SC Removes Ban Imposed by Bengal Govt on ‘The Kerala Story’; Climate Breakdown Made S Asia 2℃ Hotter Than Usual in April
Siddaramaiah to take oath as CM on Sat, Rijiju divested of law portfolio, SC notice to Delhi police on Umar Khalid bail plea, ‘Modi magic’ just a PR hype, SP Hinduja passes away
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Snapshot of the day
May 18, 2023
Ending days of suspense, the Congress on Thursday announced Siddaramaiah as the next chief minister of Karnataka and DK Shivakumar as his only deputy in the soon-to-formed cabinet. The two leaders, who were in a tight race for the top post, would take oath along with other ministers on Saturday and leaders of all like-minded parties will be invited for the swearing-in ceremony. The Congress on Thursday hit back at the BJP for being critical of the delay in deciding a name for the chief minister’s post in Karnataka, saying it is a democratic party that believes in consensus and “not dictatorship”.
The Supreme Court on Thursday set aside the ban imposed by the West Bengal government on the screening of The Kerala Story and recorded the producer’s submission to clarify in the movie disclaimer that the film is a “fictionalised account of events” with no “authentic data” to back the suggestion that 32,000 women were converted to Islam in Kerala. A three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud recorded the submission by the Tamil Nadu government that there is no ban, tacit or explicit, on the screening of the movie in the state. The court directed the state to provide adequate security in theatres and for moviegoers. The Trinamool Congress, the ruling party in West Bengal, said if any issue arises due to the screening of the film, the opposition should not blame the TMC.
Kiren Rijiju, who made headlines virtually every day with his rants against the judiciary, is no longer the law minister of India. The Rashtrapati Bhavan announced on Thursday that he has been given charge of the earth sciences ministry. Minister of state Arjun Ram Meghwal has been given independent charge of the law ministry in addition to his other portfolios – parliamentary affairs and culture. Meghwal is a Dalit and a former member of the Rajasthan Administrative Service. His appointment comes ahead of the assembly polls in Rajasthan, his home state. V Venkatesan writes why Rijiju’s tenure is a lesson for his successors.
The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notice to the Delhi police on the bail plea of activist Umar Khalid, who is in jail since September 2020 in connection with the Delhi riots conspiracy case. Though the bench of Justices AS Bopanna and Hima Kohli granted liberty to Khalid to move the vacation bench of the court for urgent hearing, Khalid’s counsel Kapil Sibal said the matter could be heard after the [summer] vacation. The court posted the matter for further consideration after six weeks.
A US court has consented to the Indian request, supported and approved by the US government, for the extradition of Pakistani-origin Canadian businessman Tahawwur Rana to India. The 62-year-old former Pakistani army doctor is sought by the NIA for his alleged involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, in which 166 people, including 6 Americans, had been killed. This explainer tells us more about Rana.
Responding to an unfolding humanitarian situation from the capsized Chinese fishing vessel Lu Peng Yuan Yu 028 with 39 crew on board, Indian Navy on Wednesday deployed P-8I aircraft in the Southern Indian Ocean Region approximately 900 nautical miles from India for search and rescue efforts that other countries in the region have also joined in. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority was coordinating the rescue effort in waters located around 5,000km from Australia and 1,300km south of Sri Lanka.
A searing heat wave in parts of southern Asia in April was made at least 30 times more likely by climate breakdown, according to a rapid study by international scientists released on Wednesday, the Associated Press reported. The study by the World Weather Attribution group found that temperatures were at least 2℃ hotter in the region because of climate breakdown. Unusually high temperatures of up to 45℃ were recorded in monitoring stations in parts of India, Bangladesh, Thailand and Laos. In India, several regions were affected and 13 people died due to the heat at a public event outside Mumbai.
If the global average temperature gets 2℃ warmer than pre-industrial times, a heat wave like the one in April could occur every one to two years in India and Bangladesh, the study said. Currently, the world is 1.1℃ to 1.2℃ warmer.
A case filed by the country’s premier investigating agency against one of India’s most prominent environmental lawyers alleging violations in foreign contribution regulations is rife with factual inaccuracies and lacks evidence to support the allegations made, experts say. The prosecution of Ritwick Dutta, whose law group won what is called an “alternative Nobel” in 2021, will have a chilling effect on environmental litigation and follows a pattern of criminalising civil-society and human-rights activism, reports Article 14.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s advisers seem to have tried to organise a joint rally of Modi and US President Joe Biden during the former’s forthcoming state visit to the US. “Some in Delhi wanted to create a sister event with Modi and Biden appearing together and bury the idea that Modi had played favourites back in 2019 by inviting Donald Trump to his Houston rally and providing a captive audience of thousands,” writes Seema Sirohi. She says the idea of organising a rally in Chicago and inviting Biden to join in was considered long and hard, but abandoned. Three different stadiums on three different dates had also been reserved in case things worked out.
It has been nine years since Narendra Modi assumed power, but his “muscular” nationalism hasn’t translated into enhancing India’s military capability and although “atmanirbharta” is a big slogan, India is the biggest arms importer in the world, writes Rahul Bedi. Innumerable material shortages in all three services endure. Collectively, these deficits have continued to adversely affect India’s overall military equipment profile. That too, at a juncture, when it faces security threats from neighbouring nuclear rivals and collusive partners, China and Pakistan.
Life Insurance Corporation of India has tumbled 40% since its trading debut a year ago, making it among the worst performers of newly listed companies, as the country’s biggest initial public offering struggles to attract investors, reports Bloomberg. India’s largest life insurer surprised investors last year with its $2.7 billion share offering amid the threat of global stagflation, and has struggled since its debut on fears its massive size leaves limited room for further growth. LIC’s performance is similar to state-run peers General Insurance Corporation and New India Assurance Company, both of which have seen their market capitalisations shrink after their respective listings.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed a National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission order that had confirmed its earlier award of ₹2 crore as compensation to an aspiring model for a bad haircut she suffered at the ITC Maurya hotel in New Delhi. A bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Sudhanshu Dhulia issued notice to the respondent, Aashna Roy, on ITC's appeal challenging the NCDRC award. This is the second round of litigation in the matter before the apex court, which had in February this year set aside the compensation amount first awarded in September 2021 and remitted the matter to NDRC for fresh determination. The NCDRC had then considered the matter afresh before reaffirming its earlier order.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its verdict in a plea by the Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government against the appointment of 19 aldermen by the lieutenant governor of Delhi to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi without the aid and advice of the Delhi government’s cabinet. During the hearing, a bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala said that such nomination can effectively destabilise the MCD since such aldermen have voting power.
All India Muslim Personal Law Board secretary, senior advocate Zafaryab Jilani passed away in Lucknow on Wednesday after complications from a head injury. He had suffered a brain haemorrhage about a year ago after slipping and falling. Jilani, as a convenor of the Babri Masjid Action Committee, had argued the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case before the Supreme Court.
Srichand P Hinduja, the billionaire patriarch of Britain’s richest family and chair of the globe-spanning Hinduja Group conglomerate, passed away in London on Wednesday. He was 87. Until his death, he led the family dynasty, which employs 150,000 people, with his brother Gopi. The siblings began their careers in India but spent most of their time in the UK since the 1970s. Despite the family’s vast wealth, a judge warned last year that Srichand Hinduja’s needs, chiefly medical care for Lewy body dementia, had “become marginalised”, amid a family feud over the ownership of a Swiss bank.
Tesla Inc has proposed setting up a factory in India to build electric cars for domestic sale and export, the carmaker told government officials on Wednesday, Reuters reported, quoting “a source with direct knowledge of the matter”. The proposal comes after India refused to agree to Tesla's request last year to lower the import tax on cars, which can reach as much as 100%. India wanted the carmaker to build vehicles locally but Tesla wanted to test the market first with imports and the talks ended in deadlock.
Rio Olympics bronze medal-winning wrestler Sakshi Malik in an interview with the Indian Express talks about why women wrestlers decided to complain about sexual harassment by Wrestling Federation of India president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh years after the incidents, on allegations that the protest has been highjacked by politicians, farmer groups and worker unions and why the protesting wrestlers could return awards and medals.
Manipur continues to be under an internet blackout. On Tuesday, the restriction on mobile use and broadband services was extended for another five days. The army and paramilitary forces continue to be deployed and are attempting to send the displaced people back to their homes. In a letter to Amit Shah, 10 Kuki MLAs claimed that Manipur is now “partitioned” as “huge population transfers between the valley and the hills inhabited by the Kuki-Chin-Mizo-Zomi-Hmar have taken place”, reported Deccan Herald. There are no tribespeople left in the Imphal valley and there are no Meiteis now in the hills.
Some G20 member states, including China and Turkey, won’t attend a meeting of the tourism working group of G20 scheduled for Srinagar next week. Many other countries will have a low-level participation in the event, “people familiar with the matter” told the Hindustan Times.
Vivek Raghuvanshi, a freelance defence journalist, and Ashish Pathak, a former Navy captain, have been arrested by the CBI in connection with an alleged espionage case. The journalist has been charged with illegally gathering highly sensitive information on the status of projects being worked on by the Defence Research and Development Organisation. According to the CBI, the accused had access to and shared with foreign intelligence agencies sensitive information about upcoming purchases for the Indian armed forces, the nation’s strategic preparedness, classified communications pertaining to national security, and knowledge of India’s strategic and diplomatic talks with friendly nations.
Kavitha Lankesh’s Gauri, the eponymous documentary film about her sister and slain journalist Gauri Lankesh, won the “Best Long Documentary Award” at the South Asian Film Festival of Montreal this year, its second international award so far. The citation for the award reads: “A brave and uncompromising pulse-taking of the current crisis in Indian politics, focusing on the 2017 political assassination of trailblazing Bengaluru journalist Gauri Lankesh. A ‘J’accuse’ docu-thriller directed and narrated with verve by Gauri’s sister, Kavitha Lankesh.”
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