J&K to Get Statehood Back, Timeline Awaited; The Other Children, that Day in Muzaffarnagar
LPG prices slashed for state polls, California bans caste discrimination, Assam Rifles files defamation case, progressive Kannada writers get threats in mail, Chauhan carries on like MLM salesman
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
August 15, 2023
The government has told the Supreme Court that statehood will be given back to Jammu and Kashmir, but Ladakh will remain a Union territory. Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud had asked for a timeline, which may be available in two days.
China’s Ministry of Natural Resources has released the 2023 edition of the ‘standard map of China’, which continues to show all of Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin within its borders. In April, Beijing had announced that it would “standardise” the names of 11 places in Arunachal Pradesh, including a town near the capital, Itanagar. This is the third renaming exercise in Arunachal Pradesh, says The Hindu.
India has conveyed to the US its concern that pressing Bangladesh on the issue of free and fair elections, as Sheikh Hasina seeks her fourth term in office, could give extremist forces more elbow room and also push the neighbour with which India has the closest ties into the arms of China.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is to weekend in Sri Lanka, precisely when the Chinese embassy in Colombo has sought permission to dock for the research vessel Shiyan-6 in October. A Chinese warship had docked in Colombo on August 10-12, a year after Yuan Wang-5 had made landfall, causing a row between New Delhi and Colombo.
In an extraordinary intervention, the Assam Rifles, which traces its roots to the Cachar Levy of 1835, sent a notice of defamation to Manipur politician Maheshwar Thounaojam, national secretary of the Republican Party of India (RPI-Athawale). It requires him to retract the statement he made at a ‘Condolence for Meitei Martyrs’ in Delhi on June 30, where he had said that India’s oldest paramilitary force was aiding the Kukis against Meitei interests, and they should be removed from Manipur.
Ostensibly to celebrate the festivals of Onam and Rakshabandhan, but perhaps in view of elections in five states, the Union cabinet has slashed LPG cylinder prices by up to Rs 200. Connections for 75 lakh women under the Ujjwala scheme have also been cleared.
Hindutva groups ultimately had their jalabhishek yatra in Nuh yesterday, albeit a downsized one. Around 40 people, including a high-ranking VHP official, were allowed to travel in police-escorted minibuses, and an equal number of people were preventively detained.
In Karnataka, a persistent anonymous letter-writer who signs off as ‘Sahishna Hindu’ (tolerant Hindu) is targeting progressive Kannada writers through the postal system, sending threatening mail and possibly tracking their movements. One writer, who filed a police complaint on the quiet, immediately received a letter which indicated that the sender knew of it.
On the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington, Martin Luther King’s dream takes another step towards reality. In the US, California has become the first state to pass the anti-discrimination bill SB403 by a 50-3 margin, outlawing caste discrimination. Over the last year, reports have suggested that caste discrimination is taking root in Silicon Valley.
Global rice prices have shot up since India restricted exports of the grain. Some 80% of the world’s population lives in countries that are net importers of food, and India’s curbs will hurt billions. The Economist says that while “India’s policy responses may help contain the cost of living [domestically], they could raise it elsewhere. But climate change is likely to make policies like India’s more common.”
The Union government filed a fresh affidavit in the Supreme Court on the Bihar caste survey yesterday evening, noting that a certain paragraph in the “previous affidavit had inadvertently crept in.” The paragraph in question read, “No other body under the Constitution or otherwise is entitled to conduct the exercise of either Census or any action akin to Census.” Either way, the crux of the Modi government’s view remains the same. The new affidavit says that the Census Act of 1948 was enacted in the exercise of powers under Entry 69 of List I of the Constitution’s Seventh Schedule, and it empowers only the Union government to conduct the Census.
Russian President Vladimir Putin took the trouble to call PM Narendra Modi yesterday to tell him that he will not be able to attend the G-20 summit in Delhi. It is not unexpected. Putin has not accepted overseas engagements since his troops invaded Ukraine, an action which has cast its shadow over the G20 meetings, where it has become impossible to issue joint statements because of diverging views on the nature of the conflict.
But let’s be positive. In other sectors, it is still easy to share:
Sharjeel Imam, in custody since 2020, charged with sedition and under Section 13 of the UAPA, has sought bail on the plea that he has completed half of the maximum sentence.
After Hindenburg Research raised governance concerns at Adani Group, stock market regulator SEBI had instituted a probe, which has now discovered “violations of rules on disclosures by listed entities and limits on the holdings of offshore funds”, reports Reuters. However, the violations are “technical” and would perhaps attract a fine. Adani had always denied wrongdoing.
The case of Henrietta Lacks, the black woman whose cell line has been used in countless medical research projects, is only the best-known of a large community of non-white women whose bodies were used by science without informed consent. In The Swaddle, Ananya Singh talks about South Asian immigrant women in London in 1969 ― the year the Beatles were photographed crossing Abbey Road and the Concorde took wing ― who were exposed to a radioactive isotope in rotis in the course of a study, without their knowledge.
According to school authorities, around 1,600 students used to attend a school in Nuh’s Kherla village. However, after a communal clash on July 31, only 100-200 children now come to the school daily, reports The Hindu. A common underlying fear prevents many families from sending them to school: children could be picked up by the police.
At a time when children are taught to hate, a new series of books puts tales of rural India from P Sainath’s PARI into stories for children.
Indians are euphoric about the moon landing. One of the ways they have celebrated is by revisiting pop culture, says New Lines magazine.
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