In Hanoi, Biden Says He Talked Human Rights, Free Press with Modi; Government Headed for a Dal-Roti Mess as Traders make a Killing
Attacks on Christians up, Bajrang Dal to launch 2,281 Shaurya Yatras through 5 lakh villages, militants in police uniform in Manipur, student suicides up 70%, why it’s hard to keep pace with Pakistan
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 and Anirudh SK | Editor: Pratik Kanjilal
Snapshot of the day
September 11, 2023
The G20 meet won an improbable success as a consensus was forged on the contentious issue of the language used to describe the conflict in Ukraine, thanks to the stand taken by consecutive former G20 hosts Indonesia, India, Brazil and South Africa. The gavel has now passed to Brazil, which will host the G21 ― with the African Union on board.
The India Middle East Europe Economic Corridor, with terminal ports at Mumbai and Piraeus, will use existing links and new rail tracks across the Arabian peninsula to form a trade route across Asia, Arabia and Europe, which will also propel forward digital and green hydrogen initiatives, its participating countries hope. US President Joe Biden called the obvious counter to China’s Belt and Road initiative a “really big deal”.
In Hanoi, where he travelled from New Delhi, US President Joe Biden said: “As I always do, I raised the importance of respecting human rights and the vital role the civil society and a free press have in building a strong and prosperous country with Modi. After Modi and Biden held bilateral talks on the sidelines of the G20, the joint statement read: “The leaders re-emphasised that the shared values of freedom, democracy, human rights, inclusion, pluralism, and equal opportunities for all citizens are critical to the success our countries enjoy and that these values strengthen our relationship.”
You don’t need the CAG to tell us that the G20 summit went way over the budget. It’s in all the papers.
After test-flighting a controversy, PM Modi is slaloming agilely between Bharat and India. His G20 place card reads ‘Bharat’ in English, but his social media posts speak of India. And G20 leaders, ignoring the issue, referred to the host nation as India, which is how it also reads in the New Delhi Declaration.
Gandhi is forever an integral part of India’s identity, despite current efforts to celebrate his assassin. In the khadi exhibit at Bharat Mandapam, a G20 journalist tries her hand at spinning, under the watchful gaze of an ace spinner.
Himachal Pradesh CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu was the only Congress chief minister to attend President Droupadi Murmu’s G20 dinner, where he urged PM Modi to declare the mayhem in his state due to heavy rainfall a national disaster. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, whose son has been taking flak from the BJP for his remarks against Sanatana Dharma, was the only chief minister from the south.
From September 30 to October 15, the Bajrang Dal will take out 2,281 Shaurya Yatras (like the one which triggered violence in Haryana) through over 5 lakh villages. The VHP is inviting over 1 lakh seers and their entourage to Ayodhya for the consecration of the Ram temple on January 21-23, just before elections are due. In Maharashtra, Uddhav Thackeray fears that as the celebrants return after the event, there could be “Godhra-like” incidents.
Sanatana Dharma’s foe Udayanidhi Stalin has an ally in the most unexpected place ― rural Uttar Pradesh. The Arjak Sangh is a humanist movement against orthodox Brahmanism and caste which was founded by the socialist politician Ram Swaroop Verma in Kanpur Dehat in 1968, reports NewsClick. It’s a reminder that the state which is sarcastically called ‘Ram Rajya’ has been the incubator of great reform movements.
During an interaction at Sciences Po in Paris hosted by Christophe Jaffrelot, Rahul Gandhi said: “I’ve read the Gita, I’ve read a number of the Upanishads, I’ve read many Hindu books; there is nothing Hindu about what the BJP does, absolutely nothing.” He suggested that the naming controversy has been raised to deflect attention from the colonial period, with which the Hindu right has an uneasy relationship.
Former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has been declared an accused in the Skill Development Corporation scam, which was allegedly hatched to syphon off Rs 241 crore of public money. He has been remanded to 14 days’ judicial custody because he replied vaguely to questions, and said that he had forgotten details. The TDP has called for a bandh in Andhra Pradesh today.
Indian-Americans rallied in Sacramento, California, to urge Governor Gavin Newsom to veto SB403, against ‘discrimination on the basis of ancestry’, which the state legislature passed 31-5 last week. The new law would ban caste discrimination. The Hindu American Foundation alleges discrimination and “racial profiling” of Hindus, and plans to sue.
In Manipur, BJP MLA Rajkumar Imo Singh, who is the chief minister’s son-in-law, has sought the removal of protections on the tribal lands in the hills. He has written to all his peers that the majority Meitei should be allowed to buy lands everywhere under an “equal” land law by amending the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Act, enacted by Parliament in 1960, which he called “one of the most illogical, controversial and biased laws ever”.
Singh also attacked the state’s ten Kuki MLAs – seven of whom belong to his own party – for attending a closed-door meeting with Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga last week, calling them “so-called legislators” and urging them to resign if they are to keep demanding a separate administration. He holds the tribal solidarity rally held in early May to protest the Manipur High Court’s controversial order responsible for the state’s turmoil.
At Mumbai’s YB Chavan Centre, NCP chief Sharad Pawar indicated that defectors including his nephew Ajit Pawar will not be welcomed home, and that new faces would find favour instead.
On Thursday, customs officials in Bengaluru discovered 17 king cobras, 55 ball pythons (in different colour morphs) and six capuchin monkeys in checked-in baggage on a flight coming in from Bangkok. The animals were intended for the premium pet trade. The reptiles survived the journey and have been repatriated.
G Sampath addresses questions about life and the universe with the statesmanlike vision of beauty queens. The really funny thing is, his column needs a disclaimer to ward off lawsuits filed by the humourless: “This column is a satirical take on life and society.”
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