For BJP, the Muslim is the Only Message; Scholarship for SC Scholars to Study Abroad Excludes 'Indian' Topics
Hijab-clad students get FIR, YouTube channel blocked after airing embarrassing Amit Shah video, Kishor sups with Nitish, and tired of waiting for bullet train, Modi inaugurates Mumbai local track
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
February 21, 2022
International criminal and human rights lawyers at the Guernica 37 Centre have sought targeted US government sanctions against UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, former DGP of UP Om Prakash Singh and Kanpur Superintendent of the Police Sanjeev Tyagi for a spate of extra-judicial killings. The 146 “killings in a pattern of so-called ‘encounters’” were the high point of the UP government’s policy of zero tolerance of crimes, which is being highlighted in the BJP’s campaign for the Assembly elections.
On Saturday, the Gujarat BJP circulated a vicious cartoon targeting Muslims, the day after a special court in Gujarat sentenced 38 people to death in the 2008 serial blasts case. A philosophy professor showed that it was a direct lift from Nazi propaganda against Jews, while a US-based Indian journalist noted that “this is from the ruling party of ‘the world’s largest democracy’ ― in a democratic alliance with other ‘like-minded’ democracies in the Indo Pacific.” In fact, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar is a BJP Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat.
The man who rose to power from the Gujarat massacre of Muslims in 2002 wasn’t to be left behind. In an election rally in UP, PM Narendra Modi wondered out loud why bombs used in 2008 serial blasts were kept on a bicycle, the election symbol of the Samajawadi Party. It seems to be the frontrunner in Assembly polls and experts say that nearly one-third of the non-Yadav OBC vote has shifted from the BJP to SP. The bombs were kept by terrorists who were Muslim, and the suggestion is that the SP supports Islamist terrorists.
From the vicious to the ridiculous: Modi dedicated to the nation on Friday two Mumbai suburban rail lines connecting Thane to Diva. Naresh Fernandes shows that it means just three stops of the local train. Quite a fall for the man who promised bullet trains, 100 smart cities, clean Ganga and doubling of farmers’ income by 2022.
The Bombay High Court’s observation that “Hindi is the national language” has been challenged in the Supreme Court. The petitioner, accused in a drug case, had said that he was told of his rights in Hindi but he knows only Telugu.
On Friday, the Supreme Court rejected a plea seeking urgent listing of petitions seeking the clubbing of FIRs across the country in connection with offences related to the app ‘Sulli Deal of the day’, in which scores of Muslim women were put on “sale”.
An FIR has been registered against a group of hijab-clad students for protesting outside a Pre-University (PU) college in Karnataka’s Tumakuru district. Based on the complaint of S Shanmukha, Principal of Empress Girls’ PU College, the FIR states that the college held a meeting with parents to urge their children not to wear a hijab. But on Thursday, February 17, 10-15 students wearing hijabs had gathered outside the college, when prohibitory orders were in force. A lawyer noted that it’s absurd that they have filed a complaint against students standing outside their own college asking to be let in, seeking education. Meanwhile, a BJP booth agent was arrested in Madurai during municipal polls for trying to get a Muslim woman to remove her hijab to cross-check with the voter’s list, though polling officials had already verified her identity.
The use of the swastika symbol on the top of a pillar being built at the gates of the Bihar Vidhan Sabha to commemorate the centenary of the building has raised serious questions. RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav says: “The use of the swastika mark in place of the Ashok Chakra is against the secular fabric of the country.” CM Nitish Kumar said: “This is not an issue at all.”
At least 20 students of South Asian University (SAU) have reportedly quit their programmes following a drastic reduction in scholarships. SAU predominantly admits students from SAARC countries. For the new academic year, the university has provided scholarships to just 46 students, compared to 74 in the previous batch. SAU has been operating without a full-time president for nearly three years and its governing body has not met in five years.
Pakistan’s maritime authorities have arrested 31 Indian fishermen and seized five of their vessels for allegedly fishing in its territorial waters. The Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) said that it apprehended the intruding vessels on Friday during patrolling in the Pakistan Exclusive Economic Zone.
Even though the Economic Survey claims jobs have bounced back, economists point to lower household incomes and mounting debt. Mint reports a fall in the quality of jobs. Many Indians who held salaried jobs before the pandemic are now in informal, tenuous arrangements that pay less. In rural India, where career options are sparse, people are falling back upon the government’s rural employment scheme. In urban India, gig work offers refuge.
Sanjay Sharma, editor of Lucknow’s only eveninger, 4PM, has been ‘targeted’ by the Adityanath government. He claims his YouTube channel was hacked and blocked after he posted a video of Amit Shah telling BJP workers that his roadshow in Kanpur was useless. Published in Hindi, 4PM was founded in 2013 and reports on crime and politics across UP. With just 12 staffers, it’s one of the few newspapers in the state that takes on the Adityanath government. The channel is now up on YouTube again under a modified name.
The Editors’ Guild of India has raised objections to the new accreditation guidelines issued by the Press Information Bureau, saying that vague, arbitrary and draconian clauses have been included to restrict critical and investigative reporting of government affairs. It demanded withdrawal of the guidelines and urged the PIB to undertake “a meaningful consultation” with all the stakeholders.
Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Ishant Sharma and Wriddhiman Saha have been dropped for the two-Test series against Sri Lanka. Rohit Sharma will lead India in the Tests, which makes him India’s all-formats captain, but the selection committee will watch his fitness closely and look to groom new leaders under him.
National Overseas Scholarship’s scope severely limited
A national scholarship for students from marginalised sections in universities overseas now prevents them from working on Indian culture, heritage, history and society. The new criterion for the National Overseas Scholarship,