What Net Zero By 2070 Means; In Goa, Kejriwal Dons BJP’s B-team Jersey

Facebook whistleblower on Reddit India on Saturday, agencies’ witch hunt continues in Maharashtra, volunteer-driven Covid portal passes baton, and Haile Selassie’s forgotten Kerala connection

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
November 2, 2021

Pratik Kanjilal

Counting of votes in bypolls in 13 states and a Union Territory is underway. In West Bengal, the Trinamool Congress has taken a clear lead in all four Assembly constituencies. 

The Union government has ordered the deployment of an additional 50 companies or about 5,000 central paramilitary forces in Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of violence, bringing into question the rationale for stripping Jammu and Kashmir of special status, and claims about improved law and order. Thirty companies are being deployed in Srinagar alone, adding to the nearly 70,000 CRPF personnel already deployed in J&K for counter-terror operations. October has been the deadliest month in the Union Territory with 44 dead, including 19 militants, 13 civilians and 12 security personnel. In addition, a new ‘State Investigation Agency’ has now been created to handle terrorist offences - further indication that existing security arrangements have been found wanting.

“USCIRF is concerned about ongoing violence in Tripura against Muslims, which some regard as retaliation for attacks against Hindus in Bangladesh last month. The Indian government must stop violence against religious communities,” US Commission on International Religious Freedom Chair Nadine Maenza has said. Commissioner Anurima Bhargava adds, “USCIRF is particularly alarmed about reports from Tripura of mobs desecrating mosques and torching properties of Muslims. The Indian government must bring those responsible for instigating and engaging in religious violence to justice.”

A footpath vendor in Aligarh was forced to chant “Jai Sri Ram” by a father and son. UP Police arrested the duo yesterday but suggested that they are mentally unstable. The victim’s relations, however, said they are known religious fanatics.

Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani, accompanied by local Dalits, entered the sanctum sanctorum of a temple at Varnu village in Kutch’s Rapar taluka yesterday after he received complaints that Dalits were denied entry. He was in Kutch to meet survivors who were attacked recently for entering a village temple at Ner village.

Stocks of di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) and muriate of potash (MOP) have depleted to a third of levels a year ago, even as rabi planting begins. Rabi demand for fertilisers peaks in November-December, when wheat and onions are sown.

India faces a serious employment crisis. Manufacturing jobs continue to decline though producers recorded the strongest improvement in overall operating conditions since February, and business optimism supposedly hit a six-month high. CMIE’s Index of Consumer Sentiment rose 2.1% in October, up for the fourth straight month. But it still is at 59.4, 44% below the pre-pandemic level of 105.3 in February 2020.

In Diwali week, the government yesterday raised the price of commercial LPG by Rs 266 per cylinder, targeting commercial establishments including confectioners. Households have been spared, but the impact will be felt widely. Petrol and diesel prices were raised, too, and are at record highs. 

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The Madras High Court quashed a Tamil Nadu law enacted earlier by the AIADMK-led government providing internal reservation of 10.5% to Vanniyars under the category of Most Backward Community. Since caste was the sole basis, it was ultra vires of the Constitution. 

Covid-19 deaths worldwide crossed 5 million yesterday. The BBC notes that India is at number three, with 458,437 deaths. But health experts believe these “numbers are under-reported, partly because of deaths at home and in rural communities.”

The central agencies’ targeting of Opposition leaders continues. Former Maharashtra home minister and senior NCP leader Anil Deshmukh was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) last night. Deshmukh is close to NCP leader Sharad Pawar and also Praful Patel. The ED said Deshmukh has been arrested under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, as he was evasive during questioning. Today, under the Benami Act, the IT department attached property worth Rs 1,000 crore connected to Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar

As a climate action plan is negotiated at COP26 in Glasgow, Kerala’s citizens are getting together in rural and semi-urban regions to discuss the fallout of climate change — over cups of tea. These gatherings are called Climate Cafés.

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