Modi Govt's Rohingya U-Turn Reinforces Communal Nature of Refugee Policy; Non-Kashmiris to Enter J&K Voter Rolls
Bilkis's cri de coeur, Indian cities lead in PM2.5 pollution, Hosabale courts TN editors, PTR devours 'revdi' theory, WhatsApp call recorder gives BJP the willies, Kambli faces hard times
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
August 18, 2022
In her first statement after the release of 11 men, including those convicted of gang-raping her and murdering seven of her family in the 2002 Gujarat riots, Bilkis Bano yesterday said the move had “shaken her faith in justice”. Bano was 21 when she was gang-raped and saw seven members of her family killed.
Not surprisingly, BJP legislators CK Raolji and Suman Chauhan were members of the committee, headed by Godhra Collector and District Magistrate Sujal Mayatra, which unanimously recommended remission of 11 convicts. Former Godhra BJP municipal councillor Murli Mulchandani, a dodgy witness in the train burning case, and Snehaben Bhatia, a BJP women’s wing worker, were also on the panel, along with the district social welfare officer, a sessions judge and the superintendent of jails.
The Chinese Defence Ministry says that PLA troops will take part in a military exercise – ‘Vostok’ – in Russia. Troops from India, Belarus, Tajikistan, Mongolia and other countries will also be present. Although Indian troops have participated in many military exercises in Russia, including Zapad last year, this is the first time India would be participating in Vostok, after sanctions against Russia for its attack on Ukraine. Zapad means west and Vostok means east in Russian. “Countries routinely make their own sovereign decisions. It is absolutely their right to do so regarding what, if any, military exercises to take part in. I’ll also note that most of the participating countries also routinely participate in a wide array of military exercises and exchanges with the US as well,” said the US State Department spokesperson.
India imported goods worth $4.23 billion in June from Russia, up 6.8 times over last year, as demand for shipments of crude oil grew at the fastest pace during the month. The share of crude was 71%. Outbound shipments to Russia fell to $190.55 million in June, down by 23% year-on-year.
India has 18 of the 20 cities with the sharpest increase in fine particle pollutants (PM2.5) from 2010 to 2019, according to a comprehensive analysis of air pollution and global health effects in over 7,000 cities. Delhi has the highest average level of fine PM 2.5 among the world’s most populated cities. Delhi and Kolkata reported 106 and 99 deaths per 1 lakh population in 2019, which could be attributed to PM2.5 pollution.
To deal with resentment among senior ministers ― Minister of State for Irrigation and Water Resources Dinesh Khatik submitted his resignation but withdrew it later ― UP Chief Minister Adityanath has directed that no official will be transferred without his permission, and UP Chief Secretary Durga Shankar Mishra issued a directive to this effect. It has a direct bearing on about 25 lakh state government employees.
After a gap of over two years, protests against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act resumed across Assam on Monday. Protests by members of the All Assam Students' Union (AASU), a part of the North East Students’ Organisation (NESO), a platform for multiple student unions, were held in all district headquarters amid heavy security. In Guwahati, the protests were held outside Swahid Bhawan, the AASU headquarters. The visuals recall the time just before Covid stalled protests that roiled Assam and the rest of India.
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The Morning Context reports that “93 of the 117 clinical trials listed by Patanjali on the CTRI website either haven’t even started or are incomplete. Only five of the 17 medicines listed in the advertisement had undergone clinical trials. Of them, only one trial had been completed. None of the published research papers on these medicines conclusively established their curative powers. …Patanjali’s advertisements violate the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954. This Act lists 54 diseases that one can’t advertise cures for. Patanjali has advertised cures for at least six.”
The RSS is looking seriously at Tamil Nadu, whose politics has historically opposed everything it stands for. It held its first ever closed-door interaction with news editors of the state’s top media houses on Tuesday, helmed by second-in-command Dattatreya Hosabale. The off-the-record meeting with editors of prominent Tamil and English media is part of the RSS’ outreach programme in Tamil Nadu.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar yesterday met Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav for the first time since their parties revived ties to form a new government in the state. Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav shared pictures of the meeting showing Kumar and Lalu exchanging red roses. Their coming together is a big worry for the BJP. Lalu said before leaving for Patna from Delhi, “We have to oust the dictatorial government. Hatana hai, Modi ko hatana hai.”
Billionaire Gautam Adani will be provided Z-security by the state. It will cost Rs 15-20 lakh per month.
Kerala Savari, the first online taxi service under a public initiative, with government-approved fares and remuneration “to ensure safe commute and fair wages” was flagged off yesterday.
In bizarre exception, Modi government speaks in two voices on Rohingya refugees
UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet said yesterday that it remained unsafe for Rohingya refugees to return to their homes in Myanmar, nearly five years after their exodus to Bangladesh. But in India, the BJP government, VHP and AAP have been vying to be seen as the most exclusionary and discriminatory to the Rohingya. Urban Development Minister Hardeep Puri announced on Twitter on Wednesday morning that Delhi’s Rohingya refugees – he actually used that phrase –