Russia Trade Resumed But India May Not Feed The World; Army Tenures At The Top Too Short To Be Meaningful
NSA on two Jahangirpuri accused, Jamiat moves SC against bulldozer justice, MP HC peeved about live-in relationships, paper mills powering down, BJP tells warring Rajasthan leaders to look united
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
April 20, 2022
Today, the Supreme Court halted a punitive demolition drive in Delhi’s Jahangirpuri, which has seen communal violence brought on by aggressive Hindu processions, but the crew reportedly remained on the job despite the order. The demolition is both bad in law, because families’ habitations are being destroyed without due process for the alleged wrongdoing of individuals, and also in defiance of the law. The Delhi Police has slapped the stringent National Security Act on five arrested in connection with the violence. They include Ansar, the alleged “main conspirator” behind the violence, and Sonu, who was seen in a video opening fire during the violence on Saturday. A section of the RSS, meanwhile, was busy protesting action against its workers outside a police station in the capital.
India has resumed exports of tea, rice, fruits, coffee, marine products and confectionery to Russia, reports The Tribune. Shipments began last month, despite difficulties in insurance and the high cost of containers. Payments are being made through two Russian banks — Sberbank and Alfa Bank. The last shipment included over 100 containers of non-basmati rice and as many marine products and confectionery containers. Industry sources say it’s an opportunity for Indian exporters to establish a bigger footprint in Russia. However, the government’s ambitious plan to feed the world as it faces grain scarcities due to the Ukraine war may come a cropper like ‘vaccine maitri’. Wheat export curbs may be imposed if unseasonable heat in north India causes a domestic shortfall of 10 million tonnes.
The News Minute has this investigation into how right-wing hate speech using social media has made inroads into the rural areas of Telangana, to “help the BJP in communal polarisation ahead of elections.”
NSCN-IM leaders led by General Secretary Th Muivah, yesterday informally met the Centre’s interlocutor for Naga peace talks AK Mishra at the outfit’s headquarters, Camp Hebron. It’s the first time that a Government of India representative has attended peace talks inside Camp Hebron, 35 km from Dimapur and 100 km from the capital Kohima. In the Jalukie-kam area of Nagaland’s Peren district, it has housed the headquarters of the NSCN-IM ever since the ceasefire agreement of 1997.
The issue of honouring India’s assurance to Portugal, while extraditing gangster Abu Salem, that he would not be sentenced to death or life imprisonment for the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts will arise only in 2030, the Ministry of Home Affairs told the Supreme Court. Salem, represented by advocate Rishi Malhotra, was extradited after an assurance on December 17, 2002, that he would not face the highest penalties for over 25 years. Salem has approached the Supreme Court, alleging that India has violated the sovereign assurance by sentencing him to life imprisonment.
China has signed a security deal with the Solomon Islands just days ahead of a visit by US officials to the South Pacific country, exacerbating Western (and Indian) fears about Beijing’s growing influence in the region.
UK PM Boris Johnson faces heavy weather on the eve of his departure for India. Johnson has apologised in the House of Commons about the unprecedented ‘Partygate’ fine. He addressed MPs “with all humility”, repeating his apology for the breach of lockdown rules. Opposition leader Keir Starmer has termed his excuses as “dishonest” and an insult to the public.
India’s real Covid death toll: 5.21 lakh or 30 lakh? The government stubbornly insists its numbers are right and that independent researchers are wrong. Paran Balakrishnan puts all available estimates together.
In top form, the Madhya Pradesh High Court has said that the “bane of live-in relationships”, a “byproduct” of rights conferred under Article 21 of the Constitution, is giving rise to sexual offences and promoting promiscuity. Justice Subodh Abhyankar of the Indore Bench of the High Court made the observation while rejecting the anticipatory bail plea of a 25-year-old man accused of raping a woman. In sharp contrast, the Kerala High Court has allowed a Christian woman, Joisna Mary Joseph, to live with her Muslim husband Shejin, unlike the process it adopted in the case of Hadiya, saying that “she can make her own decision”.
Another poorly considered but impressive-sounding policy shift in education has been announced. The University Grants Commission yesterday said that students would soon be able to pursue joint or dual degrees from foreign universities through academic collaborations. UGC chairperson M Jagadesh Kumar said that students could also attend some semesters of their degree programme in a foreign university. The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) can collaborate with any foreign institution in the top 1,000 of the Times Higher Education or QS World University rankings. “They will not need to seek prior approval from the UGC,” Kumar said. What could possibly go wrong?
Over a third of the 38 full members of the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) today include sons or other relations of former officials and powerful politicians — “the highest-ever in the board’s history”. It is headed by Amit Shah’s son Jay Shah.
A Vancouver-based online magazine has started another campaign for the jailed Indian scholar, Prof GN Saibaba. Radical Desi had previously initiated a petition for the release of Saibaba, who is incarcerated under stringent and difficult conditions in spite of being severely disabled. Now, it has launched an online petition.
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