From UAPA in Tripura to Gujarat Killings of 2002, BJP Actions Under Supreme Court Scanner

Plus: Delhi’s smog is toxic cocktail, noxious foam in Yamuna, Lalit Modi says IPL auction compromised, bidis sold via social media, and top media houses almost assassinate wrestler

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
November 11, 2021

Pratik Kanjilal

A prominent Hindu sect running a temple in New Jersey raided by federal authorities earlier this year is facing a fresh accusation that “it forced hundreds of low-caste workers to labour at worship sites across the US under dangerous conditions for little pay.” In a lawsuit filed in New Jersey federal court and amended last month, the workers’ lawyers accused the sect, BAPS, of the Swaminarayan Sanstha, of luring labourers from India to work on temples near Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and Robbinsville, NJ, for just $450 a month, in violation of US laws.

Pakistan’s PM was “grilled” by the Supreme Court, reports Dawn, “over the government’s inaction against those responsible for the Army Public School attack in 2014 and the ongoing talks with the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).” A bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed summoned Imran Khan around 10 am, and he arrived at the court two hours later. He said there were no “holy cows” among the names provided by the parents of the school attack victims. “You issue orders and we will take action,” he told the bench. 

PTI reports from Beijing that China is “open” to talks with the Dalai Lama about his “personal future”, but not Tibet. At an online press conference hosted by the Tokyo Foreign Correspondents Club, the Dalai Lama had said, “I prefer to remain here in India, peacefully.” He also said that he has no plans to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping but would like to visit China to meet old friends. The Chinese comments were a reaction.

The Union Cabinet has approved the restoration and continuation of the MP Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS), which was controversially suspended during the pandemic. Money was also transferred from it to the ‘private’ PM Cares fund. The scheme will continue until 2025-26.

A Supreme Court bench has said that tribunals were created to ease the life of the common man but various problems plaguing them have compelled the top court to intervene repeatedly and pass orders on appointments and infrastructure that governments should have created.

The rupee fell sharply against the dollar yesterday, ending 32 paise lower at Rs 74.37 to a dollar. Persistent foreign fund outflows, muted domestic equities and the strength of the dollar overseas are factors. 

As in the time of Mark Twain, victims of fake news have to set the record straight. U23 World Championship bronze-winning wrestler Nisha Dahiya has had to publish videos denying reports of her death carried by numerous respectable news outlets, including India Today, Hindustan Times, India.com, Economic Times, Prabhat Khabar, Asianet, Republic World, Daily Excelsior, NDTV, MSN India, UNI, Evartha.in, The Tribune, Mumbai Tak and Ujjwal Jammu News. But there were indeed shootings and violence in Haryana’s Sonipat ― a newbie wrestler and her brother were shot dead and their mother is in hospital. Sonipat SP Rahul Sharma clarified it was “a different Nisha”.

The Financial Times reports: “An acute shortage of fertilisers in rural India threatens to disrupt the winter planting season, stoking unrest among the country’s politically important farmers ahead of a series of crucial state elections next year.”

Congress leader P Chidambaram says that the Supreme Court’s verdict on Ram Janmabhoomi was predictable. The former home minister was speaking at the launch of his colleague Salman Khurshid’s book Sunrise over Ayodhya – which actually defends the Ayodhya verdict. Disagreeing with Khurshid, Chidambaram said:  “Whatever happened on December 6, 1992, was terribly wrong. It debased our Constitution. After the SC judgement, within a year or so all accused were acquitted. So like no one killed Jessica, nobody demolished the Babri Masjid.”

The US joined the International Solar Alliance yesterday. It is the 101st country to do so. The ISA was launched by India and France in 2015. Climate finance was expected to decide if the COP26 in Glasgow would succeed or fail. India announced its position by expressing “deep disappointment” with the discussions around developed nations’ climate finance promises.

The Delhi government put out 15 boats in the Yamuna to control toxic foam. By tying “a strong cloth between two boats, the foam will be brought to the shore.” Just before Sandhya Arghya, on the third day of the Chhath Puja, during which devotees take a dip in water and worship the Sun, there were shocking visuals and severe criticism of pollution.

Devasahayam Pillai, an 18th century Roman Catholic convert from Kanyakumari district, will be canonised on May 5 next year by Pope Francis at the Vatican.

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