For First Time an Indian Court Sees House Demolitions as Ethnic Cleansing; Battle Won, War Lies Ahead for Rahul Gandhi
Trust motion debate in Lok Sabha, heat to make India less creditworthy, scramble for G20 consensus language, Gogoi challenges basic structure doctrine, India-made syrup in Iraq contaminated
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
August 8, 2023
“INDIA has brought this motion for Manipur,” said Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi, introducing the no-confidence motion against the Narendra Modi government in the Lok Sabha today. The motion will fail because the NDA has the numbers, but the Opposition will use the debate to raise issues like the Manipur violence, which it has been prevented from doing. It also hopes to force the PM to break his silence. The Congress had said Rahul Gandhi, who is back in the House, would open the debate, but his name was eventually removed from the list of speakers.
In his maiden speech in the Rajya Sabha ― he entered the house as a nominated MP in 2020 ― former chief justice of India Ranjan Gogoi supported the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2023, which permits the unelected lieutenant governor to override the elected chief minister, robbing voters of their franchise. Opposition women parliamentarians Jaya Bachchan of the Samajwadi Party, Priyanka Chaturvedi of the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Thackeray), Vandana Chavan of the Nationalist Congress Party and Sushmita Dev of the TMC walked out in protest about a serious sexual harassment charge which had been brought against Gogoi when he was in office.
During the discussion, referring to former solicitor general of India TR Andhyarujina’s book on the tensions behind the scenes in the Kesavananda Bharati case, Gogoi also said that “the doctrine of the basic structure of the Constitution has a very debatable jurisprudential basis”. It sounds like an invitation to revisit the limits laid on the legislative remit of Parliament.
Kapil Sibal mentioned “one of your esteemed colleagues" views during the Article 370 hearings as an example of the government’s ‘new jurisprudence’ only to have CJI DY Chandrachud repond, "Mr Sibal, when you refer to a colleague, you have to refer to a sitting colleague. Once we cease to be judges, whatever we say, they're opinions, they are not binding".
During the Article 370 hearings, now in their third day, Sibal asked if the status of a territory can be changed without the consent of the people. Live updates from Bar & Bench.
The Home Ministry has sought an eighth extension to frame rules for the application of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. Without rules, the law, which was passed to selectively fast-track citizenship for non-Muslim refugees in 2019, remains useless. Along with the NRC, the CAA had triggered public protests across India, which were ended by the pandemic.
A syrup for the symptomatic treatment of the common cold and respiratory allergies made by Fourrts India for Dabilife Pharma Private Limited has been found to be contaminated in Iraq. “The sample was found to contain unacceptable amounts of diethylene glycol (0.25%) and ethylene glycol (2.1%) as contaminants. The acceptable safety limit for both ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol is no more than 0.10%,” said WHO, adding that the manufacturer and marketer have not provided guarantees on the safety and quality of the product.
Manipur BJP Vice President Ch Chidananda Singh, has said that his allegiance to his community is now stronger than that to his party. He said that the biased behaviour of the Assam Rifles and their brutality with which they treat the Meitei is causing them to lose faith in the Union government, reports India Today NE. Athouba Khuraijam of the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI), an influential Meitei organisation, tells Karan Thapar that bias is a problem, and that a separate Kuki administration is not acceptable.
The Manipur government is replacing the Assam Rifles from a checkpost on the Churachandpur-Bishnupur boundary, which is also an ethnic divide, with the police force and the CRPF, following complaints about the behaviour of the central forces, reports The Hindu.
A day after calling for the “social boycott” of the BJP government in Manipur due to its failure to act against “Kuki narco-terrorists”, COCOMI has written to the PM seeking the implementation of a National Register of Citizens (NRC), with 1951 as the base year, to weed out ‘foreign elements’ who, they believe, are contributing to the violence.
“Deeply hurt and appalled”, the UNAU Tribal Women’s Forum, Delhi-NCR, which represents Kuki mothers, wants Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to withdraw his comment in the Supreme Court that unclaimed bodies in Manipur are those of “infiltrators”.
While suo motu staying demolitions in Nuh following the violence there, the Punjab and Haryana High Court witheringly asked: “The issue also arises whether the buildings belonging to a particular community are being brought down under the guise of law and order problem and an exercise of ethnic cleansing is being conducted by the State.” This is the first time since house demolitions as a form of arbitrary collective punishment was introduced in modern India by the BJP governments in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh over a year ago that the judiciary has called a spade a spade.
Drawing upon empirical data from India, a study reveals: "When inequality within groups is high and/or inequality between groups is low, citizens are less likely to focus on ethnicity as their primary identity. In such contexts, politicians may use communal riots to improve their electoral prospects by reinforcing the salience of ethnicity," says research done by Neeraj Prasad and H Zeynep Bulutgil.
After the Supreme Court dismissed his plea seeking to stop VHP and Bajrang Dal rallies in the wake of the Haryana violence, Shaheen Abdullah has filed another plea in the top court, now seeking action against police personnel present at rallies involving hate speech against Muslims. When dismissing his earlier plea on August 2, the court directed the authorities to prevent hate speech and the police to file suo motu cases in the event that it occurred. In one video from Hisar in Haryana, the police can be seen escorting Hindutva agitators as they call for the killing of Muslims. FIRs were registered later but after the hate speeches they were meant to prevent were delivered.
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