Wrestlers Allege They Were Manhandled by Delhi Cops at Jantar Mantar; High Court Stays Caste-Based Survey in Bihar, Tells Govt Not to Share Data
No All India Radio now, Times Group owners seek funds for division, caste bias at IIMC, Congress win in Karnataka can forge opposition unity, aerial bombing on Bastar villages?
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Snapshot of the day
May 4, 2023
In a new low, the wrestlers protesting against the alleged sexual harassment by Wrestling Federation of India chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh were manhandled by a group of drunk Delhi Police personnel at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on Wednesday night when they wanted to bring in foldable cots for their night stay. They say the cops began acting inappropriately with them and even physically abused the female wrestlers. “The mattresses got wet due to rain so we were bringing folding beds for sleeping, but the police did not allow that. Drunk policeman Dharemendra abused wrestler Vinesh Phogat and got involved in a scuffle with us,” former wrestler Rajveer said. Vinesh Phogat alleged that a drunk policeman assaulted her brother and that another police officer shoved her and Sangeeta Phogat. Independent journalist Sakshi Joshi tweeted that policemen took her into custody, shoved her, tore her clothes and snatched her camera.
The Patna high court on Thursday stayed the caste-based survey being conducted by the Nitish Kumar-led Bihar government. Hearing a bunch of petitions, a division bench of Chief Justice K Vinod Chandran and Justice Madhuresh Prasad directed the government to immediately stop the survey and ensure that the data already collected are secured and not shared with anybody till the final orders are passed. While the Centre had turned down the demand for such a survey, the survey ordered by the state government had the support of all the parties in the state. The first round of the survey was conducted between January 7 and 21. The second round started on April 15 and was supposed to continue till May 15.
There is nothing called All India Radio now. In one fell swoop, aka “satellite message”, the Modi government’s I&B ministry has ordered all Prasar Bharati centres in India to replace the name “All India Radio” with “Akashvani”. So, the next radio bulletin you listen to in English on the government-run service will begin with the announcement “This is Akashvani”, not “This is All India Radio”.
Bastar villagers have been alleging aerial bombing by security forces. In April, the Maoists released a press statement alleging that in the season when people collect mahua, “surprise bombing and firing from the air is causing fear and forcing them to run to save their lives”. What is the truth? Arunabh Saikia travelled deep inside a forest in southern Chhattisgarh to investigate the allegations.
The April 21 judgment of the special court in Gujarat that acquitted all 67 accused, including former state minister Maya Kodnani and the VHP’s Babu Bajrangi, in the killing of 11 Muslims in the 2002 post-Godhra-riots case in Naroda Gam blames the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team for conducting a “biased inquiry”. A copy of the 1,728-page judgment was made available on Tuesday. The court said the presence of the main accused at the site of the crime and the criminal conspiracy angle had not been proved during the inquiry undertaken by the SIT. “The major witnesses’ accounts of the incident’s timing and complicity were judged to be inconsistent and incoherent. The witnesses were unable to effectively defend their decision to withhold the identity of the accused from the local police. Additionally, the prosecution’s claim that there was a ‘private shooting’ at the Naroda crime scene was not proven.”
Samir Jain and Vineet Jain, the brothers who own the Times Group, one of India’s largest media conglomerates, have initiated talks with financiers to fund a partition of the group, Bloomberg reports, quoting “people familiar with the matter”. The funds raised will be used by the brother who gets the newspaper publishing business, the largest by revenue, to pay the other after accounting for other assets received, the people told the news agency. The duo have been working on carving out the sprawling group, which runs the Times of India, the Economic Times, Times Now and a host of other media and non-media businesses, between them in a mediated manner over the past year.
A Delhi court issued summons to the BBC, Wikimedia Foundation and US-based Internet Archive on Wednesday on a defamation suit filed by one Binay Kumar Singh of the BJP over the BBC documentary India: The Modi Question, related to the 2002 Gujarat riots, which was critical of Narendra Modi. The irony was palpable as the summons were issued on the World Press Freedom Day.
The Bombay high court has said that the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (Pocso) was not enacted to punish minors in romantic or consensual relationships. Noting from the statement of the girl’s mother that the relationship was consensual, the court of Justice Anuja Prabhudessai granted bail to a 23-year-old man booked for kidnapping and raping a minor girl.
The Caravan magazine has won the 2023 Shorenstein Journalism Award, sponsored by Stanford’s Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, which says the long-form narrative journalism magazine wins the honour for “its steadfast coverage that champions accountability and media independence in the face of India's democratic backsliding”.
Banning the Internet has become the default option of governments during agitations. The BJP-led Manipur government on Wednesday imposed a ban on mobile internet services across the state for five days following reports of clashes in various parts of the northeastern state. The decision was made on a day when thousands of people participated in a solidarity march organised by tribal groups in each of the state’s ten hill districts to protest against a plan to classify the dominant Meitei population as a Scheduled Tribe.
An excerpt from Tania Branigan’s recently published book Red Memory: The Afterlives of China’s Cultural Revolution reads: “The years of double-digit growth were what happens when an economy has been held back, and a demographic bump offers cheap labour, and hundreds of millions take their chance to claw their way out of poverty. It was not a secret Beijing had discovered.”
Indian-American business leader Ajay Banga was on Wednesday formally appointed the next president of the World Bank for a term of five years by the bank’s executive directors. Banga, a former Mastercard Inc chief, currently serves as vice chairman at General Atlantic. In February, US President Joe Biden announced that the US would be nominating Banga, 63, to lead the World Bank as he is “well equipped” to lead the global institution at “this critical moment in history”. Banga is the first-ever Indian-American and Sikh-American to head either the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank.
The Supreme Court has ruled it will be inappropriate to order the government to commute the death sentence of Balwant Singh Rajoana, who is serving a life sentence for the 1995 murder of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh, in the face of the Union home ministry’s conclusion that a decision on the mercy petition at this time will jeopardise national security.
At a time when there are state-sponsored attempts to rewrite history and the past and a growing disengagement to learn from it, the lingering question is: What is the future of the museum? Romila Thapar reminds us why the past needs to be understood in context. Read an excerpt from her book The Future in the Past: Essays and Reflections here.