The arrest of journalist Mohammed Zubair in Delhi is pettiness, vengeance and repression let loose on a society once aspiring to be free. It is also a distillation of the way in which the Narendra Modi government draws energy from a thorough contempt for liberty, decency, constitutional values, and the opinion of the international community. The arrest comes just as the PM was singing paeans to Indian democracy in Munich, milking the Emergency way past its political expiry date and signing protocols on free speech. It is a reminder to the world that with this regime, you have to vigilantly watch what it does and not be duped by what it says.Let us look at the larger political and institutional context of this story. The outfit that Mohammed Zubair helped run, Alt News, did sterling service for India’s democracy, holding onto the now elusive idea that facts might matter. His courage has been an inspiration. He brought to our attention the fact that Nupur Sharma, a high office-bearer of the ruling BJP, had engaged in a speech about Prophet Mohammed that could only be considered vile. There were communal riots in the wake of that speech and international condemnation of India. This column had argued that what made Nupur Sharma’s speech dangerous was that it expressed the sentiments of the ruling party (‘Beware of half victories’, IE, June 8). She should have been politically punished. But liberals should have resisted calling for her arrest and using FIRs because, in the long run, such moves only serve to weaken the free speech regime, and it makes the protection of free speech open to competitive communal mobilisation.Zubair’s arrest sends several messages. First, it is pure revenge, through and through. It was a matter of time before the Modi government unleashed a politics of revenge in the wake of its international humiliation. Second, the purpose is to keep the free speech debate hostage to communal politics. That he has been allegedly arrested for a 2018 tweet, which used a trope about a hotel from an old Hindi film, might make this case seem farcical. Surely, you might say, this case cannot be serious? But the purpose is to create a narrative of victimhood that our free speech regime allows Hindu gods to be mocked but not the Prophet. The farcical nature of the charge is designed to play on that card.It might be pointed out that many purveyors of hate speech in the ruling party, even those who have directly incited violence, roam free. The government is selective in who it targets using Section 153 of the IPC. But this selectivity has its political functions. It underscores the point that the majority can act with impunity. Ministers can incite violence without consequence, but how dare a Zubair raise his voice? These arrests give wind to the fantasy of majoritarian impunity and privilege. Finally, it is common knowledge that Zubair’s crime was not mocking Hindu gods. It was to stand steadfast on one thing that makes this government tremble with fear and rage — facts. Perhaps Zubair will be lucky and a judge with an iota of professional competence will see through the farce of his arrest. But the signal is clear.This arrest has to be seen as part of the larger pattern of arbitrariness and repression: ED and CBI raids, whenever political convenient, the use of UAPA charges against innocent students, the communally targeted bulldozing of properties, the control over the media, the use of vigilante violence, and the complete decimation of all independent institutions. PM Modi rightly and vehemently objects to the Emergency. But it almost seems as if his charge is that, as bad as the Emergency was, it was not done right: It did not have the kind of insidiousness, communal charge, slow torture that this regime aspires to.But this repression of liberty is aided by wider complicity. This column had once used the phrase judicial barbarism (‘Lordships and masters,’ IE November 18, 2020) to describe the conduct of India’s highest court. Now, in retrospect, the term judicial was superfluous in that description. It still suggested some deference to judicial form, some procedure, some fig leaf of a rule by law, if not rule of law. But the conduct of the Supreme Court over the last few days has only underscored the fact that in many cases, calling its proceedings judicial is to cut it too much slack. The Court may have had its reasons to decide the Zakia Jafri case the way it did. But to unleash the might of the state on the petitioners who have been fighting an almost lone legal battle to get justice to the victims of the Gujarat riots; to convict them without a trial is a new and chilling precedent. Even if one grants, for argument’s sake, mistakes on the petitioner’s part, what the Court is licensing is nothing but revenge against those seeking justice.Then there is the farce being played out over the Maharashtra Assembly, where the Court has just committed full-blown murder of the Tenth Schedule and the anti-defection law. It has muddied the Speaker’s powers; it has in effect given the BJP what it wanted — more time to horse trade. But what links the cases — Zubair, the Gujarat petitioners, and the Maharashtra Assembly episode – is a complete inversion of justice. Facts are crimes, seeking justice is a sin and democracy is best served by judicial arbitrariness.But these cases are not likely to evoke much public response. Amongst the well-meaning people, there is still a tendency to see these cases as exceptional, the deviations that scar but do not challenge the basic constitutional scheme. We will go through the motions as if our institutions still provide a conduit for constitutional argument and justice. If we are lucky, an occasional brave judge might give a Zubair relief and we can all go through our lives with a clean conscience, even as the system collapses around us.But more ominously, there will be celebrations of this state impunity, there will be cheering for communalism, and triumphal assertions that liberals are worse than tyrants. The Emergency in 1975 was repressive, but it did not dull our intellects, eviscerate our conscience, or extinguish our fighting spirit. The Supreme Court accused activists of keeping the pot boiling. For once, the Court, like the government, knows what it is talking about: boiling. Between them, they have burnt democracy, liberty and secular political values to death. All that remains is the burnt embers, emitting the stench of tyranny. Zubair is the latest victim. There will be countless more.The writer is contributing editor, The Indian Express
As a major political turmoil roiled Maharashtra with an intra-Shiv Sena power struggle pushing the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government to the brink, the country’s leading Urdu newspapers provided its saturation coverage in their news and commentary pages. In their reporting and analysis, they also focused on the July 18 Presidential election, with the ruling BJP-led NDA naming a tribal leader and ex-Jharkhand governor Droupadi Murmu as their Presidential candidate and the Opposition picking former Union minister Yashwant Sinha as its nominee for the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The dailies also reported extensively on the Supreme Court’s dismissal of Zakia Jafri’s appeal challenging the SIT’s clean chit to the then chief minister Narendra Modi and others in the 2002 Gujarat riots, spotlighting the subsequent arrests of activist-journalist Teesta Setalvad and ex-DGP RB Sreekumar.Roznama Rashtriya SaharaIn its editorial on June 25 on the Presidential poll, the Kolkata edition of Roznama Rashtriya Sahara writes that the BJP-led NDA’s Presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu has a clear edge over the Opposition’s nominee Yahswant Sinha. It points out that the NDA is first off the blocks in the Presidential race to clinch the advantage for Murmu, who filed her nomination papers before the Returning Officer, the Rajya Sabha Secretarty General, in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, her first proposer, and a slew of senior ministers, chief ministers, and other BJP leaders. Describing her candidature as “historic” as she will be the first tribal to become the President of India, the daily says it cannot be denied that the NDA’s multiple initiatives, from nominating Murmu to making various moves to boost her prospects, have placed her in a commanding position in the fray.The daily says the BJP has evidently done all its political calculations when it picked Murmu as its Presidential face, even as the saffron party is aware that several regional parties will also help it send Murmu to the Rashtrapati Bhavan. States like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh will have Assembly elections over the next one-and-a-half years. “These states account for 128 Scheduled Tribes-reserved seats, of which the BJP had won only 35 seats in the previous Assembly polls. The tribals make up about 9 per cent population of the country and still they have to wait since Independence till date to see a tribal holding the highest constitutional office. Hence, by selecting Murmu the BJP has sought to woo the tribal community,” the edit states, adding that the Naveen Patnaik-led BJD, the YSR Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSRCP and the Hemant Soren-led JMM are also set to rally behind Murmu. In sharp contrast, the Opposition camp continues to be in disarray, although it somehow managed to zero in on Sinha’s name after much struggle, it states. “And yet the Opposition is not united over Sinha’s candidature. The Presidential election could have been a golden opportunity for the Opposition to close its ranks against the BJP, but it seems to be losing the plot.”InquilabThe New Delhi edition of Inquilab on June 22, in an editorial headlined “Naujawan aur berozgari (Youth and unemployment)”, writes that by declaring that those youth who participated in anti-Agnipath protests or violence will not be recruited in the services the government lost an opportunity to take unemployed youth into confidence. “Every protester did not indulge in violence. Unfortunately, the government did not understand the sentiments of the non-violent aspirants who were upset that their preparations for long-term recruitment in the armed forces entailing pension and other benefits have turned futile,” it states. This has come at a time when the country’s youth are “disturbed” over unemployment, the editorial says. The World Economic Forum has called it “widespread youth disillusionment” that could threaten the country’s economic stability, it notes, adding that the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy has provided unemployment data pointing to the youth’s plight. “It has been long since the unemployment rate reached a 45-year high, but the government has not really taken any measures to create jobs. It is not that only those who are unemployed are troubled as they also include (1) many who are forced to be content with sub-standard or non-standard jobs or (2) those who are dissatisfied with their jobs but cannot quit in the absence of job opportunities. If the market’s job scene remains encouraging it keeps workers charged and motivated that, in turn, enhances productivity and growth. Our rulers do not want to focus on this area of concern, and this is a problem,” the daily concludes.SiasatThe Hyderabad-based daily Siasat on June 23, in an editorial headlined “Jamhuriyat ka mustaqbil kya yoga? (What will be the future of democracy?)”, writes that the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government comprising of the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress has been tottering on the brink of collapse after a Sena faction led by Eknath Shinde raised its banner of revolt against Thackeray’s leadership. It says this is not the first such rebellion as there have been multiple instances of rebel MLAs gunning for their chief ministers or leaders in states across the country. “However, such developments have been on the rise over the last eight years and the most crucial and interesting point is that in all such cases the BJP-ruled states have provided sanctuary to such rebels with the party manoeuvring to secure power in the affected state. Its examples are before our eyes, from Karnataka to Madhya Pradesh, even as there are also instances of some botched attempts in this regard,” the edit says. Then there are states where the BJP dispensation “unleashes” central agencies such as the CBI and the ED to “target and intimidate” political rivals, it charges adding that “after some of them join the saffron party all pending cases against them are put on the back burner and all their sins are whitewashed”. “This emerging trend is a serious threat to democracy in the country and may undermine its importance. If an elected government formed after the polls is routinely destabilised it would lead to en erosion in public trust in democracy… the question whether the Sena-led government survives or not is not that crucial as the fundamental issue regarding the preservation of democracy and its future,” the daily says, adding that the prevailing situation is “not a good sign” for the world’s largest democracy.Urdu TimesThe Mumbai-based daily Urdu Times on June 24 carried a front-page report on an event held at King’s College London that was attended by the Supreme Court judge Justice DY Chandrachud, who delivered a speech on the topic “Protecting human rights and preserving civil liberties: The role of courts in a democracy”. It points out that during the question-and-answer session there, Justice Chandrachud faced some tough questions from the audience on a host of issues ranging from justice delivered to India’s Muslim community through the apex court to use of bulldozers for demolition of their homes and businesses to the hijab row, to the Ayodhya verdict and the revocation of Article 370.The report says Justice Chandrachud, while answering the questions, maintained that several of these cases were pending before the top court and so he would not be able to comment on them, pointing out that being a judge imposes certain restrictions on him. He said he would refrain from commenting or critiquing the Babri Masjid case judgment, in which the apex court ruled in favour of the Ram Temple, because he was part of the Constitution Bench that gave the verdict.According to the report, Justice Chandrachud went on to say that the perception that the courts do not deal with cases of discrimination against Muslims or other minorities in India was “unfair”. Referring to the bulldozer case, he said the apex court’s vacation bench took it up and issued a notice on the matter. He further said that media and social media often did not highlight the cases pertaining to not only Muslims but also other marginalised communities that the Supreme Court has dealt with. Referring to the top court’s jurisprudence in dealing with linguistic and religious minorities, he said it has upheld their rights.Justice Chandrachud is in line to be the next Chief Justice of India in November this year for a period of two years.
The PIL will come up for hearing in due course of time.Mumbai: A public interest litigation (PIL) seeking the registration of an FIR against Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, minister Aaditya Thackeray and Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut for sedition and breach of public peace was filed in the Bombay High Court on Tuesday amid a standoff between the MVA government and the rebel Sena MLAs.The petition, filed by Pune-based social worker Hemant Patil, requested the HC to restrain the trio from making any further statements against Eknath Shinde, who is leading the dissident MLAs.The petition claimed that pursuant to the rebellion by several MLAs of Shiv Sena led by Eknath Shinde, protests have been held at various districts in Maharashtra and verbal attacks have been made against them."The Shiv Sena MLAs, who are rebelling, are camped in Assam because of the threats given by respondents 5 to 7 (Uddhav Thackeray, Aaditya Thackeray and Sanjay Raut)."Respondent No. 7 (Raut) has given a threat to all of the 40 MLAs stating that their bodies will come from Assam and will be sent directly to the morgue for postmortem. In this way all of them are creating the situation of riot and violence in the State of Maharashtra," it said.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comThe PIL will come up for hearing in due course of time. (Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
Essential key terms from the last week’s news categorised as per the relevance in the UPSC-CSE syllabus.Eco-Sensitive ZonesSyllabus—Prelims: General issues on Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialisation.Mains: GS III- EnvironmentWhy in news?—Farmers in Kerala continue to protest across several high ranges of the state against the Supreme Court’s recent order to establish 1-km Eco-Sensitive Zones around all protected areas, wildlife sanctuaries and national parks.What is Eco-Sensitive Zones?—As per the National Wildlife Action Plan (2002-2016), issued by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, land within 10 km of the boundaries of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries is to be notified as eco-fragile zones or Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZ).—While the 10-km rule is implemented as a general principle, the extent of its application can vary. Areas beyond 10-km can also be notified by the Union government as ESZs, if they hold larger ecologically important “sensitive corridors.”Why are Eco-Sensitive Zones created?—According to the guidelines issued by the Environment Ministry on February 9, 2011, ESZs are created as “shock absorbers” for the protected areas, to minimize the negative impact on the “fragile ecosystems” by certain human activities taking place nearby. Furthermore, these areas are meant to act as a transition zone from areas requiring higher protection to those requiring lesser protection.—The guidelines also state that the ESZs are not meant to hamper the daily activities of people living in the vicinity, but are meant to guard the protected areas and “refine the environment around them”.—To do so, the guidelines list the activities prohibited in an ESZ, such as commercial mining, sawmills, commercial use of wood, etc., apart from regulated activities like felling of trees. Lastly, there are permitted activities like ongoing agricultural or horticultural practices, rainwater harvesting, organic farming, among others.StagflationSyllabus—Prelims: Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc. Mains: GS III Indian Economy, Inclusive growth and associated issues/challengesWhy in news?—India is expected to witness slowing growth and faces an upside risk to the fiscal deficit owing to the recent excise duty cuts on fuel, but it has a low risk of stagflation owing to prudent stabilisation policies, the Department of Economic Affairs said in its Monthly Economic Review for May 2022.What is Stagflation?—Stagflation is a term that defines a situation characterized by a simultaneous increase in prices (inflation) and stagnation of economic growth.— Stagflation can also be defined as a period of inflation combined with a decline in the gross domestic product (GDP).— The situation may comprise of following elements-1) growth rate of the economy slows down2) the level of unemployment remains steadily high3) yet the inflation or price level remains high at the same time.White dwarfSyllabus—Prelims: Space Science, GeographyWhy in news?—Astronomers have observed for the first time a phenomenon, called, “cosmic cannibalism,” a dead star is ripping apart its planetary system. A star is ending its life so violently that the dead star left behind, called a white dwarf, is disrupting an entire planetary system by sucking in debris from both its inner and outer reaches.—The white dwarf star is consuming the rock-metallic and icy material, both of which are the “ingredients of planets”.What is a white dwarf?—A white dwarf is formed when a low-mass star like our sun exhausts most of its nuclear fuel. It is usually very dense, dim and about the size of a planet. It is the last observable stage of evolution for low- and medium-mass stars.—Compared to our sun, a white dwarf has a similar carbon and oxygen mass though it is much smaller in size — similar to Earth. White dwarf temperatures can exceed 100,000 Kelvin according to NASA. Despite having too high a temperature, white dwarfs have a low luminosity as they’re so small in size.—Where a star ends up at the end of its life depends on the mass it was born with. Stars that have a lot of mass may end their lives as black holes or neutron stars. A low or medium mass star (with a mass less than about 8 times the mass of our Sun) will become a white dwarf. A typical white dwarf is about as massive as the Sun, yet only slightly bigger than the Earth. This makes white dwarfs one of the densest forms of matter, surpassed only byneutron stars and black holes.What else you should know?—This case of cosmic cannibalism was diagnosed with the help of archival data from the Hubble Space Telescope and other NASA observatories.—The researchers obtained the findings based on the analysis of material captured by the atmosphere of the nearby white dwarf star G238-44.Boyfriend loopholeSyllabus— Prelims: Current events of international importance and social issuesWhy in news?—US senators reached a bipartisan deal on gun safety measures. The reform outline includes a significant provision to address the ‘boyfriend loophole’.What is the boyfriend loophole?—It refers to a gap in American federal and some state gun laws that allow access to guns by dating abusers.—The new plan on gun safety measures includes a provision to address what is known as the “boyfriend loophole”.—It would prohibit dating partners- not just spouses- from owning guns if they had been convicted of domestic violence.—The framework says that convicted domestic violence abusers and individuals subject to domestic violence restraining orders would be included in criminal background checks.G7Syllabus—Prelims: Current events of national and international importance.Mains: GS II – Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting the Indian interestsWhy in news?—Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in Germany to attend the Group of Seven (G7) Summit at Schloss Elmau, a century-old retreat in a nature reserve in the Bavarian Alps.What is G7?—The G7 is an informal forum of leading industrialised nations, which include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. Representatives of the European Union are always present at the annual meeting of the heads of state and government of the G7. Germany holds the presidency of the G7 in 2022. Japan will be president in 2023.What else you should know about G7?—As of 2022, G7 countries make up 10% of the world’s population, 31% of global GDP, and 21% of global carbon dioxide emissions, according to the Summit website. China and India, the two most populous countries with among the largest GDP figures in the world, are not part of the grouping.—In all G7 countries, annual public sector expenditure exceeded revenue in 2021. Most G7 countries also had a high level of gross debt, especially Japan (263% of GDP), Italy (151%) and the US (133%).—The G7 countries are important players in global trade. The US and Germany in particular are major export nations. Both sold goods worth well over a trillion US dollars abroad in 2021.Title IXSyllabus—Prelims: Current events of national and international importanceWhy in news?—Title IX, the law best known for its role in gender equity in athletics and preventing sexual harassment on campuses, is turning 50.What is Title IX?—Title IX, the law best known for its role in gender equity in athletics and preventing sexual harassment on campuses, is turning 50.—It was signed into law by President Richard Nixon on June 23, 1972, after being shepherded through Congress in part by Rep. Patsy Mink, a Democrat from Hawaii who was the first woman of color elected to the U.S. House.—The law forbids discrimination based on sex in education, and despite its age remains a vital piece in the ongoing push for equality, including in the LGBTQ community.Roe v. WadeSyllabus—Prelims: Current events of national and international importanceWhy in news?—The United States Supreme Court on Friday (June 24) overturned by a 6-3 majority ‘Roe v. Wade’, the court’s landmark 1973 judgment that made abortion a constitutional right.What is ‘Roe v. Wade’?—The case is sometimes referred to simply as “Roe”, the listed name of the 22-year-old plaintiff, Norma McCorvey. ‘Wade’ was the defendant Henry Wade, the Dallas County (Texas) district attorney at the time.—‘Roe’ struck down laws that made abortion illegal in several states, and ruled that abortion would be allowed up to the point of foetal viability, that is, the time after which a foetus can survive outside the womb.—Foetal viability was around 28 weeks (7 months) at the time of the ‘Roe’ judgment nearly 50 years ago; experts now agree that advances in medicine have brought the threshold down to 23 or 24 weeks (6 months or a little less), and newer studies show this could be further pegged at 22 weeks. An average pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks.—Foetal viability is often seen as the point at which the rights of the woman can be separated from the rights of the unborn foetus. The length of a pregnancy is commonly calculated from the start of a person’s most recent menstrual period. Since many people identify pregnancy only after the sixth week, pre-viability timelines leave women with very little time and opportunity to make a decision to abort.—Abortion laws across the world rely on this metric but those opposing abortions argue that this is an arbitrary timeframe that legislation and the court in ‘Roe’ adopted.Anti-defection lawSyllabus—Prelims- Indian Polity and Governance – Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.Mains- GS II Parliament and State legislatureWhy in news?— The unfolding political crisis in Maharashtra has thrown the spotlight on the anti-defection law.What is anti-defection law?— The anti-defection law punishes individual Members of Parliament (MPs)/MLAs for leaving one party for another.— Parliament added it to the Constitution as the Tenth Schedule in 1985. Its purpose was to bring stability to governments by discouraging legislators from changing parties.— The Tenth Schedule – popularly known as the Anti-Defection Act – was included in the Constitution via the 52 nd Amendment Act, 1985 and sets the provisions for disqualification of elected members on the grounds of defection to another political party. However, it allows a group of MP/MLAs to join (i.e. merge with) another political party without inviting the penalty for defection. And it does not penalise political parties for encouraging or accepting defecting legislators.—As per the 1985 Act, defection by one-third of the elected members of a political party was considered a merger. But the 91 st Constitutional Amendment Act, 2003, changed this and now at least two-thirds of the members of a party have to be in favour of merger to have validity in the eyes of the law.—The members disqualified under the law can stand for elections from any political party for a seat in the same House.—The decision on questions as to disqualification on ground of defection are referred to the Chairman or the Speaker of such House, which is subject to ‘Judicial review’.—However, the law does not provide a time-frame within which the presiding officer has to decide a defection case.What are the grounds of disqualification?—If an elected member voluntarily gives up his membership of a political party.—If he votes or abstains from voting in such House contrary to any direction issued by his political party or anyone authorised to do so, without obtaining prior permission.—As a pre-condition for his disqualification, his abstention from voting should not be condoned by his party or the authorised person within 15 days of such incident.—If any independently elected member joins any political party. If any nominated member joins any political party after the expiry of six months.—No Recognition of Split: Due to the 91st amendment, the anti-defection law created an exception for anti-defection rulings.— However, the amendment does not recognise a ‘split’ in a legislature party and instead recognises a ‘merger’.
MUMBAI: With the state’s political situation fluid, the BJP’s Mumbai unit has begun mobilising its cadre “for all eventualities”. On Sunday, the party’s 16 MLAs, five MLCs and members of Parliament held a meeting of 500 office bearers in every assembly constituency, laying the ground work for the developments the coming days may see. Party workers were cautioned not to be overenthusiastic as the fight was between two Shiv Sena groups and the BJP had nothing to do with it. “The executive committee meeting was held in all 36 assembly constituencies in the city. The MLAs held the meeting in their assembly constituencies and the MLCs and MPs in those constituencies where the party does not have MLAs. The BMC elections were discussed as also how to tackle violence if any,” sources said. Party workers have been told to gather in large numbers at the airport on July 3 when the rebel MLAs are slated to arrive from Guwahati, said sources. “With violence that is spreading and the language being used by Sena leaders, we have to be prepared,” they added. On Sunday, members of the party’s state core committee met at the residence of opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis to discuss future strategy. Among those present were state BJP president Chandrakant Patil and MLAs Girish Mahajan and Ashish Shelar. Another MLA Sudhir Mungantiwar attended the meeting virtually. Sources said no decision had been taken on the BJP staking a claim to form the government in Maharashtra. On reports that rebel MLAs had demanded that Eknath Shinde be made the CM, sources said the party had no opinion on it.
Mumbai: With the state’s political situation fluid, the BJP’s Mumbai unit has begun mobilising its cadre “for all eventualities”. On Sunday, the party’s 16 MLAs, five MLCs and members of Parliament held a meeting of 500 office bearers in every assembly constituency, laying the ground work for the developments the coming days may see. Party workers were cautioned not to be overenthusiastic as the fight was between two Shiv Sena groups and the BJP had nothing to do with it. “The executive committee meeting was held in all 36 assembly constituencies in the city. The MLAs held the meeting in their assembly constituencies and the MLCs and MPs in those constituencies where the party does not have MLAs. The BMC elections were discussed as also how to tackle violence if any,” sources said.Party workers have been told to gather in large numbers at the airport on July 3 when the rebel MLAs are slated to arrive from Guwahati, said sources. “With violence that is spreading and the language being used by Sena leaders, we have to be prepared,” they added. On Sunday, members of the party’s state core committee met at the residence of opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis to discuss future strategy. Among those present were state BJP president Chandrakant Patil and MLAs Girish Mahajan and Ashish Shelar. Another MLA Sudhir Mungantiwar attended the meeting virtually. Sources said no decision had been taken on the BJP staking a claim to form the government in Maharashtra. On reports that rebel MLAs had demanded that Eknath Shinde be made the CM, sources said the party had no opinion on it.
Mumbai: Amid rising tensions between the two groups jostling for leadership in the Shiv Sena, Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has written to union home secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla requesting that adequate numbers of central security forces “be made and kept ready” in case the law and order situation in the state warrants their intervention. At least 15 Sena MLAs from the Eknath Shinde camp, including four from the city, have been provided Y+ security cover by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) amid reports of violence and protests outside their offices. Referring to "provocative statements" by Sena leaders, the governor has also written to the director general of police Rajnish Seth asking him to provide adequate police protection to the MLAs, their families and homes immediately. "Already, offices and homes of some of the MLAs have been vandalised with the police being a mute spectator," the governor's letter said.A police source said Mumbai MLAs Sada Sarvankar (Shivaji Park), Mangesh Kudalkar (Nehru Nagar), Prakash Surve (Borivili) and Dilip Lande (Sakinaka) were allocated five CRPF personnel each, to be deployed at offices and residences. The MLAs are currently in Guwahati with others from the rebel faction. Protestors had smashed a board outside Kudalkar’s office on Friday. Sainiks were also reported to have damaged posters of rebel MLAs.Anticipating more protests by Sena workers, police have beefed up security across the city. Deputy commissioners are meeting Sena shakha pramukhs in various areas to assess the situation. Home minister Dilip Walse Patil has tweeted saying “no major incident” of violence has been reported in the state. At no point was the security cover given to rebel MLAs withdrawn, he stated.In his letter to the DGP, Koshyari said he received a representation from 38 MLAs of Shiv Sena, two of Prahar Jan Shakti Party and seven independents saying police security for their families was “unlawfully withdrawn.” The letter reads: “They have also raised serious concerns about the safety of their homes and families in context of the provocative and threatening statements being made by certain political leaders. Already, offices and homes of some...MLAs have been vandalised with the police being a mute spectator. I therefore, direct you to provide adequate police protection...on an immediate basis. I may be apprised of the action taken...” Security was also tightened on Sunday at the CM’s residence and around the airport.
MUMBAI: Provocative speeches by Shiv Sena leaders and party rebels and reports of irate Sainiks holding anti-rebel demonstrations in several parts of the state indicate that street violence may aggravate the crisis that has wracked the Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government and threatens to trigger a long-drawn legal battle, said observers on Sunday. Matoshree's game plan is to browbeat Shinde and the 40-plus rebel MLAs and ministers into submission by using strong-arm tactics - the Sena's USP since the 1970s. Clearly, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray is eager to re-assert his authority and revamp the organisation ahead of the crucial BMC elections, observers added. At a Sena conclave in Dahisar on Sunday, MP Sanjay Raut likened the rebels - who are cooling their heels in Guwahati - to bulls who are sacrificed to propitiate Goddess Kamakhya, Assam's presiding deity. "We've sent 40 bulls to Assam to be slaughtered at the altar of Goddess Kamakhya. Their bodies will soon come to Mumbai," he said. Warning rebels not to mess around with Sena, Raut said, "The Shiv Sainiks proudly carry the party's jhenda (flag) on their shoulders. However, if need arises, they will stuff the flag into their pockets and pull out the danda (stick)." Sena minister Aaditya Thackeray too has taken to harsh words, or so it seems. Addressing a party conclave in Mahalaxmi on Saturday, Aaditya warned Shinde and his loyalists that they will have to face Sainiks when they arrive in Mumbai from Guwahati, and drive down to Vidhan Bhavan at Backbay Reclamation in south Mumbai. "They [the rebels] will have to pass through Dadar and Byculla where they will be welcomed by Sainiks and the party's women' wing," he had said, suggesting that the rebels may be a taught a fitting lesson by Sainiks. Aaditya, who has started touring Mumbai in a bid to resurrect the Sena activists' badly bruised morale, said the rebels escaped Mumbai last week under the cover of darkness. "But my name is Aaditya, which means the sun," he said. However, a Sena veteran said the party's rough-and-ready politics is outdated. "The party has no fire in the belly," he said. At a rally in Thane, Shinde's stronghold, Shrikant, the former's son and Sena MP from Kalyan, slammed the Sena in strongest terms. However, Shinde Sr has so far refrained from spewing venom on the Sena or CM. Meanwhile, Sainiks came out on the streets in Thane, Navi Mumbai, Pune, Palghar, Parbhani, Satara, Nagpur and Nanded. A group of Sainiks allegedly attacked the central office of Shrikant Shinde in Ulhasnagar, it is learnt. Stating that retaining the BMC and the MVA regime are the twin challenges before the Shiv Sena, a former civil servant said, "With more than 35 of its MLAs leaving the Sena, Uddhav Thackeray will flex his organisational muscle in a bid to scare the rebels into submission. Second, he will revive the party's political rhetoric which defined the Balasaheb era."
Amid the political crisis that is raging in Maharashtra, Governor B S Koshiyari has written to Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla asking him to keep central forces ready in case the law-and-order situation in the state breaks down. This comes after allegations of violence were made by the rebel Shiv Sena MLAs led by Eknath Shinde who are currently camping in Guwahati.The letter, which has been viewed by The Indian Express, was sent on June 25 when the Governor was still in hospital. In the letter, he informed Bhalla that he had asked the police to give adequate protection to the MLAs, but despite this, the cops have remained a mute spectator as offices and homes of the legislators were vandalised.The directive came after two MLAs of Prahar Jan Shakti party and seven independent MLAs — all of whom are part of the rebel group — complained that their security had been withdrawn. The Centre, however, has granted protection by central forces to all these MLAs and their families at their residences in Maharashtra.Instances of vandalism were seen when the office of Nehrunagar MLA Mangesh Kudalkar was attacked on Friday. On Saturday, the office of MLA Tanaji Sawant was ransacked in Pune and a morcha was taken to the office of Mahim MLA Sada Sarvankar. The office of Eknath Shinde’s son Shrikant Shinde, who is a Member of the Parliament, was also vandalised.The Governor, who was in the hospital on Saturday, signed a letter and sent it to Maharashtra Chief Secretary Manukumar Shrivastava, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) A M Limaye, Director General of Police Rajnish Seth and Police Commissioner Sanjay Pandey raising concerns about the safety of the families of the MLAs who are in Guwahati. He directed Shrivastava, Limaye, Seth and Pandey to give adequate police protection to the MLAs, their families and homes on an immediate basis.A senior IPS officer, however, said that the protection was never removed.Meanwhile, central forces have already arrived at their base at Taloja in Navi Mumbai. A top BJP leader said that when Eknath Shinde and the MLAs return to the city from Guwahati, the central forces would escort them to the Raj Bhavan.This comes at a time when Maharashtra Minister Aaditya Thackeray told a gathering of Shiv Sainiks to not allow the rebel MLAs to see the footsteps of the Vidhan Bhavan. He also told his followers on Sunday evening to go to houses of the MLAs to expose their falsehoods. “This CRPF security should have been given to the Kashmiri Pandits in the last few months. I am told that in the Guwahati hotel too, five CRPF jawans have been assigned for each MLA,” he added.
Mumbai: Rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde on Saturday knocked at the doors of chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, home minister Dilip Walse Patil and DGP Rajnish Seth to express concerns over the alleged withdrawal of security provided to legislators supporting him. “We are the sitting legislators. However, the security provided to us at our residence as well as to our family members as per protocol has been illegally and unlawfully withdrawn as an act of revenge. Needless to mention, the sinister move is another attempt to break our resolve and arm-twist us to give into demands of MVA government,” Shinde said in his letter. The letter was signed by 38 legislators. Dilip Walse Patil denied the charge, saying security of no legislator has been withdrawn and no such orders have been given by the home department. “Shinde’s contention is wrong. Besides security to legislators, we have asked law enforcement agencies to provide security to family members of the legislators,” Walse Patil said in a statement. Shinde said the rebel MLAs had leave Maharashtra in view of threat to their lives. “We state that not only security of our families and relatives have been compromised by removing the security personnel, but also there is an ongoing agenda wherein various leaders of the MVA government are instigating the cadres of their respective parties to take up violence to further intimidate us, which is evident from media reports,” Shinde said, quoting the statement of Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut. He also attached a link of Raut’s statement. Shinde said the impact of Raut’s statement was borne by his two members as their offices were completely vandalised by the cadres of Shiv Sena immediately after the security cover was withdrawn. “In the recent past, the same scenario had happened in Punjab, where a prominent politician was murdered after his security cover was withdrawn, I feel, Maharashtra too may witness a similar situation. If any harm is caused to our family members, then the CM, Sharad Pawar, Sanjay Raut and Aaditya Thackeray will be responsible for the same,” Shinde said. Refuting the allegations of Shinde, Walse Patil said as per rules, if the legislators leave, then the security cover provided to them go back to the barrack and they are assigned different work. “There is no politics in it, we are following the rules and protocol, there is absolutely no law-and-order problem in the state, the entire police is on high alert,” Walse Patil said.
MUMBAI: Amid ongoing political crisis in Maharashtra, rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde on Saturday alleged that Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government has withdrawn security of 38 MLAs who have joined him in Guwahati. Shinde, a minister in the Thackeray cabinet and a heavyweight from Thane district, has rebelled against the party, pushing the MVA government to the brink of collapse. The rebel Sena leader tweeted a letter undersigned by 38 MLAs alleging 'malicious withdrawal of security of family members of the 38 MLAs'. The letter said that chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Sena leaders Sanjay Raut and Aaditya Thackeray will be responsible for any harm were to come to family of MLAs. The letter also alleged that withdrawal of security is an act of revenge, attempt to break our resolve and arm twist them to give into the demands of the MVA government comprising of NCP and INC goons. The letter also referred to the withdrawal of the security in Punjab due to which high profile persons became the targets of goons and gangsters. However, Maharashtra home minister Dilip-Walse Patil clarified that no orders have been issued by the chief minister or home department to remove the security of any MLA. "The allegations are totally false and misleading," minister tweeted. राज्यातील कोणत्याही आमदाराचे संरक्षण काढण्याचे आदेश मुख्यमंत्री वा गृहविभागाने दिलेले नाहीत. या संदर्भात ट्विटरद्वा… https://t.co/0ZgfP7b8mk— HMO Maharashtra (@maharashtra_hmo) 1656136559000On Friday, addressing a meeting of Sena's district heads and others, Uddhav Thackeray said that he has left the official residence 'Varsha', but not lost his "will to fight" for the party. Slamming the rebels' leader Eknath Shinde, he recalled how he did a lot for him, yet Shinde was hurling a series of baseless allegations against the Sena and Thackeray.
Maharashtra Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil on Saturday denied claims made by rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde that the Maha Vikas Aghadi government led by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had withdrawn the security cover provided to him and other dissident MLAs camping with him in Guwahati, Assam.“There have been no orders issued either by the CM or the Home Ministry to withdraw the security of any MLA. Allegations being levelled to this effect are mischievous and false,” Patil tweeted on Saturday, hours after Shinde accused the state government of withdrawing security.राज्यातील कोणत्याही आमदाराचे संरक्षण काढण्याचे आदेश मुख्यमंत्री वा गृहविभागाने दिलेले नाहीत. या संदर्भात ट्विटरद्वारे केले जाणारे आरोप पूर्णपणे चुकीचे व दिशाभूल करणारे आहेत, असे गृहमंत्री दिलीप वळसे पाटील यांनी स्पष्ट केले. @Dwalsepatil— HMO Maharashtra (@maharashtra_hmo) June 25, 2022Shinde’s allegations were detailed in a letter to CM Thackeray, Home Minister Patil, Maharashtra DGP Rajnish Singh and all commissioners of police in the state. Tweeting this letter, he wrote, “The protection of Shiv Sena MLAs has been withdrawn by order of the Chief Minister and the Home Minister. The government is responsible for protecting them and their families.”Amid escalating political turmoil in the state, Shinde alleged the “sinister move” was aimed at breaking their resolve and pushing them to accept the demands of the MVA government. In his letter, Shinde said MVA leaders — Sharad Pawar, Uddhav Thackeray and his son Aaditya Thackeray — would be responsible if any harm is done to the family members of the rebel MLAs.Meanwhile, responding to his allegations, Sena leader Sanjay Raut said, “You are an MLA, so security has been provided to you. Your family members can’t be provided with the same.”
At least 10 incidents of violence by Shiv Sena workers against rebel MLAs have been reported across Maharashtra till 8 pm on Saturday. This comes amid the Mumbai Police extending its June 4 order of banning unlawful assembly of five or more persons in the city till July 10.While incidents of violence took place in Pune, Navi Mumbai, Parbhani, Osmanabad, Satara, Thane, Nagpur city, Nanded, Palghar and Kolhapur, a senior state police officer said that except for the cases of violence in Pune and Thane, the rest were “minor” incidents. The local police have lodged FIRs in connection to all the 10 incidents.In Pune, Sena workers attacked the office of rebel Tanaji Sawant at Katraj on Saturday. Sawant runs the Bhairavnath Sugar Work Limited Company, which has a registered office at Katraj in Pune. Vishal Dhanawde, a Sena corporator from Pune, and other party workers ransacked the Katraj office around 11 am.At Thane’s Ulhasnagar, at least five Shiv Sena supporters were detained on Saturday for allegedly pelting stones at the office of Shrikant Shinde, the Lok Sabha MP from Kalyan and the son of rebel leader Eknath Shinde.The incident took place at Shrikant’s Gol Maidan office. A video that has gone viral on the social media showed some persons throwing stones at the office, damaging a board and raising pro-Uddhav Thackeray slogans.Besides, posters of Eknath Shinde were blackened in Navi Mumbai, Nagpur and Nashik. A demonstration was also held against all rebel MLAs at Hadapsar in Pune.At Navi Mumbai and Parbhani, effigies of Eknath Shinde and other MLAs like Bharat Gogawale, Mahendra Dalvi, Mahendra Thorve and Gulabrao Patil, were burnt. At Osmanabad, while the Sena again targeted Tanaji Sawant, party workers threw chappals on Sawant’s poster in Satara.In Nagpur, Sena workers blackened and tore posters of Eknath Shinde outside his office. While at Nanded, the workers tried to burn the effigy of MLA Balaji Kalyankar, at four places of Boisar in Palghar, Sainiks threw ink on the posters of Shinde.On Friday afternoon, the Nehru Nagar police had taken local Sena leader Dilip More and 19 workers from Kurla in Mumbai into custody for damaging a board outside the office of rebel MLA Mangesh Kudalkar.The Mumbai Police, meanwhile, has stepped up security at the residences and offices of ministers, MPs, MLAs andcorporators.
Guwahati: The drama outside Radisson Blu Hotel here on Friday was as intense as the one unfolding inside on the third day since Eknath Shinde and his men started checking in to challenge Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray’s leadership.The day was marked by bouquets for Shinde and his men from ally Ramdas Bandu Athawale’s Republican Party of India and brickbats for BJP and Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma from Congress and AAP.But the one who hogged the limelight was a lone figure from Maharashtra, who identified himself as Sanjay Bhosle, deputy chief of Shiv Sena’s Satara district unit. He was carrying a placard urging Shinde to return to ‘Matoshree’.“I came here to tell him just one thing that you remember the last words of Balashaeb Thackeray to stand with Uddhav and Aditya and return. Like Shinde, I am also a diehard party worker. I want to tell Shinde that Shiv Sena has given him a lot and he should return to Matoshree,” Bhosale told the media.Bhosle was whisked away in a police vehicle to the nearest police station where he is stated to have been detained.
MAHARASHTRA GOVERNMENT has granted yet another extension to the Koregaon Bhima Commission of Inquiry. An order to this effect has been issued by the home department on June 20. As per this order, the commission has been given an extension of six months till December 31, 2022.The two-member commission, headed by retired high court judge Justice J N Patel with former chief secretary Sumit Malik as the other member, was constituted by the state government on February 9, 2018, to inquire into the “exact sequence” of events that led to violence on the 200th anniversary of Battle of Koregaon Bhima on January 1 that year. One person had died and several others were left injured in the violence.The commission was initially given four months to submit its report, but its tenure had to be repeatedly extended to allow it to complete its work. Subsequently, the commission received extensions from time to time. The Commission received a two months extension from February 8, 2020 to April 8, 2020. But due to the Covid-19 outbreak, on March 23, 2020, the commission issued a letter postponing the hearings till further notice. Meanwhile, the period of extension granted to the commission by the government expired on April 8.The commission then sought further extension of at least six months, saying that it intended to examine nearly 40 to 50 more witnesses, including police and revenue officers, and a few prominent political leaders. Accordingly, the state government gave the commission an extension till December 31, 2021. The commission then conducted hearings in Pune and Mumbai, but a few important witnesses remain to be examined. So, the panel sought another extension of six months from the state government.Then, the government again granted extension to the commission till June 30, 2022. During this period, the commission examined some witnesses including Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar. However, some important witnesses are part heard and yet to be examined.“So we submitted a status report of the commission and sought one more extension from the government. So far, examination of 38 witnesses is completed. And the commission wants to examine about 15 more witnesses. Government has granted an extension of six months till December 31, 2022. The schedule for the next hearings will be released soon,” said V V Palnitkar, secretary of the Koregaon Bhima Commission of Inquiry.On Thursday, IPS officers Vishwas Nangare Patil and Suvez Haque deposed as witnesses before the commission in Mumbai. Their examination in chief was recorded by commission’s lawyer Aashish Satpute. Currently, joint commissioner (law and order) of Mumbai police, Nangare Patil was the special inspector general of police, Kolhapur range at the time of violence in Koregaon Bhima area (in the jurisdiction of Pune rural police), which was under his supervision. Haque is currently attached to the CBI and was the superintendent (SP) of Pune rural police at the time of Koregaon Bhima violence.
TOP officers of the Maharashtra Police held meetings with commissioners and SPs across the state, asking them to be on alert in the wake of the political crisis prevailing the state. Officers have been asked to identify possible troublemakers and ensure there is no breakdown of law and order in the state.An IPS officer said, “We are concerned about any law-and-order situation in the state especially when the rebel faction comes to the state. We are also keeping an eye out for any possible violence by the Shiv Sainiks against some of the MLAs, who have joined ranks with Shinde.”The officer added that so far, there have been three instances in Mumbai and one in Kolhapur linked to the political crisis. In Mumbai, Shiv Sena workers damaged the offices of rebel MLAs Kudalkar, Sada Sarvankar and Dilip Lande on Friday when their posters blackened. “Local police stations have been asked to ensure that family members of rebel leaders are not attacked,” an officer said.The officer added that they are wary of any street fights between supporters of either side, especially in areas like Thane, which is Shinde’s stronghold. “We have kept reserve police like the State Reserve Police Force on standby to ensure that if there is any issue, prompt action can be taken,” an officer said.“Generally, every MLA in his constituency has rivals, who we fear will use the situation to their advantage in cases where the legislator has defected,” an IPS officer told The Indian Express.There are indications that the Union government may provide the rebel MLAs CRPF cover when they come to Mumbai. “It is the prerogative of the Centre to provide security to any individual or group that it deems fit,” the officer added.
Shiv Sena workers gathered at Uddhav Thackeray's house, Matoshri, in Mumbai on Friday.Mumbai: As the crisis for Uddhav Thackeray's government deepened on Friday, police in Maharashtra went on high alert in the evening after getting information that workers of the Shiv Sena might "take to the streets in large numbers". Supporters, meanwhile, started gathering at the Thackeray family residence, Matoshree, raising slogans and beating drums to express support for the chief minister. All Police stations in Maharashtra, especially those in Mumbai, have been ordered to remain on high alert. Police received info that Shiv Sainiks can take to the streets in large numbers. To ensure that peace prevails, Police have been asked to remain alert: Maharashtra Police pic.twitter.com/V8QGL0NRYR— ANI (@ANI) June 24, 2022This came a short while after an emotional Uddhav Thackeray told party workers during a virtual meeting that the rebels were "trying to break" the Sena. "Without using the names of Shiv Sena and Thackeray, how will you move ahead?" Mr Thackeray said, targeting the rebels.#WATCH | Shiv Sena workers continue to remain outside Matoshree (Thackeray residence) in Mumbai as a meeting between CM Uddhav Thackeray and NCP leaders, including party chief Sharad Pawar, continues. #MaharashtraPoliticalTurmoilpic.twitter.com/5TgTr8rSEr— ANI (@ANI) June 24, 2022Those gathered outside Matoshri said they came from Mulund and wanted to show support to the leader during this difficult time. Two days ago, a large number of Shiv Sainiks had gathered when Uddhav Thackeray left the official chief minister residence to shift to the family home. Despite the show of strength by party workers on Friday evening, Uddhav Thackeray's chances to keep the chair looked bleak. Latest developments suggested that the rebel leader, Eknath Shinde, has the critical number of MLAs, 37, required to split the Shiv Sena in the assembly without falling foul of the anti-defection law.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comEknath Shinde has said the Sena's alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress in Maharashtra is "unnatural", and that it should restore its pact with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).But the Shiv Sena has come out aggressively against the allegation that the party had deserted Hindutva as its ideology. Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi said in an interview with NDTV on Friday evening, "Which Hindutva teaches you to stab your party, which is like a family, in the back?". She said ideology is being used as an alibi for the "BJP-backed" rebellion.
MUMBAI: Police authorities in Maharashtra have issued an alert across the state as Shiv Sena supporters are likely to stage angry protests following senior leader and minister Eknath Shinde's rebellion, an official said on Friday. A couple of incidents of Sena workers targeting the hoardings or boards featuring rebel MLAs who are with Shinde have been reported in the state. Read AlsoShiv Sena national executive committee meet on Saturday: Top developmentsNEW DELHI: The scales seem to be tilting towards the Eknath Shinde faction in the tussle to control the Shiv Sena, with nearly 40 of the party's 55 MLA said to be rallying behind the rebel leader. Chief minister and Sena party chief Uddhav Thackeray has vacated the official CM residence and moved toA general alert has been issued to all district unit commanders like superintendents of police and police commissioners, asking them to take steps to prevent any untoward incident, said an official here. Majority of Shiv Sena MLAs have shifted their loyalty to Eknath Shinde and are camping in Guwahati, plunging the MVA government led by chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, who heads the Sena, into a crisis. Read AlsoIs the ‘Sena loyalist’ ready to deal the final blow?The ranks of the rebels have swelled to a point where it now appears a serious threat to the ruling coalition. Also, for the first time the rebel leader Eknath Shinde has referred to a “national party” willing to support him.In western Maharashtra's Kolhapur, Shiv Sena supporters came out on the streets in large numbers and staged protests against the rebel leaders. In Mumbai, Sena workers tried to smash a board outside Kurla MLA Mangesh Kudalkar's office. Shiv Sena workers also blackened a hoarding put up in support of Shinde in Ambedkar Nagar area of Nashik. Read AlsoMLA of Shiv Sena’s most prestigious seat joins rebel Eknath Shinde’s campThree more Shiv Sena MLAs joined the rebel camp in Guwahati on Wednesday night adding to the numbers required by the Eknath Shinde faction to form a separate unit or assert its will over the party.Considering the possibility that such protests by Thackeray loyalists may intensify in the coming days, police have been asked to take precautionary measures to maintain law and order, the official said. Security at the offices and residences of Shiv Sena MLAs who have joined the Shinde faction has been increased, he said. In Mumbai, the nerve centre of the Shiv Sena's politics, police have been asked to remain alert and deploy adequate number of personnel at all important locations. Security at the Shiv Sena Bhavan (the party headquarters in Dadar) and CM Thackeray's private residence 'Matoshree' in Bandra has also been increased.
Pune City Police on Tuesday arrested Karuna Sharma, 43, who has claimed to be the second wife of Maharashtra Social Justice Minister Dhananjay Munde, in connection with the case in which she was accused of hurling casteist slur against a 23-year-old woman and also threatening her to take divorce from her husband.The police have also arrested the husband of the woman.A First Information Report (FIR) in the case was registered at the Yerawada police station Sunday based on the complaint by the 23-year-old woman from Pune against her 32-year-old husband and Sharma, who is a resident of Santacruz in Mumbai. The sequence of events for which the offence was registered, has taken place between November 2021 and May 30, this year.Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta said, “Karuna Sharma and the husband of the complainant were arrested from a lodge located in Pune district. Further probe is on.”As per the FIR, the Pune-based woman was being pressured by her husband to give him a divorce saying he was in a relationship with Sharma. According to the complaint, Sharma allegedly threatened the woman complainant with a hockey stick, and also threatened to kill her if she did not give him divorce. Sharma is also alleged to have hurled casteist slur against the complainant. The police invoked Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against Sharma.In the same offence the 32-year-old husband of the woman has been booked under Indian Penal Code sections 498A for domestic violence, 323 for physical assault and 377 for unnatural offences.
As protests against the Centre’s Agnipath scheme swept through the country, resulting in violence and mayhem in some states prompting several Opposition parties to seek its rollback, a demand rejected by the ruling BJP, the reporting and analysis of this entire story dominated the news and opinion pages of the country’s leading Urdu newspapers. With national politics heating up over the upcoming Presidential election and Rahul Gandhi being questioned by the ED in a National Herald case amid the Congress’s protests, their coverage was also done extensively by the dailies, which spotlighted the passing away of Gopi Chand Narang, one of the giants of the Urdu literature, at the age of 91.SiasatIn its editorial on June 18, headlined “Agnipath tashaddud, kiya ab bhi bulldozer chalega? (Agnipath violence, will bulldozer roll this time too?)”, the Hyderabad-based Siasat writes that the youths’ countrywide protests against the Centre’s Agnipath scheme have led to widespread violence, destruction of public properties and torching of trains in several states, which have caused losses running into hundreds of crores. “These protests mark the country’s unemployed youths’ agitation as the Narendra Modi government is playing with their future by offering them a short-term contractual recruitment (in armed forces),” it states. The ensuing violence, it says, has sparked a question: “Will the government recover the damages caused to public properties in the wake of these anti-Agnipath protests?” It writes that in Uttar Pradesh, ruled by Yogi Adityanath-led BJP, Muslims have paid a price for their every protests over crucial issues. “They (Muslims) have been arrested and sent to jails on grave charges, notices have been issued to them to recover damages, bulldozers are being used to raze their houses and shops…and virtually all BJP-ruled states have been targeting the minorities… Now that youths from all sections have hit the streets expressing their anger and frustration over unemployment and resorting to violence, the question is, will similar notices be issued against thousands of such youths and will they also be subjected to recovery proceedings,” it states. Asking whether the government will pay for the Agnipath stir-related damages, the edit says, “If not, then it will have to answer how could the same party have double standards for different sets of protesters,” adding that the government should remember that a protest is every citizen’s democratic right reflective of public concerns, although it has to be held within the legal and constitutional boundaries.The daily on June 14, in an editorial headlined “Tareekh badalne ki baatein (Talks of reversing history)”, writes that the Modi government seems to be making attempts to change the country’s history. It says that in its first term, the government had “targeted” universities, made changes in textbooks and “distorted and bent” history as per its ideological requirements. “In the middle of its second term now, this government instead of focusing on efforts to boost development, strengthen the economy, generate jobs, raise the country’s global standing and preserve its historical and cultural heritage, is again talking about reversing history. Union Home Minister has said the country’s history has been written in a selective manner and so a new history will be written. This is just to impose a particular ideology on the country that must be opposed. The trajectory of India’s history over thousands of years has been periodically marked with glorious milestones acknowledged across the world. The country is dotted with monuments showcasing it on a global stage, and yet the government is talking about changing this history which is incomprehensible,” it states. Evidently, the edit says, the BJP and its affiliates have been in a denial mode vis-a-vis Muslim rulers, who had played a key role, especially the Mughals, in “scripting India’s golden history”. “It is also inscribed in history as to who had been at the forefront of the country’s freedom movement against the colonial British,” it says, asking the government to refrain from taking a bigoted approach towards history and instead “take measures for preservation of the country’s shining historical and cultural heritage”.InquilabIn its editorial tribute to Prof Gopi Chand Narang, headlined “Narang: Ek Charagh aur bujha (Narang: one more light has gone out)”, the New Delhi edition of Inquilab on June 17 writes that his demise has come at a time when the country’s alarming communal situation demanded that the Urdu language and literature as well as our “Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb (syncretic Hindu-Muslim culture)” should continue to get the guidance of a towering writer and secular personality like Narang. His formidable literary and academic heft could be gauged from the point, it says, that no one dared to point fingers at him for being given Pakistan’s “Sitara-i-Imtiyaz (star of excellence)” award besides being conferred with India’s top civilian honours such as Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan. It points out that Narang had been a distinguished ambassador of Urdu across the globe for five decades. It quotes Narang as saying that “One of the names of Urdu is also secularism…Urdu has set purposeful examples in this regard for centuries and kept a remarkable front against all kinds of narrow-mindedness and obscurantism.”The daily says the entire Urdu world is today finding itself an orphan by the passing away of Narang. “This is a tough time for the Urdu language and literature that in a short span of time its leading lights like Gulzar Dehelvi, Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, Shamim Hanfi, and now Narang have departed,” it notes. Narang established himself as a literary theorist, scholar and critic through four dozen books. He also wrote on complex subjects related to linguistics, structuralism and stylistics, breaking them down for students of the Urdu literature, it says, highlighting that “Notably, Urdu was not Narang’s mother tongue, but the way he engaged with Urdu his entire life gave the impression as if both have chosen each other”.Roznama Rashtriya SaharaThe Kolkata edition of Roznama Rashtriya Sahara on June 15, in an editorial “ED ki karwai Congress ke liye shar mein khair (ED’s action a blessing in disguise for Congress”, writes that the government has now “unleashed” the Enforcement Directorate to proceed on a 10-year-old complaint lodged by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy and that the ED has been subjecting Rahul Gandhi to marathon questioning in a National Herald money laundering case. “This cannot be denied that the ED’s move at the behest of the government is an act of political vendetta, but it seems to have given a new lease of life to the Congress as the ED’s action has woken up the sleeping, shrinking party, whose leaders and workers hit the streets across the country in protest along with the members of the party’s frontal organisations,” the daily says, adding that several senior leaders even faced police high-handedness while being detained in Delhi. It points out that in the wake of a spate of debacles in elections, including the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha polls and many Assembly elections, analysts were proclaiming the Congress’s endgame maintaining that the faction-riven party is bereft of its public support base as well as leadership, even as some political pundits were invoking the BJP’s “Congress-free India”. The ED’s action against Rahul has however galvanised the Congress with even G-23 dissident leaders joining the street protests, the edit claims. “The ruling camp was of the view that the appearance of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi before the EC for their questioning will damage the Congress’s image… but it seems to have given an opportunity to the party to set aside its internal differences and press ahead unitedly.”Urdu TimesThe Mumbai-based Urdu Times on June 16, in an editorial on “Sadr bane ga kaun (Who will become the President)”, writes that in the run-up to the 16th Presidential poll scheduled for July 18 the Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has taken the lead in the Opposition camp in holding meetings with leaders to decide the name of their Presidential candidate. Echoing the view of a major Opposition section, she also urged her NCP counterpart Sharad Pawar to become their Presidential nominee, which he turned down politely, it says. “Although Pawar is a very suitable candidate for the Presidential position, but his decision is right as Maharashtra and the NCP need his leadership. To keep Maharashtra strong and free from hate politics, keeping it on track of development and progress, and ensuring a peaceful atmosphere are his top priorities now,” it writes, adding that as an ace practitioner of politics “Pawar may agree to become the Prime Ministerial candidate but not a Presidential nominee”. “There has not been any President since A P J Abdul Kalam who stepped out of Rashtrapati Bhavan with just a few clothes and piles of books after demitting the highest office… The Muslim community should recall his contributions to the country. Rolling out a bulldozer is easy, but the development of missiles was done by a Muslim scientist who went on to become the President of India. Will there be a President like him?” the daily asks.
The Maharashtra Congress suffered a major loss of face on Monday after it failed to ensure the victory of its candidate Chandrakant Handore, who interestingly was deemed as the party’s first choice candidate, and the most likely to get elected in view of the numbers that the party has in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly.The Congress had fielded two candidates in the Legislative Council elections in spite of having numbers to ensure the victory of only one. The candidate list released by the Congress had Handore’s name as the first candidate and many felt that he would easily sail through while the second party candidate, Bhai Jagtap, would face a tough battle as he needed votes from the party’s allies to see his candidature sail through.While Jagtap emerged triumphant, Handore suffered a defeat, making the Congress susceptible to accusations that it did not do enough to ensure the victory of its lone Dalit candidate.Handore’s candidature by the Congress was seen as an outreach to Mumbai’s large Dalit community in the run-up to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections.Sixty-five-old Handore started off his political career as a Dalit activist and later became a corporator in the BMC in 1985. Handrore, who was associated with the Republican Party of India, subsequently served as the mayor of Mumbai in 1992-93, at a time when the city saw its worst communal violence after the Babri Masjid demolition.Handore made headlines when, on the evening of January 8, 1993, a reporter Yuvraj Mohite, whom Handore had taken along with him to the residence of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, claimed he overheard orders to attack Muslims during the riots that had engulfed the city.Mohite’s deposition in front of the Srikrishna Commission, set up to investigate the Mumbai riots, was instrumental in the Commission making its judgment about the alleged involvement of Balasaheb Thackeray and the Shiv Sena in the riots. While Mohite gave testimony before the Commission, Handore did not.He went on to join the Congress, winning the 2004 Assembly elections from Chembur, and was made a cabinet minister. He was reelected in 2009 but was dropped from the state cabinet.On February 5, 2021, Handore was appointed as the working president of the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee. His nomination was an attempt by the Congress to project a Dalit face in the Legislative Council.Former Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam said, “It is unfortunate that Dalit candidate Chrandkant Handore, who supposedly got first preference, lost to a Congress candidate of second preference Bhai Jagtap. This is very bad and prima facie, it looks like sabotage by our own people.”
Karuna Sharma, who claims to be the second wife of Maharashtra Social Justice Minister Dhananjay Mundhe, has been booked by Pune City police on charges of hurling casteist slur at a woman and also threatening her to divorce her husband.The First Information Report (FIR) in the case was registered at the Yerawada police station on Sunday based on the complaint filed by the 23-year-old woman from Pune against her husband and Sharma, who is a resident of Santacruz in Mumbai. The sequence of events for which the offence was registered took place between November 2021 and May 30 this year.A senior police officer from Pune City police said that the complainant was being forced by her husband to divorce him, saying he was in a relationship with Sharma. According to the complaint, Sharma threatened the woman with a hockey stick and to kill her if she did not give him a divorce. Sharma is also alleged to have hurled a casteist slur against the complainant. Police have invoked Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against Sharma.In the same offence, the woman’s husband has been booked under Section 498A for domestic violence, Section 323 for physical assault, and Section 377 for unnatural offences of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).Assistant commissioner of police (Yerawada Division) Kishor Jadhav, who has been assigned the investigation of the case, said that a probe has been launched into the sequence of events as alleged by the complainant.
◾ Taking yet another step to quell the growing anger among Armed Forces aspirants against the new Agnipath recruitment policy, Home Minister Amit Shah today announced that there will be a ten per cent quota in the Central Armed Police Forces and Assam Rifles across the country for the Agniveers. Meanwhile, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held a meeting with the chiefs of the three services. There was no official statement about the meeting. However, the Defence Ministry too announced 10 per cent reservation in jobs in the ministry and in the Defence Public Sector Undertakings for Agniveers.◾ As the protests intensified, several Opposition parties as well as the BJP’s biggest ally, the JD(U), has been vocal in its reservations about Agnipath. Congress president Sonia Gandhi termed the scheme “completely directionless”, and appealed to people to engage in peaceful protests. However, the ruling BJP has defended the scheme, urging students not to be “deceived”. In an interview with The Indian Express, BJP’s national spokesperson Guru Prakash Paswan denied rollback of the plan, saying it came up after due consultation with all stakeholders.◾ Ahead of the Presidential elections next month, the Opposition parties are trying to zero in on a consensus candidate for the polls, but without success so far. After Sharad Pawar, National Conference president and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah has declined to be the joint Opposition’s presidential candidate, saying that the Union Territory needs him to “help navigate these uncertain times”. Abdullah said he was “very grateful to Mamata didi (Mamata Banerjee) for proposing my name,” but “I have a lot more active politics ahead of me and look forward to making a positive contribution in the service of J&K and the country.”◾ In the world of crypto, Bitcoin dropped below $20,000 on Saturday to its lowest level in 18 months, extending its slide as investors pull back from riskier assets amid rising interest rates. As the cryptocurrency market is plunging to a new low every day and countries are trying different approaches to regulate digital assets, know how crypto tax works in India and countries across the world, in this week’s ‘Crypto Knight’ column.◾ India’s experimentations with fertility control programmes dates back to the period preceding its Independence. In fact, it was one of the first countries to introduce an official programme of birth control intended to reduce the rate of population growth, but to this day the relative population size and fertility rates remain a contentious issue in electoral politics. In July 2019, a Population Regulation Bill, proposing to introduce a two-child policy per couple, was introduced in the Rajya Sabha. However, the Bill was withdrawn earlier this year following intervention by the Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya. So does India need a population policy? Experts discuss in this week’s #ExpressResearch.◾ Weekend is here and so are the movie reviews! This week we review Shilpa Shetty’s comeback film Nikamma, Chris Evans’ Lightyear, Cooper Raiff’s Cha Cha Real Smooth, and Sai Pallavi’s Virata Parvam.Political Pulse◾ For the June 23 Rampur Lok Sabha bypoll, the BJP is banking on the Yogi Adityanath government’s policies and development work. But it faces an uphill battle in a constituency that is considered the bastion of Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan. Though a former Congress MLA from Rampur is also backing the BJP candidate in the bypoll, which became necessary after Azam vacated the seat following his election to the UP Assembly in March, it may not be enough. Asad Rehman reports.◾ Days after the setback of the Rajya Sabha polls, when the BJP cocked a snook at the Shiv Sena by winning the crucial sixth seat, and with a couple of days left for the June 20 elections to the Maharashtra Legislative Council polls, the lack of coordination within the Maha Vikas Aghadi is all too evident with each party working separately to secure its vote bank. With the Sena and NCP set to get the numbers to see their candidates through, the fight is likely to boil down to the Congress and the BJP. Read Shubhangi Khapre’s report.Express Explained◾ The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, on Friday recommended that Ukraine be formally granted candidate status in the EU, the first step in the long journey to become a member state of the bloc. The announcement by EU President Ursula von der Leyen came a day after representatives of France, Germany, and Italy, the most powerful member states of the organisation, visited Kyiv for the first time, where they backed Ukraine’s bid to join the bloc. What happens with Ukraine’s application hereon? What is the process of joining the EU? Read here.◾ On many occasions during the trial, it seemed that Amber Heard, who lost the defence case against ex-spouse Johnny Depp’s defamation suit, was expected to be the perfect victim. When survivors open up about sexual assault or domestic violence, one of their biggest fears is that they would not live up to the expectations of “perfect victimhood”. It is a major reason why survivors do not come forward and seek legal help, and one of the biggest myths about sexual violence. What does the term mean? How does perfect victimhood affect survivors? Read here.Weekend Reads◾ Hues of Khurja: The heritage and changing trends of pottery in the ceramic city◾ In Chamor, Sheba Jose looks at the world through a child’s eyes◾ Each poem in The Penguin Book of Indian Poets is history recorded in a language of one’s own◾ Know Your City: How Pune’s Kayani Bakery became a heritage landmark of the city◾ Long Read: ‘I’m like, is my brain stupid? How did it just forget my periods’ICYMI: Here’s a list of best news reports, Opinion, Explained, and features from The Indian Express this week.◾ Express Investigation — Part 1: From Emergency to Gujarat riots, lessons of past deleted from textbooks of future◾ Under fire over Agnipath, BJP’s youth, unemployment headache◾ Explained: What are the ED and IT cases against Rahul and Sonia Gandhi?◾ Explained: Two years after Galwan clash, where India-China relations stand today◾ Prayagraj demolition falls foul of Allahabad HC order, says former CJ◾ Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes: Why Agnipath is not the reform the armed forces need◾ What the US Fed’s biggest rate hike in 28 years means for India and the global economy
DELETING REFERENCES to the 2002 Gujarat riots, dropping passages that dealt with Emergency’s draconian impact on people and institutions, removing chapters on protests and social movements, including those spearheaded by the Narmada Bachao Andolan, Dalit Panthers and Bharatiya Kisan Union. These are some of the most sweeping changes in social science school textbooks since the NDA government came to power in 2014.These changes result from a textbook “rationalisation” exercise undertaken by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) six months ago for all subjects. It comes ahead of the proposed revamp of the national school curriculum (National Curriculum Framework or NCF), which will see a further revision in NCERT textbooks.The Indian Express scrutinised 21 current history, political science and sociology textbooks for Classes 6 to 12 and matched their content with tables circulated within NCERT on the proposed changes. While the textbooks will not be reprinted due to shortage of time, the changes will be communicated to schools formally.🚨 Limited Time Offer | Express Premium with ad-lite for just Rs 2/ day 👉🏽 Click here to subscribe 🚨This is the third textbook review since 2014. The first one took place in 2017, in which the NCERT made 1,334 changes, including additions, corrections and data updates, in 182 textbooks. The second review was initiated in 2019 at the then Education Minister Prakash Javadekar’s behest to reduce the burden on students.The official rationale for the latest exercise is to reduce curriculum load further to help students make a “speedy recovery” in learning, which has been hit by Covid disruptions.Consider some of the most glaring changes made to the content related to contemporary India:GUJARAT RIOTS🔴 References to the 2002 Gujarat riots have been dropped from two textbooks. First, two whole pages on the riots in the last chapter of the current Class 12 political science textbook titled ‘Politics in India Since Independence’ have been deleted. The first page carries a detailed paragraph that lays out the chronology of events — the train full of karsevaks set on fire followed by violence against Muslims — and refers to the National Human Rights Commission’s criticism of the Gujarat government for failing to control the violence. The deleted passage states: “Instances, like in Gujarat, alert us to the dangers involved in using religious sentiments for political purposes. This poses a threat to democratic politics.”The second page (now deleted) carries a collage of three newspaper reports on the riots along with an excerpt of NHRC’s observation from its Annual Report of 2001-2002 on the Gujarat government’s handling of the riots. Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s famous “raj dharma” remark in this section has also been removed: “My one message to the Chief Minister (of Gujarat) is that he should follow ‘raj dharma’. A ruler should not make any discrimination between his subjects on the basis of caste, creed and religion.” Vajpayee had said this at a press conference in Ahmedabad in March 2002 with Narendra Modi, the then Gujarat Chief Minister, sitting by his side.🔴 The second reference to the Gujarat riots has been deleted from the Class 12 sociology textbook ‘Indian Society’. NCERT has dropped a paragraph under the section titled ‘Communalism, Secularism and the Nation-State’ in Chapter 6 that describes how communalism drives people to “kill, rape, and loot members of other communities in order to redeem their pride, to protect their home turf”.The dropped passage states: “A commonly cited justification is to avenge the deaths or dishonour suffered by their co-religionists elsewhere or even in the distant past. No region has been wholly exempt from communal violence of one kind or another. Every religious community has faced this violence in greater or lesser degree, although the proportionate impact is far more traumatic for minority communities. To the extent that governments can be held responsible for communal riots, no government or ruling party can claim to be blameless in this regard. In fact, the two most traumatic contemporary instances of communal violence occurred under each of the major political parties. The anti-Sikh riots of Delhi in 1984 took place under a Congress regime. The unprecedented scale and spread of anti-Muslim violence in Gujarat in 2002 took place under the BJP government.”According to the Government’s reply tabled in the Parliament, 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed, 223 were reported missing and 2,500 injured in the Gujarat riots of 2002.EMERGENCY🔴 The chapter on the Emergency in Class 12 political science textbook ‘Politics in India Since Independence’ has been reduced by five pages. The deleted content in the chapter titled ‘The Crisis of Democratic Order’ pertains to controversies surrounding the decision to impose an internal Emergency and the abuse of power and malpractices committed by the Indira Gandhi government during that time. It lists excesses such as the arrest of political workers, restrictions on the media, torture and custodial deaths, forced sterilisations and large-scale displacement of the poor. This section also mentions the Commission of Inquiry headed by Justice J C Shah, set up by the Janata Party government in May 1977 to probe allegations of excesses by the Government during the Emergency.🔴 Reference to the draconian impact of the Emergency has also been deleted from Chapter 6 (‘The Challenges of Cultural Diversity’) of the Class 12 sociology textbook ‘Indian Society’. “The Indian people had a brief experience of authoritarian rule during the ‘Emergency’ enforced between June 1975 and January 1977. Parliament was suspended and new laws were made directly by the government. Civil liberties were revoked and a large number of politically active people were arrested and jailed without trial. Censorship was imposed on the media, and government officials could be dismissed without normal procedures. The government coerced lower level officials to implement its programmes and produce instant results. The most notorious was the forced sterilisation campaign in which large numbers died due to surgical complications. When elections were held unexpectedly in early 1977, the people voted overwhelmingly against the ruling Congress Party,” the now-deleted paragraph states.Newsletter | Click to get the day’s best explainers in your inbox🔴 Another reference to curbs placed on all trade union activities during the Emergency has been deleted from Chapter 8 (‘Social Movements’) of the Class 12 sociology textbook ‘Social Change and Developing in India’. This reference was made in a section titled ‘Workers’ Movement’.PROTESTS & SOCIAL MOVEMENTS🔴 As many as three chapters detailing protests that turned into social movements in contemporary India have been dropped from political science textbooks across Classes 6 to 12. For instance, a chapter on the “rise of popular movements” has been dropped from the Class 12 textbook ‘Politics in India Since Independence’.This chapter traces the journey of the 1970s chipko movement in Uttarakhand, the growth of the Dalit Panthers in Maharashtra during the seventies, the agrarian struggles of the eighties, especially the one spearheaded by the Bharatiya Kisan Union. It also covers the anti-liquor movement of Andhra Pradesh, the famous Narmada Bachao Andolan that opposed the construction of the Sardar Sarovar Project on the Narmada river and its tributaries in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra, and the movement for Right to Information.🔴 NCERT has also removed the chapter ‘Struggles for Equality’ from the Class 7 political science textbook that describes how the Tawa Matsya Sangh fought for the rights of displaced forest dwellers of Satpura forest of Madhya Pradesh.🔴 The third chapter on popular struggles has been deleted from the Class 10 political science textbook ‘Democratic Politics – II’. It looks at indirect ways of influencing politics through pressure groups and movements. Apart from the movement for democracy in Nepal and the protest against privatisation of water in Bolivia, the chapter also talks about the Narmada Bachao Andolan, the non-violent Kittiko-Hachchiko (pluck and plant) protest of Karnataka in 1987, the Backward and Minority Communities Employees Federation founded by Kanshi Ram and the National Alliance for Peoples’ Movements, which counts Medha Patkar as one of its founders.🔴 The only chapter on social movements in the sociology curriculum for Classes 11 and 12 has been considerably reduced. Among the several changes made in the chapter titled ‘Social Movements’ in the Class 12 textbook ‘Social Change and Development in India’ is the removal of an exercise box that asks students to discuss the recent farmers’ protests against the three farm laws passed by the Parliament.DEMOCRACY🔴 Four chapters about democracy and making of Indian democracy have been deleted on the ground that similar topics have been covered in political science textbooks of other classes. For instance, the chapter titled ‘Key Elements of a Democratic Government’ in the Class 6 political science book has been dropped. This is the first detailed introduction to the concept of democracy in middle school and talks about some of the critical elements that influence the working of a democratic government, including people’s participation, conflict resolution, equality and justice.The chapter ‘India After Independence’, which talks about the framing of the Constitution and making of linguistic states, has been removed from the Class 8 history textbook ‘Our Pasts III’ for the same reason.Also dropped are chapters on ‘Democracy and Diversity’ and ‘Challenges to Democracy’ from the Class 10 political science textbook. While the first introduces students to the concept of social divisions and inequalities along the lines of race and caste across the world, the latter talks about reforming democratic politics. These two chapters were first removed from the CBSE curriculum in April, and now it has been permanently dropped from the NCERT textbook.‘NCERT decision’🔴 Asked about the decision-making process behind these deletions, NCERT director Dinesh Prasad Saklani said: “The entire (textbook rationalisation) exercise was completed before I took charge. So I cannot comment on the nitty gritty of it.”Saklani was appointed in February this year. His predecessor Sridhar Srivastava said: “This is an NCERT decision and it’s now in the public domain. That’s all I have to say.”JAWAHARLAl NEHRU🔴 Former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s quote on Emperor Ashoka deleted from the Chapter ‘Ashoka, The Emperor Who Gave Up War’ in the Class 6 History textbook. The deleted quote states: “His edicts (instructions) still speak to us in a language we can understand and we can still learn much from them.”🔴 Nehru’s remarks on the Bhakra Nangal Dam dropped from the Chapter ‘Structural Change’ in the Class 12 sociology textbook (Social Change and Development in India). “Our engineers tell us that probably nowhere else in the world is there a dam as high as this. The work bristles with difficulties and complications. As I walked around the site I thought that these days the biggest temple and mosques and gurdwara is the place where man works for the good of mankind. Which place can be greater than this, this Bhakra Nangal, where thousands and lakhs of men have worked, have shed their blood and sweat and laid down their lives as well?”SEDITION🔴 A section describing the arbitrariness of colonial law through the example of sedition and how Indian nationalists played a role in developing a legal sphere in India is no longer part of a Chapter ‘Understanding Laws’ in the Class 8 political science book. This deleted section also carries the following exercise for students: “State one reason why you think the Sedition Act of 1870 was arbitrary? In what ways does the Sedition Act of 1870 contradict the rule of law?”NAXALISM🔴 Almost all references to Naxalism and the Naxalite movement have been deleted from social science textbooks. A full page on the peasant uprising of 1967 along with a box on the Naxalite ideologue Charu Majumdar now stands dropped from Chapter 6 titled ‘Crisis of Democratic Order’ of the Class 12 political science textbook ‘Politics in India Since Independence’.🔴 The mention of Naxalite movement has been removed from a section on “Peasants Movement” in Chapter 8 of the Class 12 sociology textbook ‘Social Change and Development in India’.🔴 An imaginary narrative titled ‘A Moral Force in Politics’, inspired by socialist leader Kishan Patnaik, removed from a chapter in the Class 10 political science book. In the narrative, four fictional women, who are members of the people’s movement, debate Kishen ji’s advice to decide whether they should form a political party.Two years ago, this page had drawn flak from the Nagpur-based anti-naxal organisation Bhumkal Sanghatan, mistaking Kishen Patnaik for the Maoist leader Kishenji, who was killed in an encounter in 2011. Bhumkal Sanghatan’s criticism had prompted former Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh Raman Singh to demand its removal from the textbook forcing NCERT to clarify that the story was referring to Kishan Patnaik and not Kishen ji.The latest review of school textbooks started late last year. On December 15, the then NCERT director Sridhar Srivastava wrote to heads of all concerned departments asking them to initiate a textbook review by involving internal and external experts.Srivastava made a case for the review citing the pandemic: “Though we are in the process of making our National Curriculum Frameworks, the development of new textbooks may take some time to come out. But in view of giving children the opportunity for speedy recovery in their learning continuum, NCERT needs to take a step towards rationalisation of its syllabi and textbooks for the next year across the stages. We have somewhat rationalised the textbooks at the primary stage for the next year. Given its continuity with higher stages, this exercise needs to be done in every subject area and for all the classes from VI to XII also.”The guiding principle for the rationalisation exercise is overlapping content in the same class or other classes, difficulty level, content that can be covered through self-learning and irrelevant or outdated content. Internal subject experts have conducted the rationalisation exercise with the help of external experts, but NCERT hasn’t disclosed names of those involved from outside.
“What is UPA? There is no UPA”: Mamata Banerjee, December 1, 2021.The three-time chief minister’s assertion was projected as a sign of her determination to open a new chapter in Opposition politics, with her party, the Trinamool Congress, as the fulcrum, replacing a listless Congress.On Wednesday, ahead of the joint meeting convened by her on the Presidential poll, as Banerjee warmly received Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Jairam Ramesh and Randeep Surjewala at the entrance of the meeting venue, the moment framed the distance travelled by the TMC in the last seven months.Humbled by a poor show in the Goa assembly polls, desertion of inductees like Haryana leader Ashok Tanwar within days of joining, and trouble in its home turf West Bengal on many fronts, ranging from political violence and an alleged scam in teacher recruitment, the TMC appears to have reworked its strategy.The joint meeting, which was attended by 17 Opposition parties despite noises made by the Congress, Left parties and the DMK over Banerjee’s “unilateral initiative”, was replete with signs that the TMC has realised its limitations, and the need to adopt a more accommodating approach — with a little nudge from Sharad Pawar.In fact, conscious attempts were made to avoid giving an impression that it was a ‘Mamata show’. The NCP supremo, who played a major role in getting the TMC to dial down its aggression, which was threatening to erase even the fuzzy outlines of unity in the Opposition camp, presided over the meeting.Apart from the Congress, Pawar, who is the force binding together the unlikely Sena-NCP-Congress coalition in Maharashtra, also managed to bring the Left parties, which continues to have bitter equations with the TMC, on board for her proposal to “sit together” and pick “the true custodian of our Constitution”.In her speech at the meeting, Banerjee even attacked the BJP government over the ED grilling of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, likening it with the agency’s action against her own nephew and TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee. That’s a far cry from last winter, when she would flare up even at the slightest mention of the Grand Old Party.Also, instead of sulking over TMC’s attempt to take the pole position, by stepping back a little, the Congress has also offered Banerjee the required space to leverage her strengths by reaching out to parties like the TRS, YSRCP, BJD, BSP and SP, which would be more receptive to ideas floated by her than the Sonia Gandhi-led party.The Shiv Sena, which deputed two leaders to Wednesday’s meeting, also appears to be enthused with the new playbook scripted by Banerjee and Pawar. The party had in December criticised the TMC, saying no Opposition front is possible without the Congress.The meeting had its share of hitches though. While political activist Sudheendra Kulkarni read out a one-line resolution adopted at the meeting after it ended, the TMC is learnt to have prepared a three-page draft. But it was whittled down after many participants pointed out that the draft should have been circulated well in advance.With the next meeting of the Opposition camp scheduled for next week, all eyes are on Pawar, who will take the lead in hosting it after having turned down the unanimous request by leaders to be the face against the NDA’s candidate.As things stand, the NDA already has over 48 per cent of the vote share in the electoral college for choosing the new President, which seems to be the primary reason behind the reluctance of the Maratha strongman, who tweeted last night saying, “I am happy to continue my service for the well-being of the common man”.Also, among NC’s Farooq Abdullah and former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi, the two alternative names floated at the meeting, the latter appears to have more acceptance, even among those who stayed away for tactical reasons.Leader of an Opposition party, which skipped the meeting despite being invited, said his party was likely to push for the candidature of Gopal Krishna Gandhi.“He may have been critical of the government, but Gopal Krishna Gandhi is the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi. The PM holds the Mahatma in high regard. There is no better time to field him than the 75th year of India’s Independence,” the leader said.
NEW DELHI: While BJP on Wednesday continued attacking Congress for protests against Rahul Gandhi’s appearance before the Enforcement Directorate, it also took strong exception to “derogatory” remarks made by a functionary of the opposition party’s Maharashtra unit about PM Narendra Modi. “Such hateful comments highlight the low and shallowness to which the Congress’ mindset has fallen,” BJP national spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP Sudhanshu Trivedi said at a press conference. He also recalled that Congress president Sonia Gandhi had used “maut ka saudagar” (merchant of death) term for PM Modi. Trivedi was responding to a question about Maharashtra Congress functionary Sheikh Hussain’s derogatory reference to PM Modi. During protests in Nagpur, Hussain allegedly made “derogatory” remarks against the PM and wished him a “dog’s death”. “It is clearly visible that from Gandhi’s era till Sonia Gandhiji and Rahul Gandhiji, how small and how dwarf-like the Congress is getting,” Trivedi said and recalled, “When Mahatma Gandhi started the non-cooperation movement and he felt that there were some incidents of violence, arson, then he said that although he had nothing to do with it, still he ended the movement.” The BJP leader accused Congress of resorting to violent protests to “hide” its corruption and said the opposition party's stir shows its progressive decline and claimed that covering up the Gandhi family's alleged graft is the “true satya” of its “satyagraha”. “Rahul Gandhi is neither his party’s president nor the leader of the opposition. It shows that Congress has now become solely a family party,” Trivedi said.
As street protests erupted in towns and cities across the country amid unrest over derogatory references made to the Prophet by ex-BJP spokespersons, Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal, which led to violence, police action and casualties in some states, their coverage and analysis dominated the news and opinion pages of the leading Urdu dailies. The contours of the raging row and its domestic and international dimensions were dissected and examined. Their headlines and editorials also tracked a wide array of various social, political and economic issues.InquilabIn its editorial on June 12, headlined “Aisa bohraan aur aisi khamoshi (this crisis and such a silence)”, the New Delhi edition of Inquilab writes that the BJP government has to deal with inflation, unemployment and economic problems as well as the Nupur-Jindal row, as both could hurt it if they spin out of control. “On one side is the issue of these continuing problems and on the other is the anguish of Indian citizens who believe in the country’s pluralistic sarva dharma sambhava ethos besides many countries’ protests,” it says. Following the chorus of outrage from the Islamic world, especially the Gulf countries, the government activated its diplomatic missions there asking them to highlight that India is run by a secular Constitution and that it has always been a multi-cultural country where people of all faiths have co-existed for thousands of years, the daily writes, adding that the government believes the crisis would be resolved diplomatically. It says that besides suspending Nupur and expelling Jindal from the party and filing some FIRs, the saffron dispensation has not taken any action. Highlighting that “no important government or party functionary has made any statement on the row so far,” the editorial states that “their silence, albeit not unprecedented, is bewildering” as this is the time to reach out to the minorities and apply the healing touch. “In the face of such a crisis, their silence is painful and unfortunate,” it says.The daily’s editorial on June 10 focuses on the international repercussions of the row, stating that it has severely dented India’s global image, especially in Arab countries, and that the Narendra Modi government can no longer afford to remain silent on the issue. It says the Modi government must clamp down on hate speech within and outside the BJP ranks and take necessary domestic measures while taking these countries into confidence.Referring to a recent interview of former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Oman and the UAE, Talmiz Ahmad, with Karan Thapar on The Wire, the daily writes that Ahmad has pointed out India “faces a very serious crisis” with regard to the Islamic world due to this row for three reasons. First, the veteran diplomat told Thapar, the editorial notes, that there are 80 lakh Indian workers in the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries, including 30 lakh in Saudi Arabia, whose annual remittances to India add up to $35 billion, which is one-third of the country’s annual oil import bill. About 4 crore people in the country depend on these remittances from the Gulf nations. The second point made by Ahmad, the daily says, is India’s energy dependency on the Gulf countries. He said 40% of India’s oil comes from them, of which Saudi Arabia accounts for 18%. Similarly, 40% of India’s gas requirement is imported from Qatar. The third reason cited by Ahmad, the edit notes, is India’s trade ties with these countries, which soared from $33 billion in 2000-01 to $121 billion in 2018-19. These countries are also dependent on imports of many items from India, but another major area of concern could be the recruitment of Indians there, done mainly by private companies, as a fallout of the row, the daily writes quoting Ahmad.“There are some other issues. For instance, six Arab countries have given their top awards to PM Modi. The UAE has also honoured the PM by clearing a temple project. Many Arabs come to India for medical treatment instead of going to Europe. All these things also cannot be ignored,” the editorial says.Roznama Rashtriya SaharaThe Kolkata edition of Roznama Rashtriya Sahara on June 11 carried a front-page report on the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB)’s move appealing to Islamic scholars and intellectuals “not to participate in TV debates whose sole intention is to mock and insult Islam and Muslims”. The report refers to a joint statement issued by AIMPLB president Maulana Syed Mohammad Rabey Hasani Nadwi and its vice-presidents, which said that by participating in such TV channel discussions, they “instead of being able to do any service to Islam and Muslims, become indirectly the reason for their own ridicule besides insult of Islam and Muslims”. The report quotes the statement as saying that “The intention of these programmes is not to reach any conclusion through constructive discourse, but to ridicule and defame Islam and Muslims. To prove their impartiality, these TV channels include some Muslim faces in their debates… If we boycott such programmes and channels, it will not only impact their TRPs adversely, but will also foil their designs”.In its editorial on June 8, the daily flags the West Bengal Cabinet’s decision to appoint Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as the Chancellor of all state-run universities in place of Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and even replace the Governor with the state education minister as the Visitor of private universities, highlighting the protracted tussle between the two top constitutional functionaries in Bengal. It writes that the Governor-CM face-off is severely hurting the education sector with universities facing an “administrative vacuum” and students’ studies getting hit. It says the Governor had in December last year declared the appointment of the Vice-Chancellors (VCs) in 24 state universities by the Banerjee government as “illegal” as it was done without his approval as the Chancellor. Dhankhar then sought to reverse this order. He also convened a meeting of VCs but no one showed up, following which he called for action against them. He has faced students’ protests in Calcutta University and Jadavpur University too. The daily says that in the wake of similar Governor-state government conflicts in other Opposition-ruled states, such Chancellor move has also been made by Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Telangana in the “larger interest of students”. “In this backdrop, the Bengal government’s decision may be contrary to the traditional mechanism but it cannot be called improper. However, it would have been better if the Chancellor’s job was entrusted to an expert educationist rather than the CM in order to free education from all political interferences. A politician’s appointment in the Chancellor’s post could not be in the interest of education whether it is the Centre-appointed Governor or the elected CM as they cannot be free from power politics. Only an expert educationist can be a guarantor of high educational standards,” it says.SiasatCommenting on the rollout of bulldozers in UP following street violence, the Hyderabad-based daily Siasat, in an editorial on June 12, headlined “Uttar Pradesh mein phir bulldozer ka istemal (Fresh use of bulldozers in UP)”, charges that the Yogi Adityanath government is bent on “subverting legal and constitutional rights” of citizens, especially Muslims, and resorting to “various illegal means” to intimidate them in order to curb their protests. Referring to the stir against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the past, it says the UP government had then issued recovery notices to the protesters asking them to pay damages caused during protests. This was only halted following the courts’ intervention, it says, adding that the bulldozers are again out in UP after Muslims took to streets to protest the Nupur-Jindal row. “The authorities’ claim that the houses being bulldozed are illegal is laughable. It is just being used as an alibi to create fear among Muslims and thwart the protesters. If these houses were built illegally then action should also be taken against authorities responsible for it, who remained mute till date,” the editorial says, expressing concern that other BJP-ruled states are also following suit. “A bulldozer has been turned into a symbol of the politics of fear,” the daily says, stressing that the victims should take legal recourse and move courts and human rights panels to challenge it.Urdu TimesIn its editorial on June 10, the Mumbai-based daily Urdu Times writes that Maharashtra CM and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, while recently addressing his party’s rally at Aurangabad, spelt out the Sena’s views and policies clarifying that “Sena’s Hindutva is not anti-Muslim”. “Defining Hindutva, Uddhav said it does not teach hate… He also said Muslims have been sacrificing their lives for the country since Independence, but it has not been acknowledged,” the daily notes, adding that the Sena chief’s statement was however “belated” as it came three years after he took the state’s reins. “Now it is to be seen when does Congress leader Rahul Gandhi appreciate the Muslim community’s sacrifices and make a similar statement… he has not done it even though the community has always stood by the Congress party,” it says. Underlining that communal harmony is imperative for ensuring a peaceful and developed Maharashtra, it says even the BJP will realise this as there has been enough of “politics of Hindu-Muslim, temple-mosque and hate”, cautioning however that “it is a vicious cycle”. “If the Sena wishes that its tiger never becomes old… it has to take Muslims on board,” the edit says.
The Shiv Sena is a party that grew and expanded on the back of an agenda of regional chauvinism and right-wing Hindu politics that often called for the disenfranchisement of Muslims. But though the party claims to hold on to the legacy of founder Bal Thackeray, it has undergone a perceptible shift under his son and current Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. This change, according to observers, has more to do with political expediency and limitations in outdoing the BJP on issues of Hindutva than any desire to give up the brand of politics that vaulted it into prominence in state politics decades ago.In 1970, the party was involved in the Bhiwandi and Jalgaon riots in which 82 people lost their lives, while the Srikrishna Committee Report on the 1993 communal violence indicted Thackeray for directing a programme of violence against Muslims in Mumbai between December 1992 and January 1993.On the back of the furore caused by BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s comments about the Prophet, Uddhav Thackeray on June 8 challenged the BJP to an open debate on Hindutva and accused his party’s former ally of fanning communal sentiments for political gains. At the Shiv Sena’s Swabhiman rally in Aurangabad, the CM said, “What the (BJP) spokesperson said was not sensible. She insulted the Prophet … What was the need? Why? Because of the BJP spokesperson, the country is being insulted … The crime has been committed by the BJP and not the country. Why should we apologise? Why should the country suffer and be embarrassed because of a BJP spokesperson?”The Sena seems to have softened its stance on many issues since Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar managed to get it into an alliance with his party and the Congress in 2019. In the last two years, the Thackeray-led party, which now identifies the BJP as its biggest political enemy, has made a number of public statements incongruous with its avowed Hindutva politics.In January 2020, after a woman in Mumbai was booked for holding a placard mentioning “Free Kashmir” during a protest against violence at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut sought to defend her by explaining that the placard demanded freedom from restrictions imposed on the people of Kashmir following the revocation of Section 370 a few months earlier, and not secession.Commenting on the JNU attack, the CM compared it to the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai. “I empathise with their feelings. The youth is the pillar on which the future of our society rests. We need to empower them. I am with them,” he said.Earlier, he had equated the police lathi-charge on students of Jamia Milia Islamia University in New Delhi during a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) with the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Incidentally, Sena MPs voted in favour of CAA in the Lok Sabha but abstained in the Rajya Sabha following pressure from the Congress.“Nobody’s rights will be taken away. The government is strong enough to protect the rights of citizens of all religions,” Thackeray had said while trying to dispel the fears of Muslims in Maharashtra about the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC).According to political observers, despite this apparent softening, the Sena can never make the leap from an organisation with distinctly Hindutva instincts into a dyed-in-the-wool secular party. In April, as unease grew in a section of the party about the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) setting the agenda in the mosque loudspeaker-Hanuman Chalisa episode and criticism from the Opposition for “abandoning Hindutva”, Thackeray defined his party’s brand of Hindutva as one of nationalism and not communalism.“Those who tell us about Hindutva now, I ask them, what all have you done for Hindutva? When Babri (Masjid) was demolished, you went into hiding,” the CM said days after lawmaker-couple Navneet And Ravi Rana were arrested for threatening to recite the Hanuman Chalisa outside his residence “Matoshree” if loudspeakers were not removed from mosques.Uddhav has also tried to come out of his father’s towering shadow. Last month, he said he was not “naïve” like his father and could see through the BJP’s “agenda”.According to political observers, the generational shift in the party’s leadership, which will eventually lead to the baton passing to Aaditya Thackeray, may be one reason why the Sena is trying to drop its hardline image. Aaditya, a minister in the state government, is keen on creating an identity of a leader who champions socially progressive values.But there is still a limit to which the Sena can tone down its messaging since it can still benefit electorally from issues of Hindutva. This is why even as he criticises the BJP over its version of Hindutva, the CM recently once again mentioned he had not forgotten his father’s promise to rename Aurangabad as Sambhaji Nagar.
Recently, Mumbai Police arrested two boys – aged 19 and 20 – in connection with a rape case. The police allegedly tortured the duo only to later find out that they were not involved in the crime. Mohamed Thaver talks to Dolphy D’Souza, the Mumbai Project Lead of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), about safeguards against police excesses and the role of civil society groups in building bridges between the citizenry and the police.Recently, there was a case where two boys were wrongly arrested on rape charges and tortured. Such instances of wrongful arrests and torture have taken place in the past as well. What is the way out of this?Unfortunately, several sections of the police still have the “danda mentality”. They believe that beating up people is the only way of solving crimes. There is a need for a robust system of grievance redressal. In the Dharavi case, the parents of the boys were lucky to get access to the joint commissioner of police who intervened.But imagine what happens when people do not have access to senior officers. Earlier, police stations had a banner carrying numbers of senior officers whom the police could contact. There are regular DCP visits to police stations as well. But all this is not publicised, which is why people do not know about it. Accessibility to senior officers is a major part of ensuring such grievances are taken care of as in most cases, senior officers do intervene in such cases.What are the other factors in your opinion that would help police develop a good relationship with citizens?Earlier, there was a suggestion that ‘crime victimisation survey reports’ should be prepared. As part of this, citizens who approach police stations will be surveyed on the basis of their experience and the information thus gathered will be collated for the report. This would give senior officers and law makers a realistic picture of what the citizens feel about the force and what are its expectations. Earlier, there were suggestions – both at the Centre and state level – to prepare such reports. Unfortunately, this plan did not see the light of the day.What role do citizens’ groups like yours play in bridging the gap between the police and citizens?Among the several initiatives undertaken are better access to police station for women and children, especially in cases of domestic violence. Usually, in these cases, women are not confident of approaching the police as often cops tell them it is “ghar ka mamla (domestic matter)” and advise them to resolve it at home. We talk to these victims and give them the confidence to approach the police.Police should make use of the network of civil society groups to know about the issues facing the community. For example, during the pandemic, the Malad police, with our help, had reached out to slums in the area and told the women and children that if there are any issues related to sexual violence, they could reach out to the police. Such outreach programmes help.Maharashtra had fared poorly when it came to implementing the police reforms ordered by the Supreme Court in the Prakash Singh case. What is your take on it?The police reforms are cosmetic and at variance with what is required. I believe only when there is outcry among the people that there will be transformation of the force from the “ruler’s police” to “people’s police”.
All eyes are on the results of the Rajya Sabha elections that were held for 16 vacant seats in four states — Rajasthan, Haryana, Karnataka and Maharashtra. With the counting of votes underway, follow our live coverage of the high-stakes battle.Protests erupted in several parts of the country today against the derogatory remarks by former BJP spokespersons on Prophet Mohammad and the Muslim community. In Delhi, Jama Masjid’s Shahi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari said the Masjid Committee had not made any call for a protest, adding that he did not know the identity of the protesters. He speculated that they might be members of the AIMIM. In Ranchi, the police had to resort to firing in the air to disperse the crowd. Meanwhile, at least 109 people were arrested from parts of Uttar Pradesh hours after violence broke out in Prayagraj and protests were held in at least three districts – Moradabad, Saharanpur and Firozabad.Union Home Minister Amit Shah has said that “history cannot be created by governments” and urged society to take the initiative to present history in its true form. Lamenting that many battles fought by the Indian kings against invaders have been forgotten, Shah said that those battles – like the ones undertaken by the Ahom kings in Assam and Shivaji-led Marathas in the north-western region – have brought India where it is now.In world news today: Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf has been hospitalised for the last three weeks after his health worsened, his family said today, amid reports that he was kept on a ventilator. “He is not on the ventilator. Has been hospitalized for the last 3 weeks due to a complication of his ailment (Amyloidosis). Going through a difficult stage where recovery is not possible and organs are malfunctioning. Pray for ease in his daily living,” the family of the retired Pakistani General tweeted.The costs of gas, food and other necessities in the US jumped in May, raising inflation to a new four-decade high. Consumer prices surged 8.6 per cent last month from 12 months earlier, faster than April’s year-over-year surge of 8.3 per cent.Political PulseHe is not in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) but he is a BJP MLA. Mukul Roy’s case is getting curiouser: One year after he defected from the BJP back to the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC), Roy continues to be a BJP MLA and remains at the centre of a raging row over his status as a legislator. Atri Mitra reports.The Samajwadi Party’s decision not to allot a single ticket to its allies for the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council elections has created fissures in its relationship with its allies, with the Mahan Dal led by Keshav Dev Maurya announcing its exit from the alliance and Om Prakash Rajbhar’s Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) expressing disappointment. The disgruntled allies feel the senior SP leader Azam Khan’s imprint is all over the Opposition party’s decision and SP president Akhilesh Yadav cold-shouldered them to appease his senior party colleague.Express ExplainedThe use of coal as a fuel will be banned across the National Capital Region (NCR) from January 1, 2023, the Commission for Air Quality Management has said. Once the ban is in force, coal can no longer be used for industrial or domestic purposes, but thermal power plants will be exempted from the ban. But why has coal been banned and how will it impact the air quality in the region? Abhinaya Harigovind explains.Thousands of migrants of various nationalities Monday began a 2,000-km journey on foot through southern Mexico to reach the US border in hope of escaping hardships in their home countries. The movement has been timed to coincide with the three-day Summit of the Americas, which began on June 8. Migration is one of the key concerns to be discussed at the meet. Why is the caravan taking place? How do these migrants reach Mexico? What has the caravan got to do with the Summit of the Americas? We explain.Movie reviews: This week we review Nushrratt Bharuucha starrer Janhit Mein Jaari, Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World Dominion, Rakshit Shetty starrer 777 Charlie, and the web series The Broken News. Should you watch them or skip them? Read our reviews to decide!ICYMI: Read the top Premium stories of this weekPresidential elections: Over 70 years, 14 Presidents, 15 big fightsRajiv Mehrishi: Finance secretary, home secretary, CAG — and now pickle-makerIs the box office failure of ‘Samrat Prithviraj’ a rejection of Bollywood’s nationalism formula?Explained: The science behind the cancer cure, and the therapy’s future in IndiaExplained: Why the Gulf matters for IndiaRoad to 2024: Friendless and snubbed, why Congress has no ally shedding tears for it
The biennial elections to Rajya Sabha are being held to fill 57 seats in the Upper House across 15 states. As of now, 41 candidates belonging to various parties in 11 states — Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Punjab – have won unopposed. The elections in four states – Rajasthan, Haryana, Karnataka and Maharashtra – will be conducted on June 10. In Maharashtra, however, NCP leaders Nawab Malik and Anil Deshmukh will not be able to vote in the elections to six seats in the state. This is because a special court has rejected the applications filed by the two leaders seeking permission to visit Vidhan Sabha. A day before the elections, here’s a look at the poll mathematics.The schedule for presidential elections has also been announced. The polls will be held on July 18 and the counting of votes, if needed, will be done on July 21, the Election Commission announced.As uproar over remarks on the Prophet continues, India today said it has made it clear that the remarks do not reflect the views of the government. “We have made it pretty clear that tweets and comments do not reflect views of the government,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a media briefing.Meanwhile, the Delhi Police has said that All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi and controversial priest Yati Narsinghanand are named in one of the two FIRs registered by its special cell against various people for allegedly spreading hate and hurting religious sentiments. Former Delhi BJP media unit head Naveen Jindal, who was expelled from the party, and former party spokesperson Nupur Sharma, who was suspended, are among the people named in the FIRs.A recent study conducted in the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in New York and published in the New England Journal of Medicine has given hope that rectal cancer can be completely cured. But a larger study is needed to help shrink the estimate of possible failure, argues K Srinath Reddy, President, Public Health Foundation of India.Political Pulse“Our time has come”. That’s the buzz at Kamalam, the Punjab BJP HQs in Chandigarh. Punjab has for long been eluding BJP, which remained a junior ally of the SAD(B) for 23 years, before the alliance broke up in 2020. But the continuing influx of leaders — four former Congress ministers joined the BJP last Saturday – has given wings to the party. Manraj Grewal Sharma reports.Days after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar rejected outright any attempt by the Centre to bring in a law on population control, ally BJP believes the state must at least look at incentivising family planning. What is BJP’s argument and what incentives will it offer to the couples in the country’s third-most populous state ? BJP’s Bihar unit chief Sanjay Jaiswal tells Santosh Singh.Express ExplainedThe Union Environment Ministry on June 7 said that India is set to bring cheetahs from South Africa to Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno-Palpur National Park by August this year. A senior official from the ministry said that a plan is underway to introduce 8-10 cheetahs every year. How cheetahs went extinct in India, and what is the plan to reintroduce them into the wild? We explain.It has been 50 years since Nick Ut, an American-Vietnamese photographer, clicked one of the most defining images of the Vietnam war. The photo, taken on June 8, 1972, captured a young child running to escape the impact of the Napalm bombing of a Vietnam village by the US forces. The image went on to win the Pulitzer Prize. The girl in the picture, Kim Phuc Phan Thi, is today an activist for peace and wants her legacy to be about survival.In other news: Radio signal detected coming from galaxy nearly 3 billion light-years away; Mahua Moitra on why absence of Muslim MPs & MLAs in BJP is disturbing; and Naseeruddin Shah on the three Khans’ silence on political matters.Preparing for Civil Services and other competitive examinations. Read The Indian Express’ UPSC Key and UPSC Essentials to stay informed.
Even as hearings of the Koregaon Bhima Commission of Inquiry are underway in Pune, the Pune Zilla Parishad’s (ZP) chief executive officer (CEO) has sought to shift his office to the premises of the old ZP building, where the panel has been working since 2018.With the current office of the CEO at the new administrative building needing repair and beautification, Pune ZP CEO Ayush Prasad has sent a letter to the secretary of the Koregaon Bhima Commission of Inquiry stating the need to shift to the old building.The two-member commission, headed by retired judge Justice J N Patel, was formed by the state government for probe into the causes of violence in the Koregaon Bhima area on January 1, 2018, in which one person had died and several others were left injured.The state government had then allotted premises of certain government buildings in Mumbai and Pune to the commission officials and staff for carrying out their work. While the commission has its main office in Mumbai, in Pune, it operates from the premises of the old building of the ZP, located opposite the Bundgarden police station.On June 6, Prasad sent a letter to the commission’s secretary stating that due to unavailability of space, the process is on for shifting a few departments from the new administrative building of the ZP to the old premises.The letter further stated: “Work for repair and beautification of the CEO’s office at the new administrative building is to be started. So, the office will have to be shifted to the old ZP building. The available space in the old building is not sufficient for accommodation of other departments of ZP. So, the premises being used by the Koregaon Bhima Commission of Inquiry in the old ZP building is needed for the CEO’s office.”The CEO further stated that if the premises given to the commission for its work is made available “as early as possible”, renovation and repair work of the CEO’s office in the new administrative building of ZP can be started “immediately”.V V Palnitkar, secretary of the commission, said, “The commission was allotted the place by the state government. So, we have written back to the Pune ZP CEO today (Wednesday) asking him to make correspondence in this matter with the government. We have also called the CEO for a meeting, scheduled on Friday.”Meanwhile, cross examination of deputy superintendent of police Ganesh More, who is now retired, continued before the commission on Wednesday. More was the investigation officer of the case in which Hindutva leaders Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide were booked on allegations of instigating the Koregaon Bhima violence. More was cross examined by advocates Pradeep Gawade and Rahul Makhare.