Echoing National Outrage, Former Top Officials Urge New CJI To Send Bilkis Bano’s Rapists Back To Jail; Diversity Is India’s Shield Against Exclusionary, Divisive Pakistan
India ticks off China on Taiwan, ENPO to boycott Nagaland polls, former SC judge says communist governments bagging temples, Noida twin towers demolition latest public spectacle, served with high tea
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
August 29, 2022
This morning, a Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice of India UU Lalit and S Ravindra Bhat sought the response of the UP government to the bail plea of journalist Siddique Kappan, accused in the Hathras ‘conspiracy’ case. Earlier, the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court had denied him bail. The matter will now be decided on September 9. Justice Bhat recused himself from hearing the plea of Gautam Navlakha, accused in the Bhima Koregaon ‘conspiracy’ case, to be moved from custody in Taloja Jail, where he is denied basic necessities and medical attention, to house arrest. On April 26, the Bombay High Court had dismissed his plea. It may now be heard by Justice KM Joseph.
Nation-wide protests were held over the weekend in Bengaluru, New Delhi, Chandigarh and many more places, recalling the barbarity in Gujarat in 2022 and calling for the immediate reversal of remission granted by the government to 11 rapists and murderers in the Bilkis Bano case. Police in Mumbai allowed the gathering only if posters and banners were not raised. Shabana Azmi and Deepa Mehta held their ground. Are these “sanskari rapists”, Azmi asked. She also asked how this could happen without the Centre’s concurrence. The protests have drawn international attention to the case.
A video of former Supreme Court judge Justice Indu Malhotra shows her declaiming that Communists governments have acquired control of Hindu temples. Justice Malhotra is seen telling people that she and Justice UU Lalit (current Chief Justice of India) halted such a bid on the Shree Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram. The video seems to have been shot outside the temple premises. “That is what happens with these Communist governments. They want to just take over because of the revenue. Their problem is the revenue. All over they have taken over. All over. Only Hindu temples. So Justice Lalit and I told, no we will not allow it,” she is seen saying, raising serious questions about the propriety and reasoning of her dissenting judgement in the Sabarimala case as well.
The editor and owner of Rajkot eveninger Saurashtra Headline were booked for publishing an article hinting at the possible removal of Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel because the BJP’s central leadership is unhappy with his performance, a police official said on Saturday. The news story headlined ‘Goodbye Bhupendraji, Welcome Rupala’ was published in the August 22 edition.
Close to 3.03 million tonnes (mt) of coal imported by gencos for blending were lying at various Indian ports as on August 17. Of this, public sector power utility NTPC alone accounts for nearly 2.2 mt, or 73%, with state gencos making up the rest. They were reluctant to import because of the huge differential between domestic and international coal prices. And with the Power Ministry withdrawing an order making it mandatory to blend the two, the gencos are even more reluctant to lift the contracted quantity.
India has for the first time referred to “the militarisation of the Taiwan Strait”, a rare instance of New Delhi appearing to comment on China’s actions towards Taiwan. Issued by the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka, it is a more pronounced expression than its previous response on August 12 to China’s military drills, triggered by the visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. It came amidst a spat with China over the visit this month of Chinese surveillance vessel Yuan Wang 5 to Hambantota in Sri Lanka. Responding sharply to the Chinese Ambassador in Sri Lanka referring to “aggression” faced by Sri Lanka from its “northern neighbour”, the Indian High Commission termed his comments “a violation of basic diplomatic etiquette … may be a personal trait or reflecting a larger national attitude.”
The Dalai Lama is in Delhi for five days after a month in Ladakh, amidst demands from parliamentarians and civil society to make him the third foreign recipient of the Bharat Ratna after Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan and Nelson Mandela. There is no information about his public programmes or whether he will meet the political leadership. The demand for the Bharat Ratna has wider resonance and has also been made by former Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and academic Gopalkrishna Gandhi.
Twitter stonewalled queries on Friday from the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology on its data security practices in India, and has a week to answer in writing. Whistleblower Peiter ‘Mudge’ Zatko, formerly in charge of platform security and a Jack Dorsey hire, has alleged that the Indian government forced Twitter to onboard an agent who had access to user data. Twitter said it did not have information on the hiring of government agents. The panel headed by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor asked how many employees had direct access to user data, and whether Twitter had employed people previously associated with the Indian government. The panel had summoned Twitter for a hearing on ‘Citizens’ Data Security and Privacy’. Meanwhile, legal protection for citizens’ data is months away. The government, which withdrew the draft Data Protection Bill, will release a revised document for public consultation soon, and it should be tabled in Parliament during the Budget Session in 2023, IT Minister IT Vaishnaw told The Hindu.
India won a humdinger of a match with Pakistan in the Asia Cup being played in Dubai. Indian fans, biting their nails till the last over, finally exhaled when Hardik Patel, after his super performance with the ball (3/2§), hit a six in the last over, winning the game for India with only two balls to spare.
The 28 foot granite statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose destined for India Gate is complete and awaits central clearance for installation. It will stand under the canopy originally occupied by a statue of King George V, which was banished to Coronation Park in 1968 following protests. A Culture Ministry committee comprising eminent artists, a university professor, and director general of National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) Adwaita Gadanayak set up to monitor the carving work had approved it before August 15, but it was deferred. Mysuru sculptor Arun Yogiraj (39), who made the 12-foot statue of Adi Shankaracharya which was unveiled by PM Modi at Kedarnath, anchored the project. Black jade granite for the carving was brought from Telangana.
The influential Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO), the apex tribal organisation of eastern Nagaland covering six of the state’s 16 districts, will boycott the upcoming state elections in protest against the Centre’s non-fulfillment of the demand for the creation of a ‘Frontier Nagaland’ state. The entire region was once Tuensang, part of the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA). It was attached to the Naga Hills district in 1957 and included in Nagaland when it attained statehood in 1963. While ENPO demands the creation of a state within the state, rebel group NSCN-IM wants a unified Naga homeland including the Naga-inhabited areas of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.
The demolition of Supertech’s twin towers in Noida created mass hysteria befitting a country hungry for public spectacle. There was a viewing gallery and high tea was served before the dust had settled. The UP government and NOIDA Authority (which was pulled up by the courts) sought refuge in the spectacle to evade responsibility for the colossal waste and environmental damage.
A move is afoot to twist the history of Indian science, to make India’s Independence-era scientists like Sir CV Raman appear to be nationalists first, in order to serve the project of glorifying ancient Indian science. Dinesh C Sharma cuts through the mythmaking.
This man was India’s Chief Economic Advisor and is set to be India’s Executive Director at the IMF. His tweet is not parody.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to The India Cable to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.