Wrestlers Win Bout With Government; Coromandel Express Back On Tracks But Systemic Risks Remain
School boards are epic fail, Kuki-Zomi MLAs get notice, possession and transportation of cows not offences: Allahabad HC, 158 districts still have manual scavenging, homoeopathy research top secret
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 8, 2023
The Privilege and Ethics Committee of the Manipur Assembly has show-caused the 10 Kuki-Zomi MLAs who had demanded a separate administration for a group of ethnic communities after brutal ethnic violence in the state. The Hindu has reported that the Committee has asked for an explanation from the MLAs as to why they made the demand and have set June 16 as the deadline for them to respond. As The Wire had reported before, the MLAs had urged the Union government to carve out a “separate administration” under the Indian constitution and let people from their community “live peacefully as neighbours with the state of Manipur”. They had also met Union home minister Amit Shah to forward this demand. The clashes in Manipur had begun following a court’s direction to the government to consider the majority Meitei community Scheduled Tribe status. In what seems to be the “double engine sarkar” of the BJP, is anyone at the top in charge to ensure that the ethnic divides are not further aggravated? How will converting grievances into permanent enmity lead to a political solution?
The South China Morning Post says that despite a bilateral meet between Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Narendra Modi which concluded a series of trade deals, relations with Nepal will remain rocky because core issues important for the Himalayan country have not been addressed.
The government is on the way to blaming human error for the rail disaster in Odisha. A signals technician at Bahanaga Bazar station apparently short-circuited the fail-safe protocol, which depends on physical processes like memos and lock-and-key security, to swing the Coromandel Express to a loop line. A switch to two-factor authentication is being considered to improve safety. However, most derailments ― which this accident was ― are attributed to poor track maintenance due to excessive traffic. Doctors in Bhubaneswar are having a difficult time collecting DNA samples from damaged and swollen bodies from Friday’s triple-train accident in Balasore and preserving the samples for investigating agencies. Further, 89 bodies from the crash await identification at AIIMS Bhubaneswar, The Hindu reports.
And yet, another rail mishap was averted on Tuesday evening in the same railway zone on the Jharkhand-Bengal border. A tractor crashed into the Santaldih railway crossing on the Bhojudih-Santaldih section under the Adra division of South Eastern Railway as the gate was being closed, and a portion of the tractor colliding with a coach of the New Delhi-Bhubaneswar Rajdhani Express. In another instance, a goods train was derailed in Assam’s Kamrup district and 20 wagons laden with coal jumped the tracks at Singra near Boko. At least seven labourers were killed and one critically injured in Odisha’s Jajpur Keonjhar Road railway station after being run over by a goods train on Wednesday. In a world far removed from the Vishwaguru-tier showmanship of bullet trains and Vande Bharat routes, negligence and callousness continue to rule the railways.
The Financial Times looks at the gap between new line construction and track renewal in railways, which persist despite modernisation.
The Army has approached the Railways to resume the facility of attaching ‘Army Compartments’ that allow uniformed forces to travel without reservation in specific trains. The facility was stopped during the pandemic.
There have been nine incidents of communal violence in four months in Maharashtra. The latest was triggered by social media posts about Tipu Sultan. Posters of Aurangzeb have also raised tensions. Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has said that the “glorification” of these Muslim rulers will not be tolerated. Sounds like state policy?
Let secularism have the last word? Certainly not in our times.
In The Indian Express, Mihir Vasavda reports that following a six-hour meeting between the protesting wrestlers and sports Minister Anurag Thakur, it is agreed that the Wrestling Federation of India will be swept clean at the next organisation election, which no family member of BJP MP Brij Bhushan Singh will be allowed to contest. The opinion of the protesting wrestlers will be sought in making key appointments. The poll is due by June 30.