where a woman was beaten and stripped by a female mob deserves the same outrage.
“Undoubtedly there are crimes against women all over the country,” the CJI said in court on Monday. “That is unfortunately our social reality. We are however dealing with something of unprecedented magnitude- namely crimes and perpetuation of violence against women in a situation of communal or sectarian strife of a nature which is taking place in Manipur. So there is no gainsaying in the fact that there are crimes which are taking place against women in West Bengal as well. The only answer is this- you cannot excuse what is taking place in one part of the country like Manipur on the ground that similar crimes are happening in other parts too. Question is how do we deal with Manipur?”
The CJI also sought information from the government about the steps being taken to investigate the crimes being committed. "We need to know the bifurcation of 6000 FIRs, how many zero FIRs, how many forwarded to jurisdictional magistrate, action taken, how many in judicial custody, how many involving sexual violence and position of the legal aid."
“The government has effectively partitioned Manipur — keeping [N Biren] Singh as chief minister to look after the Meitei areas, while the areas of Kukis and other tribes are run from New Delhi, with the army trying to maintain a buffer zone,” says the New York Times.
“You are requested to apprise the Union government of the complete breakdown of law and order in Manipur for the last 89 days so as to enable them to intervene in the precarious situation in Manipur to restore peace and normalcy,” the INDIA alliance wrote to Manipur Governor Anusuiya Uikey, disturbed by the condition of relief camps and anxieties persisting among the people.
In a public speech, former Indian Army chief General MM Naravane said: “The involvement of foreign agencies [in Manipur]… not only do I say it cannot be ruled out but I will say it is definitely there, especially Chinese aid to the various insurgent groups. They have been helping them for so many years so they will continue helping [them].”
“Manipur was not given to us by India. It was given to us by our forefathers,” Meitei Leepun chief Pramot Singh tells India Today NE. He says that the Meitei will oppose President’s Rule because it is a Kuki demand, and sacking CM Biren Singh would tell them that the Centre backs the Kukis.
In Manipur, 10,000 children and adolescents now live in relief camps. One out of 10 is now being helped by a de-stressing programme and are receiving support for deficits in learning caused by the conflagration in the state.
The Indian Express has analysed 46 FIRs pertaining to the looting of police armouries to find a common pattern. Police stations were overpowered by vastly greater numbers of the public, who responded to the use of minimum force with firearms. Also, most of the police stations which were overrun were in the Manipur valley.
Kuki men in relief camps in Mizoram are determined to return home to defend their villages, and indicate that their differences with the majority Meitei, who form 53% of Manipur’s population, have widened into a gulf that can no longer be bridged. At the same time, former Mizo insurgent groups are pressing Kukis settled in Mizoram to leave.
The Assam police seek an SoP for investigating ‘love jihad’, which means that the term has entered state documentation. They also club Rohingyas with “infiltrators, smugglers and insurgents”, and sign off with Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s social media love handles.
The Swachhata Abhiyaan mobile app, which was released so that locations where manual scavenging still prevails could be crowdsourced, has identified 6,253 such, but the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has received no clear confirmations.
Outgoing Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, accused of sexually harassing women wrestlers, has been exempted from personal appearances by a Delhi court, because he has to be in Parliament during the monsoon session. It’s important.
The publisher Badri Seshadri has been arrested by the Tamil Nadu police on a complaint that he had belittled the Chief Justice of India. He had told a YouTube channel: “The Supreme Court has said that if you (the government) cannot do anything, we (the court) will. Let’s give a gun to Chandrachud and send him there. Let’s see if he can restore peace.” It is legal to criticise the judgements of courts and the pronouncements of officers of the law.
“Apart from social stigma, the threat of violence at home, disrupted education and forced marriages, many trans people also struggle to find stable employment,” finds the BBC in India, and they see the right to marry outside the traditional binary as the key to freedom from fear.
Twenty-one new models of electric passenger vehicles will broaden the Indian market in the next 12 months. The marques in the fray include Tesla and US runner-up Fisker, BYD, Citroën, Kia, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Audi, Porsche and Tata-owned Jaguar-Land Rover. Tata Motors is betting heavily on electric and expects the segment to make up a quarter of its portfolio in five years, and half by 2030. Electric PVs now account for just 2.47% of total passenger vehicle sales, according to market researcher Jato Dynamics.
The BJP has recruited thousands of influencers across 18 states to its campaign for 2024, reports Newslaundry. Its implacable efficiency is making news, but politicians have been turning away from journalists towards influencers for years, says Nachiket Deuskar ― Arvind Kejriwal was interviewed by Kunal Kamra in 2019.
A former national committee member of the Anna Hazare movement, which was instrumental in bringing the BJP to power, has confirmed to the News Minute what was always suspected: that it was controlled from behind the scenes by the RSS and BJP.
“We have found a time capsule for paleo oceans.” Scientists of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and Niigata University, Japan, have discovered droplets of water trapped in mineral deposits in the Himalayas, possible remnants of the Tethys Sea between the supercontinents of Gondwana and Laurasia, which covered the roof of the world in the Mesozoic Era and early Cenozoic Era. The researchers looked at a zone extending from Amritpur to the Milam glacier, and from Dehradun to Gangotri.
The oldest traces of curry outside South Asia have been found in the archaeological site of Oc Eo, amidst rice paddies in southern Vietnam. Kitchen tools for grinding spices have been found, which would be familiar to modern South Asian cooks. On them have been found traces of “turmeric, ginger, fingerroot, sand ginger, galangal, clove, nutmeg and cinnamon”. The archaeologists suggest that South Asian traders took curry cuisine to Southeast Asia about 2000 years ago.
The old Lalu Prasad Yadav is back. In response to the PM’s “Quit India” jab at the INDIA alliance, he said that Modi will move overseas after 2024: “It is Modi who is planning to quit… This is the reason why he is visiting so many countries. He is looking for a place where he can cool his heels and enjoy pizzas, momos and chow mein.”
Bangladesh remains happy hunting ground of tiger poachers
Dhaka has cracked down on pirate groups in the illicit wildlife trade, but research reveals that Bangladesh remains a significant hub for the poaching of tigers. The Sundarbans, which it shares with India, has one of the world’s largest populations of Bengal tigers. Their pelts, bones and flesh are part of an estimated $20 billion global illegal wildlife trade annually.
Panthera and the Chinese Academy of Sciences say that tiger parts from the Sundarbans have been exported to 15 countries, led by India and China. Although Dhaka’s 2016 crackdown resulted in the death and detention of pirates, the vacuum was filled by over 30 specialised tiger poaching syndicates and opportunistic poachers. Only 114 Bengal tigers remain in Bangladesh’s portion of the Sundarbans. China’s demand, particularly for traditional medicine, drives much of the trade.
If you’ve come so far, do yourself a favour. Take out a subscription. It’s just Rs 200 a month.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial