‘Goli Maaro’ Slogans in Gurugram; Delhi Gymkhana relocated to Ram Rajya

Cash v digital was false binary, Editors Guild slams Tripura cops, farmers take BJP leaders hostage, NIA in Canada to probe Khalistani funding, ‘Ustadji’ Tarak Sinha dead, why Urdu-Hindi drifted apart

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 8, 2021

Pratik Kanjilal

This day five years ago, PM Narendra Modi inflicted the muscular ‘masterstroke’ of demonetisation on the economy. The Centre for Financial Accountability says: “No, demonetisation wasn’t a good idea, badly executed – it was a ridiculous idea from the start. The policy, which wreaked havoc on the lives of the poor, mistakenly conflated cash with black money.”

A month before the US State Department releases its religious freedom rights designations, USCIRF has recommended placing India, along with Russia, Syria and Vietnam, on its ‘red list’ or ‘countries of particular concern (CPC)’, for impacting the religious freedom of minorities.

Mediapart has published false invoices that enabled Dassault Aviation to pay 7.5 million euros in secret commissions to a middleman, Sushen Gupta. The payments pertain to a period before the sale of 36 Rafale fighters to India but strengthen the case for a probe into the company’s dealings in India. The CBI has had these documents since 2018 but has not investigated. Since probing dodgy payments made during the Congress-led UPA government’s time is something the BJP loves to do, the refusal to open the Rafale cupboard suggests a fear of other skeletons tumbling out.

As more Chinese state-affiliated social media handles put out images of Indian soldiers in PLA captivity in Galwan last June, veterans are apprehensive about the government’s continued silence on the “buffer zones” created in eastern Ladakh, which represent a “new status quo” on the frontier. The Hindu reports on increased Chinese pressure on the strategically vital Siliguri Corridor, through PLA’s infrastructure accretion and troop deployment in Chumbi Valley. And a thread responds to deniers of the Chinese village established inside Arunachal Pradesh.

The New York Times reports that in a region in strife, “India’s moral high ground has eroded” because of the government’s approach towards Muslim citizens. “The hard-line attitude of Narendra Modi’s ruling party toward Muslims has undermined the nation’s reputation as a voice for tolerance in South Asia.” It is undermining the stability of the volatile region.

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The Editors Guild of India has issued a statement expressing deep shock about the Tripura Police’s action “booking 102 people, including journalists, under the coercive Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, for reporting and writing on the recent communal violence in the state.” Journalist Shyam Meera Singh says he has been booked under UAPA for merely tweeting, “Tripura is burning”. The Guild slammed the attempt by the state government to deflect attention from its own failure to control majoritarian violence. It has called on the Supreme Court to take cognisance of the misuse of stringent laws to suppress reporting.

The Financial Times has a candid account of India’s “humiliating cricket defeat”. Commenting on the sectarian vitriol against paceman Mohammad Shami, it writes: “ruling party accused of fomenting religious enmity to deflect attention from sputtering economy”.

Meghalaya Governor Satya Pal Malik again attacked the Centre and the BJP over the farmers’ issue and the Central Vista project, declaring that he is not afraid of being sacked. He said leaders in Delhi send condolences even when a dog dies – a thinly veiled reminder of Modi’s infamous 2013 quote about regretting the death of even a puppy which comes under the wheels of his car – but were unmoved by the death of “600” farmers in ongoing protests. Malik also referred to the assassination of Indira Gandhi, and asked the government not to antagonise Sikhs. About the Central Vista redevelopment project, he said the government could have built a world-class college instead of a new Parliament building.

The now-familiar slogan “Goli maro saalon ko, Hindu ke gaddaron ko (Shoot the traitors of Hinduism)” was raised in Gurugram on Friday, at a gathering of Hindutva supporters protesting against Muslims offering Friday prayers in public places. The protest, in the form of a Govardhan Puja at the traditional namaz site, was organised by the  Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti. BJP leader Kapil Mishra, whose speech  is believed to have triggered communal riots in Delhi in 2020, was present. The violent slogan was also used by Union minister Anurag Thakur during the Delhi elections in January 2020. 

 Constable Tausif Ahmad was shot dead by terrorists in the Batamaloo area of Srinagar on Sunday. A brief gunfight between militants and security forces inside a premier hospital in Srinagar on Friday triggered panic among patients. An additional 5,000 troops have already been sent to the Valley, belying claims of normalcy. Counter-insurgency operations in Poonch and Rajouri entered the 29th day today.

On the back foot, the Narcotics Control Bureau has taken Sameer Wankhede off the Aryan Khan case and Delhi has stepped in. 

Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi spent Diwali with visitors from St Joseph’s Matric Higher Secondary School, Kanyakumari, which Rahul had visited earlier this year. Asked what he would do first if he were PM, he spoke of women’s reservation.

The old world Delhi Gymkhana has been taken over by forces from an even earlier era. Retired IAS officer Om Pathak, who took charge in May after an NCLAT order, is focused only on ‘India First’ and Hindutva programmes. He disinvited a speaker unfriendly to the Modi government. On Diwali, the return of Ram to Ayodhya was enacted at the club.

Tarak Sinha or ‘Ustaadji’, the celebrated cricket coach who mentored at least a dozen international players, died in Delhi on Saturday aged 71, after fighting lung cancer. Read Sharda Ugra’s 2014 article on Sinha.

Allahabad University will not be able to confer an honorary degree on noted lyricist and writer Gulzar since the Union Ministry of Education has not yet given permission.

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