Plea Of Hindu Women In Gyanvapi Found Maintainable; For Muslims In Infinite Regression, Education Is The Universal Specific
Russia seeks ruble payments, Indian banks cautious about sanctions, NN Vohra opposes Army role in internal security, Defence Ministry pleads secrecy on Agnipath, Malik says BJP leaders ‘worth raiding’
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Snapshot of the day
September 12, 2022
A Varanasi court today found the plea of five Hindu women to worship all year at the Gyanvapi Mosque maintainable since it is not barred by the Waqf Act or the Places of Worship Act. The Anjuman Masjid Islamia Committee had wanted the petition to be struck down. Now, both sides have been asked to make submissions, and the matter will be taken up on September 22.
The Supreme Court was to hear 200 pleas concerning the Citizenship (Amendment) Act today, but at the request of the advocates, they will be heard next Monday.
This morning, the Supreme Court dismissed the plea for the return of the body of Amir Magrey, killed in the Hyderpora encounter, to his family. Justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala observed that a body buried by the law is considered to be in its custody, and disinterment would not be permitted except “in the interest of justice”. (Also see Attending militants’ funeral not ground for arrest below)
At a felicitation for Chief Justice of India UU Lalit on the weekend, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said that for development, the judiciary and the executive must work as a team. In a lighter vein, he said he hoped that his tenure would not see “much tension caused to the government”.
Economists Jayati Ghosh and Joseph E Stiglitz have been appointed co-chairs of the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation, which addresses one of the toxic effects of globalisation ― tax avoidance and evasion.
India and Iran are close to striking a long-term agreement for operations at the Chabahar port, and only differences on an arbitration clause remain. The agreement, valid for 10 years and to be extended automatically, will replace an initial pact covering India’s operations at Shahid Beheshti terminal, which has been renewed annually.
Rice loading has stopped at Indian ports and nearly one million tonnes of grain are trapped there as buyers refuse to pay the government’s new 20% export levy on top of the agreed contract price. The government banned exports of broken rice and imposed a 20% duty on various other types on Thursday to boost local supplies and calm prices.
Amidst the G7 nations’ growing demands for a price cap on Russian oil, Moscow has told New Delhi it will drop petroleum prices even lower for India. “In principle, the ask in return is that India should not support the G7 (Group of Seven) proposal,” an MEA official said. Russia’s “substantial discounts” will be steeper than Iraq’s. In May, Russian crude was cheaper by $16 a barrel for India, against the average import basket price of $110. The discount was reduced to $14 a barrel in June, when the basket averaged $116 a barrel. In August, Russian crude oil cost $6 less than the average basket price. India’s biggest oil supplier Iraq undercut Russia in late June, and the price-sensitive market shifted back in favour of Iraq.
After Russia’s Gazprom struck a deal with China to accept payments for gas supplies in yuan and rubles instead of dollars, Russian traders have started asking for ruble payments for supplies to India. This could derail bilateral trade which had increased after the war on Ukraine because Indian importers can’t pay in rubles. Indian importers have taken up the matter with the government. (See below: Indian banks fear engaging with sanctioned lenders) International oil prices are at a seven-month low but retail prices of petrol and diesel in India are holding.
Political parties in Jammu and Kashmir will oppose the inclusion of 2.5 million non-locals in the voters’ list, former chief minister and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah said on Saturday, commenting on a policy change in the voters’ list of the Union Territory governed by the central government. “All political parties have unanimously decided that they won’t tolerate voting rights for non-locals in Jammu and Kashmir,” Abdullah said at a media briefing in Jammu.
Meghalaya Governor Satya Pal Malik on Saturday claimed that people had indicated that he would be made vice president if he stopped speaking against the Centre. “I speak what I feel,” he said, and described new vice president Jagdeep Dhankhar as “deserving”. He also praised Rahul Gandhi for taking out the Bharat Jodo Yatra. On the Enforcement Directorate’s raids on Opposition leaders, Malik said, “There are many in the BJP worth raiding.”
The Project Approval Board (PAB) of the UP Education Ministry didn’t consider or approve any proposal for funds to madrasas under the Scheme for Providing Quality Education in Madrasas (SPQEM) for four years from 2017-18 to 2020-21. In a letter to Bahujan Samaj Party MP Kunwar Danish Ali, Minister of State for Education Annapurna Devi however said that the proposal of the state government for the year 2021-22 was considered and approved by the Board after the scheme was transferred to the Ministry of Minority Affairs and Rs 106.49 crore was released to the UP government. The BSP MP said that the minister had covered up by telling a funny story on a matter of public importance in Parliament ― the UP government has not paid any honorarium to madrasa teachers for the last four years.
Eleven people died after consuming spurious liquor in villages of Haridwar in Uttarakhand on Saturday. It is suspected that ahead of the panchayat polls, some candidates distributed liquor to woo voters.
A minor boy has moved the Supreme Court for permission to be a liver donor for his critically ill father. Currently, only a major can make such an offer.
Five days after the fatal road accident of industrialist Cyrus Mistry and his friend Jehangir Pandole, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has put up a reflector and a ‘go slow’ sign, but there are no rumble strips to alert drivers of the road narrowing from three to two lanes, leading to the “L” shaped death-trap. The Financial Times has an obituary of Mistry, the “understated billionaire.”
Journalists on Saturday protested in front of the Guwahati Press Club, seeking justice for Banjit Thakuria, senior journalist of a local daily, who was attacked on September 7 at midnight near Gauhati Commerce College. Thakuria had gone to collect a report on a fire that broke out in the Fat Belly restaurant when he was attacked in the presence of the police. The police arrested three but arrested the journalist the next morning, based on the attackers’ complaint. The officer in charge of the Chandmari police station also questioned the journalist about why he had rushed to the spot and questioned the restaurant owner.
India has issued an advisory for students wanting to study medicine in China, cautioning them of pitfalls including poor marks, the need to learn common Mandarin or Putonghua, and stringent norms to qualify to practice in India. Over 23,000 Indian students are currently enrolled in various Chinese universities, mostly in medical courses, and thousands are stuck in India.
“I will say it loud and clear: It is not the Army’s job to ensure against internal disturbance. Once you brought the Army into the Golden Temple, it was a sad day. The same way, it was a sad day for the Army to get involved in civilian affairs. The Army, in its own interest, would ask for the Armed Forces Special Powers Act as soldiers cannot fire at civilians or raid civilian premises unless they have protection. Such laws, as seen in the Northeast, have consequences. The Army’s role is to fight the foreign aggressor,” said former J&K governor NN Vohra, chief guest at the launch of Ramesh Inder Singh’s book Turmoil in Punjab: Before and After Blue Star, An Insider’s Story.
Muslim girls who take off their hijabs before entering classrooms continue to be mocked and bullied by teachers and male students, the People’s Union for Civil Liberties has said in a fact-finding report. The Supreme Court is hearing a challenge to the Karnataka High Court’s upholding of the hijab ban and has urged the registration of cases against the heads of institutions where Muslim girls are allegedly facing harassment. Some girls in Raichur have started wearing hoodies.
Stand-up comic Kunal Kamra yesterday wrote an open letter to the VHP, challenging it to condemn Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse, days after his shows at a Gurgaon bar were called off following threats by Hindutva groups. The comedian, a critic of the NDA government, proclaimed he is “a bigger Hindu” than the VHP as he doesn’t make a living by fear-mongering and issuing threats. “I chant ‘Jai Shri Sita-Ram’ and ‘Jai Radha Krishna’ loudly and with pride. If you really are the children of India, write and send (messages of) ‘Godse Murdabad’. If you don’t, you will be perceived as anti-Hindu and supporters of terrorism.”
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