Newsletter July 3 2018




The Congress on Monday blamed the ruling establishment’s “thinking” for the “lynch movement” India has witnessed post-2014, contending that “mob frenzy, anarchy and jungle raj” had become the new symbols of the Narendra Modi regime.

The Congress expressed outrage at 28 cases of lynchings in the past 30 days in different parts of the country, caused primarily by false messages on social media.

“When the State gives the licence to kill and abdicates its responsibility to uphold the rule of law, the ‘lynching movement’ doesn’t come as a surprise,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said.

“Killings of so many people have shaken the collective conscience of the nation. The main reason is the atmosphere created by the thinking of the ruling party. Thinking… outlook… violent attitude of the ruling party. The atmosphere of hatred, the trust deficit in the society. Did India ever look like this? What happened – the same people, same police, same administration – except for the change of government? Who is responsible for the enforcement of the rule of law?” he asked.

Singhvi said the government had done little to stop the lynch mobs and rumour-mongering. “What is most distressing is that ministers of BJP-ruled states and its leaders have either been a cause of abetment or flagrantly justified this phenomenon.”





Amid the deafening silence of senior party leaders and government ministers as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is massively trolled on social media, she found some support from Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

After Swaraj was trolled on Twitter following a passport row involving an interfaith couple in Lucknow, Singh is the first cabinet minister to disapprove of the abusive language being used for her. “Jo ho raha hai woh galat hai (whatever is happening is wrong,” replied Rajnath Singh, when asked about it.

Congress’ Priyanka Chaturvedi, meanwhile, has been threatened on Twitter with rape of her 10-year-old daughter, prompting a verbal duel between the BJP and the Opposition party on trolling.

Chaturvedi said she has filed a police complaint after a tweet, which was deleted later, by one @GirishK1605 whose profile photo was that of Lord Ram. “Running a Twitter handle in the name of God, you first wrongly quote me and then make indecent remarks about my daughter. Have some shame. Lord Ram will teach a lesson to people like you who have such lowly thought,” she said on Twitter.




In a no holds barred attack on the UPA regime, PM Narendra Modi on Monday said the Congress-led dispensation left the Indian economy in “unbelievable decay with even the budget figures suspicious”.

Taking swipes on his predecessor Manmohan Singh and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who continue to question NDA government’s record on economy, the PM, in an interview to ‘Swarajya’, said, “In 2014, one of the key agendas of the BJP’s election campaign was highlighting the dismal management of the Indian economy, ironically under an economist PM and a know-it-all Finance Minister. We all knew the economy was in the doldrums.”

The PM took a range of questions on jobs, farm distress, internal security and said had he revealed the state of the economy in 2014 it could have caused a major crisis. “The details about the decay in the economy were unbelievable. It had the potential to cause a crisis all over,” he said, adding that his government took a conscious decision to act in national interest rather than play politics on the issue.

“In 2014, industry was leaving India. India was in the Fragile Five. Experts believed that the ‘I’ in BRICS would collapse. Public sentiment was that of disappointment. In the midst of this, imagine a White Paper giving intricate details of the extent of damage. Instead of being a mollifier, it would be a multiplier of the distress. There were several landmines laid in various sectors,” said the PM, noting that today India is the fastest growing large economy of the world, foreign investment is at an all-time high, GST has revolutionised the tax regime and India is an easier place to do business than ever before.

On lack of jobs, a regular charge against his government, PM Modi said “more than a lack of jobs, the issue is a lack of data on jobs”. “This is what needs fixing first. With data from the Employees Provident Fund Organisation showing a rise in formal sector jobs, informal sector jobs too would have risen, as would jobs created by Mudra loans. Our traditional matrix of measuring jobs is simply not good enough to measure new jobs in the new economy of New India,” the PM noted.





As the appointment of Lokpal gets delayed for various reasons, a Supreme Court Bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked the Centre to file within 10 days an affidavit indicating the timeframe and steps to be taken for appointing the Lokpal after Attorney General KK Venugopal placed before it written instructions received from the government.

Enacted in 2013, the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act received presidential assent on January 1, 2014 and came into force on January 16, 2014. However, the first Lokpal is yet to be appointed and many states were also dithering in appointing Lokayuktas.

Accusing the government of dilly-dallying, petitioner Common Cause, an NGO, has approached the top court seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against the government for its failure to appoint the Lokpal despite the court’s direction.









Lawmakers from both conservative parties in the German coalition urged Chancellor Angela Merkel and her interior minister on Monday to resolve an internecine dispute over migrant policy that has thrown her three-month-old government into disarray.

However, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer refused in an interview published on Monday to change course, making a personal attack on the chancellor with whom he has long had a fractious relationship.

Seehofer offered to quit his cabinet post and the chairmanship of Bavaria’s Christian Social Union (CSU) at a party meeting on Sunday.

The CSU had threatened to impose new controls at the German border this week if they deemed that agreements Merkel brought back from a European Union summit were insufficient to ease the migrant burden.

Merkel is dead set against unilateral action by the authorities in Bavaria, the main entry point for migrants into Germany, saying it goes against European law.




The United States has a plan that would lead to the dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs in a year, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser said, although US intelligence reported signs that Pyongyang doesn’t intend to fully give up its arsenal.

John Bolton said top US diplomat Mike Pompeo will be discussing that plan with North Korea in the near future. Bolton added that it would be to the North’s advantage to cooperate to see sanctions lifted quickly and aid from South Korea and Japan start to flow.

“Our goal remains the final, fully verified denuclearization of the DPRK, as agreed to by Chairman Kim in Singapore,” the department said yesterday.

Doubts over North Korea’s intentions have deepened amid reports that it is continuing to produce fissile material for weapons.









Days after it lost power in J&K, cracks are beginning to appear in the PDP with a former minister speaking out against Mehbooba Mufti’s leadership, and claiming that several MLAs and PDP stalwarts too were unhappy with the state of affairs in the party.

Shia leader Imran Raza Ansari, who was a PDP minister in the alliance government with the BJP that collapsed last month, says: “The party has been hijacked by vested interests. She (Mehbooba) chose her cronies over elected members to run the party and the government.’’

His remarks came a day after his uncle Abid Hussain Ansari, also a PDP legislator and a Shia leader representing Zadibal in Srinagar, slammed Mehbooba for running the party like a “family fiefdom” and for appointing her brother Tassaduq Mufti as a minister.

Imran Raza Ansari said the PDP had become a family party being run by “uncles, aunts, brothers and other family members” and no longer bore any resemblance to the party of the late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. “The coalition failed not because of BJP..BJP had given full support to our government. The coalition government failed because of our own incompetence. It was the incompetence of the CM. She ran the government on the advice of cronies and vested interests who had been rejected by the people. She turned everything into a family affair… She was dismantling whatever Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had created. He wouldn’t let Sartaj Madni (Mehbooba’s maternal uncle) come close to him, but Madni was running the show in our government,” Ansari said.

Ansari said PDP’s Tangmarg MLA Abbas Wani too supported his views. “I saw his comments. He agrees with me. More will follow,’’ he said.





They were sheltered inside a locked room of the Rainpada village panchayat in Dhule district, officials had sent out alerts on local TV warning against false rumours — but none of this mattered in the face of the murderous mob.

So by the time the police arrived, the lock had been broken and three lynched. When the police tried to save the remaining two, the mob turned on them instead. Two policemen, SI Yogesh Khatkal and ASI Ravindra Randhir, were injured and the assault continued until all five were killed.

“They are dead, now you can take them away.” That’s what a policeman recalled someone from the mob telling them. Some in the mob even checked for a pulse to make sure.

The day after, police have arrested 23 Rainpada residents for the killing of five nomads of the Dongrinanthpanthi Gosavi community.

A day before the lynching, police had telecast an advisory on local cable television. “After similar incidents were reported in Aurangabad and Nandurbar, we decided to issue a public message warning people not to fall to victims to such rumours. The same was published in the local papers,” said SP Rathod, station in charge of the Pimpalner police station, which is probing the lynching.

Clearly, that didn’t help.

An innocuous query set off the rumour, say police. After the five victims got off a state transport bus from Pimpalner to Rainpada at 10 am on Sunday, they sought water from a local woman and one of them asked her if she had a daughter. This made the woman suspicious. She then allegedly told the villagers.

The villagers from the neighbouring hamlets who had come to participate in the bazaar at Rainpada dragged them to the gram panchayat office,” said Rathod. There were some saner voices who stepped in and locked the five victims in the gram panchayat office urging people to wait for police. But the mob broke the locks and barged inside.





Noting that nowadays complaints against public functionaries can’t be taken at face value, the Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a petition seeking to quash the appointments of Central Vigilance Commissioner KV Chowdary and Vigilance Commissioner TM Bhasin.

A Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said such complaints accusing them of not having a “clean record” could be made even against “very honest persons”. It refused to interfere with the appointments, saying no grounds had been made to quash them.

Common Cause counsel Prashant Bhushan had alleged there were serious allegations against Chowdary and Bhasin which were not looked into by the committee before appointing them.

Attorney General KK Venugopal had refuted the allegations, saying all these aspects were looked into by the committee. In its verdict, the SC noted that each and every aspect and information had been placed before the panel when the decision was taken.




Eight of the 11 members of a family found dead in north Delhi’s Burari locality showed no signs of struggle and had died as a result of hanging, officials said on Monday after the post-mortem examination. The autopsy of eight persons revealed there were no signs of strangulation or scuffle and they died as a result of hanging, a senior police officer said. Though it was earlier suspected that the grandmother, 74, died due to strangulation, doctors said she died due to “partial hanging”, a police officer asserted. He added that a rope was found hanging near her body and it was being probed who took it off her neck.

The elder son of the family, who lives in Rajasthan, was present during the autopsy. Eyes of all of them have been donated. The last rites were performed later in the day.

The police suspect the deaths were part of a suicide pact, carried out in accordance with some religious practice. Eleven pipes protruding from a wall of the house, all set close together, have baffled investigators as there is no water outlet on that side of the house.

Ketan Nagpal, a relative, however, alleged that the family had been killed. “They were not facing any financial issues. Everything was fine. Why would they kill themselves?” he said. Had they committed suicide, they would not have covered their faces and taped their mouth, he said.

Another relative said he had spoken to the family on Saturday night. They sounded “normal” and did not show any signs of depression, he added. While the preliminary report of the post-mortem examination of eight victims is ready, autopsy details of three are still awaited.

Handwritten notes found at the spot point to a possible suicide pact, carried out in accordance with a religious practice, he said.

Some of the notes said “one will not die”, but attain something “great”, the officer said.




As requested by the CBI, the Interpol has issued a Red Corner Notice against absconding diamantaire Nirav Modi, his brother Nishal Modi and his employee Subhash Parab. The three are accused of being involved in a Rs 13,000-crore PNB fraud. All 192 member-states have been asked to arrest or detain the fugitives, if spotted.

The notice, issued on June 29 on the basis of a CBI chargesheet in a special court in Mumbai and the arrest warrant issued by Special Judge JC Jagdale, was made public by Interpol on Monday. A senior Ministry of Home Affairs official said, “Red Corner Notice restricts movement as the  details of a fugitive on his travel documents are fed into the computers of immigration authorities of the member-nations. But this does not mean you can get the person back for prosecution. Besides the legal process, it mostly depends on the ties a country has with the fugitive’s host country.”


Senior journalist Rajat Sharma on Monday beat World Cup winning India cricketer Madan Lal by 517 votes to become the new president of Delhi and Districts Cricket Association.

The results of the DDCA polls were announced on Monday and Sharma’s group swept the elections winning all 12 seats.

Sharma got a total of 1531 votes while former Test cricketer Lal could only poll 1004 votes. The third candidate in the fray, advocate Vikas Singh, got 232 votes only.




Neymar barged his way into the World Cup limelight with a goal, and an assist as Brazil roared into the quarter-finals with a 2-0 victory over Mexico on Monday that inflicted a seventh straight last-16 exit on the central Americans.

It was the seventh World Cup running that Brazil have reached the last eight, where they will now face Belgium who beat Japan in a dramatic win.

Belgium scored a last-gasp winner to beat Japan on Monday and set up a World Cup quarter-final against Brazil. The match looked set for extra-time after goals from Jan Vertonghen (69’) and Marouane Fellaini (74’) cancelled out efforts from Genki Haraguchi (48’) and Takashi Inui (52’). But as the seconds ticked down, Belgium poured forward and Nacer Chadli grabbed a dramatic winner. It was so close to the end that it was almost the last kick of the match, towards the very end of injury time.

This was the first time that a team recovered from a two-goal deficit to win a World Cup knockout match since Germany beat England 3-2 after extra time in Mexico in 1970.




Defending champion Roger Federer marked the start of his 20th successive Wimbledon with a new look and a comfortable 6-1 6-3 6-4 win over Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic.

The 36-year-old eight-time champion, the top seed, cruised past world No. 57 Lajovic in just 79 minutes.

US Open champion and fourth seed Sloane Stephens became the tournament’s first big name casualty when she slumped to a 6-1 6-3 loss to Croatia’s world 55 Donna Vekic. For Stephens it was her second successive first round loss at the tournament.

Yuki Bhambri failed to capitalise on a bright start and crashed out of the men’s singles event, yet again falling prey to nemesis Thomas Fabbiano. The Indian, ranked 85, lost his first round 6-2 3-6 3-6 2-6 in two hours and 38 minutes to the Italian. Bhambri has now lost all his four matches against Fabbiano, ranked 133. Bhambri was the lone Indian competing in the singles.





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The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant. – John Stuart Mill


A clergyman was spending the afternoon at a house in the English village where he preached. After tea he was sitting in the garden with his hostess. Out rushed her little boy, holding a rat above his head. “Don’t be afraid, mother,” he cried, “it’s dead. We beat him and bashed him and thumped him until” – and then catching sight of the clergyman, he added, in a lowered voice – “until God called him home.”

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