S Abdul Nazeer Third Ayodhya Judge To Receive Sinecure; Foreign Universities Regulations Reflect Modi Government’s Indifference To Higher Education
Sharjeel judge recuses from similar case, 669 deaths in police custody in 5 years, PIL seeks ‘renaming commission’, fake Indian party appeared & disappeared in DC, Indians know hard liquor is quicker
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
February 13, 2023
“India is a major power and a critical player as Russia and China work to change the balance of forces in the world. But in their necessary dealings with Mr Modi, American and European leaders should remember that it is only as a democracy, with a free and vibrant press, that India can truly fulfil its global role. As Mr. Modi’s own party knows firsthand — the BJP was suppressed and many of its leaders jailed in the dark days of Emergency rule from 1975 to 1977 — when populist leaders invoke emergency laws to block dissent, democracy is in peril,” says the New York Times in a signed editorial, reminding that “the White House is holding discussions with India on a possible state visit by Mr Modi later this year; New Delhi will host the G20 summit in September.”
The Washington Post reports that “a scathing report by an American research firm targeting the Indian billionaire Gautam Adani has prompted a nationalist backlash from his partisans in India, who have characterised the allegations of extensive corporate fraud by him as an onslaught against the country as a whole.”
Indian geologists had spotted promising signs of lithium reserves in Jammu’s Reasi district and proposed further exploratory work over a quarter-century before the Union Ministry of Mines announced on Thursday the ‘discovery’ of 5.9 million tonnes. In ‘Final report on Regional Geochemical Survey for Base Metals and Lithium in Salal Area… Field Session 1995-96 and 1996-97’ (1999), geological Survey of India scientists KK Sharma and SC Uppal had reported lithium “persistent throughout the belt”. They had credited MR Kalsotra, then director for mineral investigation operations, for carrying out trace studies and reporting “high values of lithium” even earlier, in 1992. But on Thursday, the ministry had said the GSI had “for the first time” established 5.9 million tonnes of inferred reserves of lithium in the Salal-Haimana area of Reasi. Lithium is important for the power storage and electronics industries.
Nearly a quarter of the 28,433 hospitals empanelled in the Centre’s flagship national health insurance scheme for poor households have not admitted a single patient through the scheme, according to government data. The data dashboard for the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (PMJAY) updated daily, as per The Telegraph, showed yesterday that 6,414 (22.5%) of the 28,433 hospitals have been “inactive since empanelment”, implying no patients under PMJAY. And 5,084 (17.9%) hospitals have been inactive over the past six months.
Six students from Jain University’s Centre for Management Studies (CMS) in Bengaluru have been suspended after they performed a comic skit with casteist overtones and derogatory references to BR Ambedkar. The skit was enacted by ‘The Delroys Boys’, the Centre’s theatre group, as part of ‘Mad-Ads’, in which participants advertise imaginary products. “The skit they performed showcased a man from a lower caste background trying to date an upper caste woman. The makers turned BR Ambedkar into ‘Beer Ambedkar’ and used several other problematic phrases like ‘Why be Dalit when you can be D-Lit’, to supposedly spark humour.”
India’s average per capita consumption of hard liquor was the world’s highest at 13.5 litres of pure alcohol compared to just 1.1 litres of pure alcohol from 2010-2016, as per a new report commissioned by Consumer Voice and authored by Gateway Consulting. Between 2005 and 2016, while consumption dropped in most countries, including the Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Sweden, per capita consumption in India almost doubled from 2.4 litres to 5.7 litres of pure alcohol. In 2017, hard liquor commanded 84% of the market. IMFLs and country liquor were more preferred than low-alcohol beverages like beer and wines. The report said that India should commit to WHO’s Global Alcohol Action Plan 2022-30, which commits to reduce the harmful use of alcohol by 20% by 2030.
Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind president Maulana Mahmood Madani has claimed that India is the “birthplace of Islam” and asserted that the country belongs to him as much as it does to PM Modi and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. Madani said it is wrong to suggest that Islam came from outside, while claiming that the “first Prophet of Islam, Adam, descended here”. The Jamiat chief appealed to the RSS to urge its affiliates to shun “hate and enmity”. He also urged both Hindus and Muslims to defy extremism and live in peace with each other. Madani made two speeches — on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon — during the ongoing annual general session of the Jamiat Ulema-e- Hind (Mahmood Madani faction) at the Ramlila Ground in Delhi.
What explains Amritpal Singh’s mystifying rise as the new poster boy of radical Sikh politics? The 29-year-old is accused by mainstream politicians of creating tensions in Punjab. His followers hail him for addressing “festering wounds”.
Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal on Saturday revealed that early in the Bharat Jodo Yatra, Rahul Gandhi had severe knee problems that forced him to think twice about his role. Venugopal, a close confidante of Rahul, said that Priyanka Gandhi had told him that her brother might have to hand over the yatra to senior Congress leaders, which was unimaginable to cadres. Finally, a physiotherapist joined his medical team. “With God’s grace, his pain was cured,” Venugopal said.
Contrary to the dominant opinion in the Congress that Shashi Tharoor will suffer the consequences of contesting the presidential election and questioning the way the party was run, party president Mallikarjun Kharge has accommodated him in the committees for the 85th plenary session to be held at Raipur. Tharoor, who is facing the music from his colleagues in Kerala, is on the main drafting committee, and is convener of the sub-committee on foreign affairs.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad returned to Delhi from Singapore on Saturday evening. He had been away for two-and-a-half months for a kidney transplant. The procedure was done on December 5 at Mount Elizabeth Hospital. His daughter Rohini Acharya donated a kidney. His stay was prolonged to facilitate recuperation.
A staggering 669 deaths in police custody have been reported in the past five years, according to National Human Rights Commission data ― 175 deaths were reported in 2021-22, 100 in 2020-21, 112 in 2019-21, 136 in 2018-19 and 146 in 2017-18. A senior MHA official said, “The NHRC recommended monetary relief in 201 cases amounting to Rs 5.8 crore and disciplinary action in one case during the period from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2022, in the incidents of custodial deaths.”
The third Test of the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy between India and Australia will not be played in Dharamsala because the venue is not ready. Indore and Rajkot are reportedly top choices. As per ESPNCricinfo, the BCCI decided to move the fixture out of Dharamsala after an unfavourable report by its inspection panel.