There’s Extreme Weather or a Natural Disaster Almost Every Day In India; Kishore Kumar, Satyajit Ray and a Song That Broke With Convention
Gujarat polls set for Dec 1 and 5, Taliban cite Gujarat flogging to justify themselves, state can’t bar interfaith marriage, Unilever CEO on rural distress, Leh, Kargil seek Ladakh statehood
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Snapshot of the day
November 3, 2022
The Taliban have used the public flogging of Muslim men in Gujarat as justification for their security guards beating up Afghan women students in Badakshan University on Monday, ostensibly because the girls were not wearing “proper uniform.” Abdul Qahar Balkhi, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Emirate, responded to criticism with two video clips – one of the French police tackling a couple of female protesters and another of the Gujarat police flogging 10 Muslim men. “Would you rather have us deal with civil disobedience like this?” Balkhi asked. The men who were tied to a pole in Gujarat’s Undhela village and publicly flogged by policemen as villagers cheered, were accused of disrupting a Garba event the previous night. The Gujarat government has still not censured the plainclothes policemen; in response to a petition filed by the victims a fortnight ago, the Gujarat High Court asked the government to respond by December.
The Gujarat Assembly polls will be held on December 1 and 5, and votes will be counted on December 8. The fight may be largely two-cornered – the ruling BJP vs the Congress – but the Aam Aadmi Party is also likely to aggressively campaign and is banking on the fact that there popular disenchantment against the BJP.
Speaking on the situation at the LAC with China, US Defence Attache to India Rear Admiral Michael L Baker yesterday said, “This is certainly an important area for us. We do remain watchful, we do work closely with India to exchange our views on this area to make sure that we have a clear understanding of what we think may be happening, and I think it is a place for both India and the US for being watchful. We cannot take our eyes off the ball.” This is more than Indian officials and ministers have said about Ladakh ― yesterday, Union Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt “didn’t give a direct reply to the question on China, saying he was not authorised to speak on some issues.”
China and Pakistan issued a joint statement in Beijing, where Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif is visiting to meet Xi Jinping, and Jammu & Kashmir was mentioned. The statement spoke of a solution under the auspices of UN Resolutions. China termed it “a dispute left from history that should be properly and peacefully resolved based on the UN Charter, relevant UN Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements.”
At the UN Security Council, India abstained from Russia’s resolution seeking investigation of alleged bioweapons in Ukraine, installed in collaboration with the US. Indian diplomat A Amarnath reaffirmed India’s commitment to the Biological Weapons Convention. Only China voted with Russia.
While prosecutors blamed the Oreva Group, which renovated the suspension bridge in Gujarat’s Morbi which collapsed, taking 130 lives, one of the accused, a representative of Oreva, said in court that it was the “will of God”. Contractors had installed heavier flooring on the 150-year-old bridge but did not replace a rusty main cable. They were not qualified to carry out such jobs, the prosecution told a court. The probe has also ow reached the bureaucrats who selected the company for the job.
The government has failed those who were harmed by the Covid-19 vaccine, reports Scroll. More than 89,000 individuals suffered adverse reactions, of whom 1,148 died. The government’s inefficient response left families without information or support.
Families of over 73% of the doctors who died of Covid-19 contracted on duty are yet to get compensation under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package, as per an RTI reply. According to the Indian Medical Association (IMA), more than 1,800 doctors were taken by Covid. Families of only 428 healthcare workers have received compensation, the Central government has admitted.
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India recorded extreme weather events on 88% of days this year, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) reports. Between January 1 and September 30, such events claimed 2,755 lives and affected 1.8 million hectares of crops. There were natural disasters almost every day in the first nine months of 2022, and the highest toll was in Himachal Pradesh. The report says that the official data is inadequate and does not show the extent of loss and damage.
The arrest of an Indian climate activist in Egypt has renewed alarm about the country’s human rights record as it prepares to host the Cop27 UN climate summit, reports The Guardian. Ajit Rajagopal, an Indian architect and activist, was arrested on Sunday shortly after setting off on an eight-day walk from Cairo to Sharm el-Sheikh, part of a global campaign to raise climate awareness. Rajagopal’s friend was also arrested but released, but concerns remain.
Killers of journalists continue to get away with murder, according to the 2022 Global Impunity Index. Pakistan and India are at the 10th and 11th spot.
The Supreme Court has come down hard on the Centre over “sealed covers” in the MediaOne channel ban case. It said that even persons detained under the National Security Act are given reasons.
Unilever CEO Alan Jope has called out economic stress in rural areas during a conference call with investors, attributing flagging consumption, especially in rural India, to inflation. Rural demand for FMCGs has been low for six quarters, and now distributors are being forced to increase the credit period of retailers, while ordering less themselves.
An internal study commissioned by the Ministry of Rural Development has argued for decentralising MGNREGA for more “flexibility”. The sixth Common Review Mission surveyed seven States — Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Nagaland, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh — and the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir in February. “Instead of listing types of permissible works, broad categories of works may be listed out and flexibility should be given at ground level to select,” the study noted.
An accused cannot be forced to reveal the password of seized electronic devices, held a Special CBI Court in Delhi. Judge Naresh Kumar Laka stated that it goes against the protection from self-incrimination under Article 20(3). In this case, a computer was seized by the CBI from the accused and sent to a Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CSFL) and the agency sought the court’s direction to the accused to disclose its password.
Around 120 Scheduled Caste families in Tandavankulam village of Mayiladuthurai district have halted an attempt to build an untouchability wall. The landlord, who is a Vanniyar, an intermediate caste, has tried to raise an eight-foot wall bordering Anna Nagar, where the people of the oppressed community have lived for decades. Besides, the landlord denied selling the land to the SC community members, in yet another case of caste discrimination. Further, the public road used by the people to access the school, ration shop, panchayat office and temple has been closed on pretext of a real estate business imperative. The Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front (TNUEF) has sought stringent action against discriminatory practices across the state.
AirAsia Aviation Group Ltd has entered into an agreement to sell its remaining equity shares in AirAsia India to Air India. AirAsia India was a joint venture between Tata Sons (83.67%) and Air Asia Investment Ltd (16.33%). In June, the Competition Commission of India approved full acquisition by Air India.
“Ignoring the theatrical revenue stream is difficult as it is very high and remains the largest business model, contributing over 65% of a film’s revenue. The fear that the theatrical business will go to streaming platforms is unfounded,” says Ashish Saksena, Hindi film industry veteran and BookMyShow’s COO, Cinemas.
Ela Bhatt (89), renowned Gandhian and founder of Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), passed away in Ahmedabad yesterday following a brief illness. A board member of the Sabarmati Ashram Preservation and Memorial Trust, Ela Bhatt was honoured with the Padma Bhushan and Padma Shree, and was a Rajya Sabha MP.
The Hindu addresses an important question: Why are wedding quizzes becoming popular?
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