US Expects Greater Indian Role in South China Sea; Modi in White House and Cairo Mosque Illustrates His Muslim Problem
Congress questions process for drone deal, Rahul Gandhi stopped in Manipur, Mizoram seeks finance for refugees, Atiqur Rahman ‘punished for being Muslim’, Asha Puthli recording 11th album this summer
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 29, 2023
After PM Modi popped the question in Bhopal, two of the 15 parties which attended the Opposition meet in Patna have said yes to a universal civil code, but not without reservations ― the Shiv Sena (Uddhav) and the Aam Aadmi Party. AAP says it is a constitutional requirement but since the move would involve all faiths, more discussion is necessary. Sanjay Raut said the Sena had always supported the UCC, but “Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s latest campaign is a political stunt aimed at the next general elections and not a sincere exercise to bring the UCC. In view of his remarks, we will have to deliberate on the issue.”
Rahul Gandhi’s convoy in Manipur, en route from Imphal to Churachandpur, was stopped by police at Bishnupur due to ‘security concerns’ over a possible ‘grenade attack’. “I do not know why the police are not allowing us. Rahul Gandhi's visit is to meet the affected people only. We travelled around 20-25 km but there was no road blockage anywhere… I do not know who has instructed the local police,” Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal told ANI. Gandhi was travelling to meet people displaced by the ethnic strife. He will now go to Churachandpur by helicopter.
The government’s action has attracted the attention of memesters:
Hearing a PIL filed by NGOs Lok Adhikar Sangh and Minority Coordination Committee seeking action against police personnel who allegedly flogged Muslim men in Junagadh town following stone-pelting, the Gujarat High Court has issued notice to the state government. The incident followed a protest on the night of June 16 after the municipality served a demolition notice on the Majewadi Gate Dargah if it could not produce ownership papers ― which many old community properties do not have. Muslim men from the area were lined up before their shrine and flogged, and their homes were ransacked by the police. The Home Department, the police superintendent, director general and inspector general have been made respondents to the PIL.
In Maharashtra, man-animal conflict has triggered man-man conflict. Hours after a villager was killed by a tiger in Bhandara district, a team of forest officials sent to capture it was attacked by angry villagers. An assistant conservator of forests and two forest guards were injured and are being treated in a Nagpur hospital.
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Food prices are rising across India ― especially that of tomatoes, which are in the region of Rs 100 in some places. The government blames it on seasonal factors, but it shows that retail inflation is far from tamed.
Ahead of polls in Chhattisgarh, the Congress has forcefully buried the hatchet between Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and his rival within the party TS Singh Deo by appointing the latter deputy chief minister.
For the first time since 2010, India has not featured in a report by the United Nations Secretary General on countries with child soldiers. Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria, Pakistan and the Philippines remain on the list. India has been taken off the list for better protection of children in Jammu and Kashmir who were earlier involved with insurgents and were the target of action by the security forces, including torture. The Indian government attributes it to proper application of the Juvenile Justice Act in the region, and institutional infrastructure for child welfare.
The Bombay High Court has told the Reserve Bank of India to consider the suggestions of an expert committee appointed by the Delhi High Court to make banknotes and coins visually-challenged friendly. Coins had distinctive shapes decades ago, perhaps as an aid to the illiterate, but not any more. The size and width of currency notes across denominations is also almost identical.
Atiqur Rahman, the scholar and activist arrested along with Siddique Kappan, who was travelling to Hathras to report on the rape and murder of a Dalit woman, is finally out on bail after having spent almost three years in jail, pending trial. The Allahabad High Court noted while granting him bail in a money laundering case that the only allegation against him was that Rs 5,000 was deposited in his account by someone who wasn’t even accused in the case. Rahman recounts fearing for his life during his 32 months in jail. He says he was “punished for being a Muslim”.
The White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) has condemned the online harassment of Wall Street Journal reporter Sabrina Siddiqui, who was one of two journalists called to ask Modi a question in his first unscripted encounter with the press since 2015. WHCA president Tamara Keith noted that “in a democracy, journalists shouldn’t be targeted simply for doing their jobs.” The day before, the White House had denounced the targeted attacks after another reporter brought it up at a press briefing.
British PM Rishi Sunak has honoured World War II British Indian Army veteran Rajindar Singh Dhatt, aged 101, with the Points of Light Award, which honours role models of communities.
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