Sparse Quotes, No Transcript as US-Bound Modi Gives Rare 'Interview' to WSJ; No Man’s Land in ‘Partitioned’ Manipur
Pakistan mourns refugees drowned in Aegean, Indigo splurges on planes, world’s pharmacy in trouble again, ‘BBC Khabar’ behind ‘love jihad’ lie in Uttarkashi, Adipurush dialogue writer to eat his words
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 | Editor: Pratik Kanjilal
Snapshot of the day
June 20, 2023
While Manipur has suffered violence for 45-days and the internet has been off for 40 days, multiple people in the government and the BJP said that President’s Rule is the “last option”. A top government official told The Hindu that quick improvement is not anticipated. “It is wait and watch for now, we are mindful that it may take months. When the Kuki-Naga conflict happened in the 1990s, more than 700 people were killed and it took years to bring in normalcy.” Significantly, the Meitei Tribes Union – whose petition in the Manipur High Court demanding Scheduled Tribes status for the Meiteis led to an order which triggered the current violence – has done a u-turn. The MTU now wants the court to modify its order that the state government “shall consider the case of the petitioners for inclusion of the Meetei/Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribe list, expeditiously, preferably within a period four weeks.”
On Monday, Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh once again appealed to the people to surrender arms looted from police armouries. “Stop it (violence). Otherwise, they will face the consequences. I also appeal to the people… Meitei people who are with arms … not to attack anything and maintain peace so that we can restore normalcy in the state,” Singh told reporters. Meanwhile, Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Monday refused to answer questions about the worsening situation in Manipur saying that it was a “very sensitive” issue and that he was not authorised to speak on the matter.
Arunabh Saikia speaks of an ethnic “partition” in Manipur, where he “crossed no man’s land”.
FIRs reveal the loot of about 3,000 sophisticated weapons like AK and Insas rifles. Miscreants also took away bulletproof jackets and set fire to police stations. Most of the looting incidents happened in the afternoon or in the evening, and not at night.
In an interview with Karan Thapar, Ratan Thiyam, former chairperson and director of the National School of Drama, and India’s leading theatre professional, agonises about Manipur. He says: “The PM either doesn’t understand the gravity of the crisis or doesn’t care. What other conclusion can there be?"
The good news is that schools are to reopen tomorrow across Manipur, up to Class 8.
The press-averse PM Modi has given a rare interview to the Wall Street Journal, in which he said that the ties between New Delhi and Washington are stronger and deeper than ever. The published story has isolated snatches of quotes from Modi, so the duration of the ‘interview’ and the flow of the conversation are unknown. An interesting quote: “Let me be clear that we do not see India as supplanting any country. We see this process as India gaining its rightful position in the world.” But were questions vetted in advance? Were answers in written form, or was there a back-and-forth conversation, as External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had with The Economist, which also released the transcript? These issues remain shrouded in mystery, but thankfully, the WSJ showed no interest in learning to suck mangoes.
On his state visit to the US, PM Modi will meet astrophysicist and science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson, Nicholas Nassim Taleb, Grammy-winning singer Falguni Shah and, but naturally, Elon Musk.
Post-DC, Modi’s next major photo op has already been scheduled: on January 14, 2024, he will preside over the consecration of the Sangh parivar’s new Ram temple in Ayodhya.
The India Cable is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support our work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
In the teeth of court directions, the police in Akola, Maharashtra, have asked about 150 very poor Muslim riot accused to bring Hindu guarantors for a bond to maintain peace and harmony.
Ladakhis have been asking for a separate state and special status under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. After months of protests by socio-religious, political and youth organisations from Leh and Kargil, a six-member delegation from Ladakh met Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai. On Sunday, education reformist Sonam Wangchuk started a seven-day fast to press the government for the inclusion of Ladakh, while highlighting environmental protection. Despite Jammu and Kashmir being under central rule for five years, there is no clarity on the scheduling of Assembly polls, said former Chief Minister and National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah, adding that “democracy ends where Jammu and Kashmir begins.”
A strategically important bridge in Upper Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh bordering Chinese territory, which was used for the movement of armed forces and heavy vehicles, has collapsed in persistent rain which caused landslides. The towns of Gelling and Tuting, the administrative centre, are now cut off from the rest of the nation.
Fearing for his life, Adipurush dialogue writer Manoj Muntashir Shukla has sought police protection. Shukla will eat his words, which have caused offence, and fresh dialogue will be inserted into the film. It speaks volumes about the hair-trigger sentiments of the majority community in India. The row over Adipurush, due to which shows of Indian films were already suspended in Kathmandu, has spread to Ayodhya, where seers are demanding a ban. The Hindu Mahasabha has made a police complaint in Lucknow.
Pakistan is in mourning after a boat sank in the Aegean Sea, killing hundreds of citizens who had attempted one of the world’s most dangerous refugee crossings. Over 10 human traffickers have been arrested.
“There were attempts from the first hour to make this a communal issue,” said the uncle of the girl whose attempted abduction started the madness at Purola. “Right-wing activists even prepared a police complaint for us on their own, but the police didn’t accept it. It was never a ‘love jihad’ case, but a regular crime. Those that committed it, are behind bars,” he told the Hindustan Times. Newslaundry reveals that a news website called BBC Khabar helped manufacture the ‘love jihad’ angle in Uttarkashi. No relation of the UK public broadcaster, but it has worked with the RSS and ABVP.
At the Paris Air Show, Indigo placed an order for 500 A320 planes from Airbus Industrie, the biggest in aviation history. It leaves behind Air India, which ordered 470 planes from Airbus and Boeing in February. The industry estimates the deal to be in the range of $50 billion, reports Indian Express.
US consulates in India are giving appointments for F1 visa applications, bringing relief to students. Appointments are available from mid-July to mid-August. UK universities show a surge in applications from India. The number of Indians starting new courses grew six-fold in 2017-2021. But it isn’t all coming up roses, The Economist discovers.
A young couple from Ahmedabad who intended to enter the US illegally have been taken captive in Iran by a Pakistani agent who demands payment for their release. They are from the Naroda neighbourhood of Ahmedabad.
Within 25 years, resistance to antimicrobials will take 10 million lives a year worldwide. The developing countries will bear the bulk of this burden, which will be greater than that of diabetes and cancer combined, reports IndiaSpend. Drug resistance accounts for 4.1% of years lost to early mortality in India, while the global figure is 2.2%.
A bizarre response to a bizarre incident: the Madhya Pradesh Police have arrested three for leashing a 24-year-old man and telling him to bark like a dog. For good measure, the homes of the three have been partially demolished by bulldozers. The perpetrators and the victim are of different communities.
The deaths in Ballia during a heat wave are making headlines overseas. Since last year, the threat to life due to heat exhaustion, caused by a combination of high temperature and humidity, has been anticipated.
Days after the Gita Press was handed the Gandhi Peace Prize, in Johannesburg, a group of Gandhi scholars have requested the governments of India and South Africa to cooperate to revive the legacy of the Mahatma in the latter country.
Salman Rushdie has been awarded the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, both for his literary work and his resolve in the face of great personal danger. It will be presented to him on October 22. Also, Arundhati Roy has been awarded the 45th European Essay Prize for lifetime achievement for the French translation of her compilation of essays, Azadi: Liberté, Fascisme, Fiction (Azadi: Freedom, Fascism, Fiction in English).
South Asian students in the US are participating in mock shaadis, complete with band-baja and the mandatory white horse. It’s just some extravagant nostalgia, fuelled by the big fat Indian wedding industry. There’s nothing real about the union and often, bride and groom have never met before. Of course, that happens for real back home, all the time.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial