Rahul Gandhi, Amit Shah Square Off in No-Confidence Debate; Political Uncertainty Surrounds Pakistan’s General Election
Defence Min to replace Windows with Linux distro, Manipur BJP rejects Assam Rifles, IIM-B faculty warn India Inc about culture of violence, Nepal tigers in minister’s sights, Akashvani mostly PMvani
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 9, 2023
The BJP’s family values are inward-looking, and diametrically opposed to its oft-repeated ideal of vasudhaiva kutumbakam, which is the theme of India’s G20 presidency. It is ironic, therefore, that while the sherpas struggle to phrase a Leaders’ Declaration that will displease none, the Chinese have thrown a monkey wrench in the works by being displeased about the inclusion of the phrase in the energy ministers’ outcome document. The objection is that the text is in Sanskrit, which is not one of the six languages allowed for business in the UN, reports the Economic Times.
In the face of increasing cyber and malware attacks on defence networks and critical infrastructure across India, the Defence Ministry has decided to replace the Windows OS in all internet-connected computers with the indigenously developed Linux distribution Maya, a flavour of open-source Ubuntu.
As India turns towards unmanned aerial platforms, the government has banned Indian developers from using Chinese-made parts in drones’ communication and radio, cameras and software. Early this year, military officials had told drone-makers that components from “countries sharing land borders with India will not be acceptable for security reasons”. That was longhand for China.
Jalil Abbas Jilani, a former foreign secretary of Pakistan and a career diplomat once declared persona non grata by India, is the front runner candidate for caretaker Prime Minister of his country in the run up to the next general election.
Justice PK Mishra of the Supreme Court has recused himself from hearing the bail plea of Umar Khalid, and the hearing has been deferred to August 17. His counsel Kapil Sibal has repeatedly told the court that it is an urgent matter, because Khalid has been behind bars for over two years without trial.
India and the US have notified the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that they have mutually agreed to close two major trade disputes on the US’s imposition of duties on Indian steel and aluminium products and India’s additional duties on certain American goods.
An atmosphere of fear and calls for an economic boycott of the minority community are killing Muslim-owned businesses in Gurugram, reports The Hindu. MSMEs in Manesar in the garments and leather industries are struggling to maintain production because up to third of their workforce, who are Muslim, have gone to their hometowns following the violence. TheBJP’s alliance partner in Haryana, the Jananaya Janata Party, is not happy with these boycott calls. “I have given clear instructions to the district administrations of all such places that such an act is not permissible under the law, and if any person is indulging in issuing such diktats, strict action shall be taken against such people as per the law,” Haryana’s Development and Panchayats minister Devender Singh Babli of the JJP told the Indian Express.
The top Army leadership is silent about Manipur. The state BJP has submitted a memorandum to PM Modi urging him to permanently replace Assam Rifles with any other paramilitary forces, in the public interest. It said that public anger about perceived partisan behaviour of the Assam Rifles in a delicate situation continues unabated: “Since Day 1 of the violence on May 3, Assam Rifles has failed to maintain neutrality so as to restore peace in the state.”
“Manipur does not remain anymore… You have divided and broken Manipur… you have murdered India,” Rahul Gandhi said in his first speech in the Lok Sabha after his reinstatement, during the discussion on the no-confidence motion against the “anti-national” BJP government. The Congress accuses Sansad TV of cutting the camera away from Gandhi for over half his speech, focusing on speaker Om Birla, and running scrolls on government achievements.
Rather than debate what Gandhi said on Manipur, a senior BJP minister, Smriti Irani, focused on the ‘flying kiss’ the Congress leader sent towards the treasury benches when he finished speaking as his way of thanking them for their repeated interruptions. This, said Irani, was a ‘misogynist’ gesture and she has urged the speaker to act against Gandhi.
In his speech, Home Minister Amit Shah said that while the incident of sexual assault in Manipur which was captured on video is shameful, “the politics over it is even more shameful.” He then trained his guns on the opposition by praising Prime Minister Modi for “dedicating 17 hours of work” a day. Responding to Gandhi’s call for the BJP to ‘Quit India’, he said, “Today, PM Modi has given the slogan of Corruption Quit India, Dynasty Quit India and Appeasement Quit India.”
EastMojo reports fresh clashes between security forces and armed men in various places in Bishnupur district, Manipur. There were no casualties but firearms were recovered in searches. The state police filed an FIR against the Assam Rifles for impeding their search operations for Kuki militants in Bishnupur.
India, Nepal and Bangladesh are forging a tripartite power deal under which Nepal will supply up to 500 megawatts (MW) of hydropower to Bangladesh using India’s transmission lines, reports The Hindu Business Line. This could inspire more multi-nation power purchase deals in the region. However, it may be recalled that earlier this year, Bangladesh’s power purchase agreement with Adani for its 1.6 GW plant in Godda, Jharkhand, had raised tempers in both nations.
Granted early remission by the Gujarat government, Bilkis Bano’s rapists had emerged from jail to a hero’s welcome. Now, in the challenge posed to their release, Additional Solicitor General of India SV Raju has asked the Supreme Court, “What is wrong with garlanding a family member who comes out of jail?”
Being visibly Muslim, or being Muslim in a situation where the majority do not expect them to be, is hard enough. But it is even harder for mentally battered young Muslims to find therapists who understand the context, reports The Quint.
Newslaundry finds on Akashvani “an unprecedented surge in broadcasts featuring the PM, which rose by 528% in 2019 as compared to 2013, as well as news bulletins and special shows on his government’s initiatives” including ‘Mann ki Baat’, at the expense of airtime devoted to the Opposition. Radio has gone the way of TV news.
The Union government may introduce a bill transferring libraries from the State List to the Concurrent List, which would give the Centre a say in what’s on library stacks across India. Central funds anyway influence the contents of state libraries. “If such a law is enacted, we will be compelled to buy books spreading the Sangh Parivar’s ideology,” VK Madhu, Secretary of the Kerala Library Council, tells South First. “Books on scientific thought and rational thinking would be removed from the priority list. Regressive books would replace them, and the future generations would suffer.”
A large TB trial conducted in Jharkhand in 2018-2022 has established that nutritional supplementation results in a marked reduction in the rate of the disease among household contacts of a patient, and also reduces mortality among people with pulmonary TB.
The Kerala Assembly has unanimously passed a resolution to change the name of the state to Keralam, which is what it has always been called in Malayalam.
If you haven’t paid your subscription, this is as far as the Paywall Police will let you go. Please consider signing up as a paid subscriber for as little as Rs 200 a month and unlock the rest of this newsletter.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial