Police Yet to Book Hindutva Leaders for Hate Speeches in Delhi; Collegium Truce on Appointments
Union buys time with SC quota panel, EC has Sena in knots, ‘changed weather’ at BCCI means no change, Economist discovers kabaddi, inverted griha parvesh angers troll
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
October 10, 2022
Mulayam Singh Yadav (82) is dead. The Socialist patriarch died 30 years after he founded his Samajwadi Party on October 4, 1992. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister for three terms, he was first elected to the UP State Assembly in 1967. He presided over some of the most tumultuous phases in UP and India’s politics, being a key lynchpin of the anti-BJP coalition in the state and in Delhi. He had also served as Union Minister for Defence.
“India’s clamorous public square and disquisitive journalistic and intellectual culture has been a point of pride for many citizens. But the pressure on unfettered speech in the world’s largest democracy is palpable, reports the Financial Times’s India correspondent, John Reed. “Lawyers, journalists and activists say they see editors and reporters increasingly pulling their punches on topics that risk landing them in trouble. Even as the country moves to portray itself as a counterweight to an increasingly authoritarian China, rumours of self-censorship extend to people in business, with potentially harmful consequences for the development of the world’s fifth-biggest economy.”
Amidst speculation about the Supreme Court collegium meeting held on September 30, a joint statement has been released by the five collegium members stating that the said meeting’s agenda – of appointing four new judges – stands scrapped in view of the Union Law Minister writing to Chief Justice of India UU Lalit on October 7 asking him to name his successor. "In the circumstances, no further steps need be taken and the unfinished work in the meeting called for September 30, 2022 is closed without there being any further deliberation. The meeting dated September 30, 2022 stands discharged", the statement released today stated. As per the statement, two members of the collegium - Justices DY Chandrachud and Abdul Nazeer- raised an objection to the letter circulated by CJI Lalit seeking their views regarding proposals for elevation to the Supreme Court. The two judges objected only to the process of selection and appointing judges by circulation and made no adverse observations on the candidates themselves, the statement is at pains to point out.
Scenes and exhortations that called for economic boycott and killing of Muslims played out in a Virat Hindu Sabha meeting in Delhi yesterday, reminiscent of the so-called Dharam Sansads in Uttarakhand earlier this year. The difference was the open participation of BJP’s elected representatives. West Delhi MP Parvesh Verma, son of former chief minister Saheb Singh Verma and at least one UP MLA, Nand Kishore Gujjar of Loni were heard egging the crowd with open anti-Muslim lines. Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Shahdara, R Sathiyasundaram, said that permission had not been taken for holding the event and an FIR have since been registered against the organisers. What action, if any, the police intends to take against the speakers, is not know. The provocation was ostensibly, the stabbing of a man called Manish in East Delhi, four accused, who happen to be Muslim have been picked up for the incident. The Police says the matter relates to an old rivalry and was not communal in nature.
A minister in Delhi’s AAP government, Rajendra Pal Gautam, a Buddhist, who repeated BR Ambedkar’s 22 oaths when he left Hinduism and converted to Buddhism 66 years ago, has resigned from his post. AAP swears by Ambedkar and puts up his photographs everywhere, as does the BJP, but Pal was forced to resign in the wake of the BJP accusing him and the AAP of being ‘anti-Hindu’. The hate meeting in Delhi targeted Pal and AAP too. The AAP government is yet to speak about the open exhortations to violence against a community.
Gujarat state home minister Harsh Sanghavi on Friday praised the action of public flogging by the state police of some Muslim men in Kheda district of the state. Sanghavi, during an address at the Gujarat University in Ahmedabad said, “The state police have done a nice job and people should express their gratitude towards them on social media.” After receiving a legal notice from the Minority Coordination Committee, state DGP Ashish Bhatia has ordered an inquiry into the incident. It would also be inquired as to who filmed the incident and made the video clips viral.
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The rupee opened at a record low of 82.64 against the US dollar, in early trade today. The local unit has repeatedly posted record lows in recent sessions, despite interventions by the RBI.
In the wake of the Gambia cough syrup deaths traced back to an Indian company, disturbing new details have emerged in the matter involving the death of 12 infants due to diethylene glycol poisoning in Udhampur in January 2020: It turns out that that even the monetary compensation awarded to the next of kin of the deceased is conditional. The Tribune reports that the Jammu and Kashmir UT administration made attempts to sidestep the September 9, 2020, orders of the National Human Rights Commission which, while holding the State Drugs Department responsible for procedural lapses in failing to check poisonous contents of the cough syrup that killed the infants, ordered payment of Rs 3 lakh to next of kin of each deceased child. Although the administration of the Union Territory agreed to pay Rs 3 lakh each to 12 families as directed, it did so subject to an undertaking by each family that they would return the money if the Supreme Court – where it has gone in appeal – eventually rules in its favour.
In a sequence of events which raises questions about the independence of regulatory institutions, especially critical ones like the Election Commission, the bow and arrow symbol of the Shiv Sena has been frozen. Neither faction can even use the party name Shiv Sena for the forthcoming bypoll. Uddhav Thackeray has termed the action unfair. What does this mean for both ‘factions’? The Uddhav camp has zeroed in on trishul (trident), rising sun and mashaal (torch), while the Shinde faction has arrived at talwar (sword) and gada (mace).
In keeping with the Sangh aim of reconfiguring India as ‘Hindi, Hindu, Hindustan’, Parliament’s official language committee, headed by Union home minister Amit Shah, has made recommendations to stifle Indian languages some more. It wants Hindi to be a compulsory medium of instruction in educational institutions ranging from Kendriya Vidyalayas to IITs and central universities, Hindi papers to replace compulsory English papers in government recruitment exams, and Hindi as an official language at the United Nations.. The report also says that proceedings of high courts in Hindi-speaking states should be in Hindi. It warns against government officials and employees who “deliberately don’t work in Hindi”, saying that explanations should be demanded of them. “In case of no satisfactory reply an entry to this effect should be made in their annual performance report,” it adds.
Maharashtra BJP leader and state Higher and Technical Education Minister Chandrakant Patil has said “abusing parents is acceptable, but they won’t tolerate a word against PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.”
Continuing the Modi government’s record of effacing the historical legacy of Muslim rulers, the Railways has renamed Tipu Express, which plies between Mysuru and Ben galuru, as Wodeyar Express. The demand was made by BJP MP Pratap Simha, in a letter to Minister for Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw a few months ago.
Is there a pattern to judical orders ensuring that all criticism against the BJP is muzzled? Between March and August 2021, at least eight BJP politicians from Karnataka had obtained interim injunctions against media houses prohibiting them from publishing defamatory material about them.
India could be facing a pandemic of antibiotics-resistant superbugs, finds this analysis by the BBC.
Across South Asia, climate change is making the monsoon more erratic, less dependable and even dangerous, with more violent rainfall as well as worsening dry spells.
The Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), an apex tourism body representing more than 1,700 inbound tour operators in India, has sought PM Modi’s intervention in restoring e-visas for visitors from the United Kingdom, Canada and other countries from where maximum tourists travel to India. The organisation said it has already made numerous representations and sent letters to the ministries of Home, Tourism and External Affairs in this matter. “Having failed to evoke any response from these ministries, we have written to the PM, hoping for a quick resolution,” IATO President Rajiv Mehra said on Friday.
If India were to achieve its clean air and energy goals, it could substantially reduce anaemia prevalence among women of reproductive age. More precisely, it will fall from 53% to 39.5% if the country is able to meet its clean air targets.This is according to a study that links exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) to the prevalence of high anaemia rates among women. The study links certain PM2.5 pollutants to the blood disorder.
A “man-eating” tiger was on Saturday shot dead by a team of sharpshooters and police jawans in Bihar’s West Champaran district, hours after it allegedly mauled a woman and her son on the outskirts of the Valmiki Tiger Reserve. The development comes a day after the Bihar government issued a shoot-at-sight order for the tiger that had allegedly killed nine people since May this year, prompting the forest department to declare it a “man-eater”. The forest department, however, has not provided any conclusive evidence to prove the tiger was responsible for all nine deaths.
In 2023, the once-ubiquitous Fiat taxi will permanently go off Mumbai’s roads. The owners of the last few such cars share tales about the black-and-yellow cabs.