Northeast Sentiment Could Scupper BJP’s UCC Play; Crisis, Bailout, Crisis Again: Pakistan’s Relentless Fiscal Cycle
India starts yuan oil trade, SC to hear Article 370 pleas, Gujarat shocks with newborn deaths, Telangana anti-dowry scheme funds dowry, Mario’s family to sue Goa govt for IPR violation in G20 material
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Snapshot of the day
July 4, 2023
After three years in judicial limbo, the Supreme Court will hear a batch of 23 petitions on July 11 challenging the reading down of Article 370 – the constitutional provision which conferred special status on the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. The case was heard last in March 2020. A five-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud will hear petitions which challenge the Presidential Order of August 5-6, 2019, and the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019.
Russian President Vladimir Putin made his first appearance Tuesday at an international event since the Wagner rebellion when he addressed the virtual Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit being hosted by India this year. Iran will be admitted as a full member of the grouping now; next in line will be Belarus.
Amid Western sanctions which have frozen Russia out of the dollar and euro markets, India has emerged as the top buyer of Russian seaborne oil, and wants to settle trades using other currencies. The rupee-rouble trade was seen as an alternative in 2022 but now, Indian refiners are using the Chinese yuan, reports Reuters. State-owned Indian Oil Corporation, the biggest buyer of Russian crude, took the lead in June and two private refiners have followed suit. Russia is also China’s top supplier, and is mostly paid in yuan. China, which has been trying to internationalise the yuan, is now promoting it as a currency for the oil trade. The Congress party says the Modi government is going out of its way to help China at the expense of India.
The New York Times looks at Indian startups in the space business, which have survived Elon Musk’s price war by finding a different niche. Geopolitically, the US hopes that Indian space science will serve as a counterweight to the technological ambitions of its rival, China.
On Monday, the Centre called off the strategic disinvestment of Pawan Hans because the successful bidding consortium Star9 Mobility Pvt Ltd was disqualified in view of pending legal cases. In May, it emerged that Almas Global Opportunity Fund SPC, without which the consortium could not cross the specified threshold of a net worth of Rs 300 crore, was being prosecuted at the National Company Law Tribunal.
The Balasore train tragedy on June 2 which left 293 dead and over 900 injured was caused by “human error” in the Signal & Telecommunication (S&T) Division, according to the Commission of Railway Safety’s report that was given to the Railway Ministry last week. Errors in the signalling circuit change at Bahanaga Bazaar station gave the wrong signal to the Coromandel Express. There is, as yet, no word on the criminal conspiracy the Central Bureau of Investigation is probing as part of Narendra Modi’s promise to punish those responsible for the disaster. More than a month later, only 29 bodies have been identified by DNA cross-matching, while families of the victims continue to seek closure. Article 14 reports on the families still waiting in Bhubaneswar for the bodies of loved ones.
The Guardian reports that lawyers representing bereaved families in Afghanistan have told a public inquiry that in 2010-2013, three British SAS units summarily killed 80 Afghan men under an alleged “policy to terminate ‘all fighting-age males’ in homes raided, ‘regardless of the threat they posed’”. Afghans were often killed after taking up weapons, but in five raids, the number of dead exceeded the number of weapons found. An internal review had spoken of “a casual disregard for life”.
Pro-Khalistan posters have targeted Indian High Commissioner to Ottawa Sanjay Kumar Verma and Toronto Consul General Apoorva Srivastava for the death of Khalistan Tiger Force chief and Canada head of Sikhs For Justice Hardeep Singh Nijjar. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said that the posters will affect ties with Canada: “We have requested our partner countries like Canada, the United States, the UK and Australia not to give space to the Khalistanis.” On Sunday night, “Khalistan supporters” attempted arson at the Indian consulate in San Francisco. The damage was quickly contained and the US has condemned the incident.
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Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh is making war on private bunkers, which various groups have set up. Whether in valley or hill areas, these are to be destroyed. Though killings continue, including a barbaric beheading, the government says that the situation is “improving, though slowly”. Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the Manipur Tribal Forum Delhi (MTFD) in the Supreme Court, said the situation remains “extreme”. “We want to know about the rehabilitation efforts, the recovery of arms and the law and order situation on the ground. Give us a detailed report,” Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the Manipur government. The National Federation of Indian Women says the camps are mostly run with the help of civil society groups, with very limited support from the state government.
The Quint visited relief camps across Churachandpur, Imphal, and Kangpokpi districts. For a change, we can hear the people of Manipur speak, instead of the leaders of various interest groups. What emerges is a human tragedy of baffling scale.
Yesterday, the State Bank of India was authorised to sell electoral bonds until April 12, 2014. This is the 27th issue of a scheme which was supposed to cleanse electoral funding but has actually made political finance more opaque.
According to the Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy, the unemployment rate rose from 7.68% in May to 8.45% in June on the back of rural joblessness, which peaks in summer. Bloomberg says that the BJP’s chances in 2024 will be impacted if unemployment persists in rural areas, where most of India’s population lives.
Today, the BJP brought in new faces to lead the party’s efforts in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Jharkhand – states where it is not in power. The move is a clear sign of preparations underway for the elections.
In Joshimath, where land subsided earlier, a fresh crack has emerged next to a residential structure on the road to Auli, raising fears of more damage during the monsoon.
The family of Mario Miranda has threatened to sue the government of Goa and organisers of G20 meetings in the state for using his artwork in gifts and displays made for the G20 meets without permission. They will send a legal notice to Goa Chief Secretary Puneet Kumar Goel and Sanjith Rodrigues, who is in charge of G20 meetings in Goa.
A society in Greater Noida, a region of no less anthropological interest than the Trobriand Islands, has issued a very practical dress code for taking walks within its territory: no lungis or nighties, please! People are upset.
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