Newsletter July 4 2018





Taking serious note of lynchings and mob violence, the Supreme Court on Tuesday put the onus on the states to check such incidents. Saying it would “not confine these incidents to any particular motive”, the court said “this is mob violence, which is a crime”.

“We do not want lynchings. We do not want mob violence. We want to protect victims,” said a bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud.

The court was hearing a batch of petitions seeking its directions for curbing violence by cow vigilantes.

“Whoever they are, they can’t take the law into their hands. These kinds of incidents cannot occur. It can’t be accepted in the remotest sense,” said the CJI. He said “it was the obligation of the states to ensure that such incidents do not occur”, and hence an elaborate judgement was necessary. “The states shall be held responsible,” he said.

On September 6 last year, the apex court had asked all the states to take stern measures to stop violence in the name of cow protection, including appointing senior police officers as nodal officers in every district within a week and acting promptly to check cow vigilantes from behaving like they are a “law unto themselves”.

The apex court had sought responses from Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh govts on a plea seeking contempt action against them for not following its order.





In the wake of recent mob violence across the country fuelled by rumours of child lifters on social media platforms like WhatsApp, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has sent a letter to the WhatsApp senior management, urging action against misinformation circulating on its platform in India.

The Govt has conveyed “deep disapproval” to WhatsApp and called for “necessary remedial measures” and “immediate action” to stem the flow of misinformation. It has also been pointed out that such (a) platform cannot evade accountability and responsibility especially when good technological inventions are abused by some miscreants who resort to provocative messages which lead to spread of violence, say officials.

This decision was taken at an inter-ministerial on June 16 chaired by Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba where the issue of circulation of false information and fake videos was discussed in detail.





Ordering a slew of measures to push police reforms, the Supreme Court Tuesday directed states to notify the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) at least three months before the post of Director General of Police falls vacant and appoint one from a panel of officers drawn up by the commission.

This is intended to check the practice by ruling parties to name their favourites to the top post.

“The state shall immediately appoint one of the persons from the panel prepared by the UPSC,” a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud ordered.

The bench also restrained states from appointing any acting DGP, saying there was no such concept in its 2006 judgment to usher in police reforms. “None of the states shall ever conceive the idea of appointing any person on the post of Director General of Police on acting basis for there is no concept of acting Director General of Police as per the decision in Prakash Singh’s case,” the judges ruled.





Finance Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday indicated that the govt was open to granting more regulatory powers to the RBI over the public sector banks.

Speaking at the fifth State Bank of India Banking and Economics Conclave on Tuesday, Goyal acknowledged criticism by RBI Governor Urjit Patel in this regard. “The govt is open to discuss with the RBI all the issues it has on regulating state-run banks,” Goyal said.

The minister noted that the banking sector failed to live up to the high expectations of the public.

The minister also pointed out that the govt would not reduce its stake in public sector banks below 51%. He refuted reports that the govt’s stake in 20 PSU banks would be reduced. Goyal pointed out that PSU banks suffered from political interference in the past but no minister in the present govt was interfering in the operational matters of banks.

The minister further pointed out that tough measures were required to reform the banking sector. He added that the govt was determined to clean up the NPA mess created by previous govts.

In his speech, Union Minister Arun Jaitley, who spoke from New Delhi via video-conferencing, said the govt was working to resolve issues that were slowing down the economy. He pointed out that the govt has successfully improved revenue collection.

Jaitley also blamed the previous govt for leaving a number of legacy issues unaddressed. He said the earlier govt sought to “hide the banking mess” and tried to “sweep under the carpet”.









Rescuers battled intensifying rain to furiously pump water from a cave in Thailand on Tuesday, as officials thrashed out plans to extract a young soccer team located by divers after being trapped and incommunicado for 10 days.

Aged between 11 and 16, the boys and their 25-year-old coach went missing on June 23, after they set out to explore the caves. Two British divers experienced in cave rescues, John Volanthen and Rick Stanton, were first to reach the boys, accompanied by the Navy’s SEALS divers

Seven members of a Thai navy SEALS unit, including a medic and a counsellor, were staying with the group after its dramatic discovery on Monday.

News of the survival of the “Wild Boar” team sparked jubilation in a nation gripped by the harrowing drama, with news websites, social media and the prime minister celebrating the event and hailing the rescuers as heroes.

“Thank you all Thais, thank you all foreigners, everybody is a hero and everybody helped each other,” PM Prayuth Chan-ocha said.

A video shot by the rescuers in flickering torchlight 4 km from the mouth of the cave in Thailand’s northernmost province showed boys clad in shorts and red and blue shirts sitting or standing on the rock above an expanse of water. The video has since gone viral.





Republican US senators met with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on a rare visit to Moscow on Tuesday ahead of a summit between the countries’ presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump.

The US delegation is in Russia until Thursday, ahead of the summit planned in Helsinki on July 16, at a time of high tension between Russia and the West.

“We recognise that the world is better off, I believe, if Russia and the US have fewer tensions, get along a little better, maybe put aside some differences,” Senator Richard Shelby said during yesterday’s meeting with Lavrov at the Russian foreign ministry.

Lavrovsaid he hoped that the US senators’ visit “will symbolise the resumption of relations between the (US and Russian) parliaments.”





President Trump has written sharply worded letters to the leaders of several Nato allies – including Germany, Belgium, Norway and Canada – taking them to task for spending too little on their own defence and warning that the US is losing patience with what he said was their failure to meet security obligations shared by the alliance.

The letters, sent in June, are the latest sign of acrimony between Trump and American allies as he heads to a Nato summit meeting next week in Brussels that will be a closely watched test of the President’s commitment to the alliance. Trump has repeatedly questioned its value and has claimed that its members are taking advantage of the US.

Trump’s criticism raised the prospect of another confrontation involving the President and American allies after a blow-up by Trump at the Group of 7 gathering last month in Quebec, and increased concerns that far from projecting solidarity in the face of threats from Russia, the meeting will highlight divisions within the alliance.

In his letters, the President hinted that after more than a year of public and private complaints that allies have not done enough to share the burden of collective defence, he may be considering a response, including adjusting the US’ military presence around the world.








Stunning the Congress, its Gujarat unit working president Kunwarji Bavaliya quit the party Tuesday to join the BJP which, within hours, made him a cabinet minister in the Vijay Rupani govt.

Bavaliya’s decision to resign as MLA from Jasdan in Rajkot and cross over to the BJP is considered a setback for the Congress since he is also president of the Akhil Bharatiya Koli Samaj, and Kolis constitute a sizeable chunk of the OBC vote base. The BJP moved swiftly to give pride of place to 63-year-old Bavaliya.

Gujarat Congress president Amit Chavda said the party had done all it could for Bavaliya but the “temptation of a ministerial berth” made the MLA join the BJP. Bavaliya, he said, had “betrayed the trust of the people’’ and “people will respond by defeating him in the Jasdan bypoll’’.

In a counter move, the Congress welcomed back to its fold Bholabhai Gohel who had joined the BJP last year after the Rajya Sabha elections in the state. The Congress said Gohel will be fielded against Bavaliya whenever the Jasdan bypoll is held.

A former Congress MLA from Jasdan, Gohel was a trusted aide of Bavaliya but they parted ways during the Rajya Sabha elections when he voted against Congress candidate Ahmed Patel — the votes of Gohel and another Congress MLA, Raghavji Patel, were invalidated by the Election Commission because they allegedly showed their ballot to BJP poll agents.

Ahmed Patel went on to win the election and Bavaliya called Gohel a “traitor’’. But Gohel soon regretted his decision to join the BJP. He was not given a ticket in the 2017 assembly elections which saw Bavaliya being elected from Jasdan.





A “vedic” technique which requires a farmer to sit, meditate and channel “cosmic energy” by chanting “Om rom jum sah” for at least 20 minutes a day for better yields, got the backing of Goa Agriculture Minister Vijay Sardesai Tuesday after he inaugurated a pilot project at a field, close to his residence in Fatorda.

The project is named “Shiv Yog Cosmic Farming” and is designed by Dr Avadhoot Shivanand, a former chemical engineer turned godman. Sardesai’s wife, Usha is a follower of his.

Launching the project, Sardesai said: “There is no money involved and, as an agriculture minister, I will explore every method to increase interest in farming. If you convince me a rock show or a beauty contest will also help get people excited about agriculture, I will pull it in the middle of the fields. We need to now look into methods to get everyone interested in farming.”

“My wife Usha is a Shiv Yogi and she is the one who has been promoting this philosophy. I was sceptical at first too, but it’s not magic. There are studies backing this method.”





The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined urgent listing of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s plea seeking enforcement of his fundamental right to worship at the disputed Ram temple at Ayodhya and asked him to mention it again “later on”.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud considered Swamy’s submission for urgent listing and hearing of his petition relating to the dispute. “You mention it later on,” the Bench said.

Swamy said the term “later on” was very subjective and added that he would mention his plea for hearing after 15 days again.

The apex court had refused urgent listing of Swamy’s plea for enforcement of his fundamental right to worship at Ram temple earlier as well.

On March 14, a Special Bench of the CJI and Justices Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer had dashed the hopes of activists like Shyam Benegal and Teesta Setalvad to intervene in the Ayodhya land dispute case and made it clear that only the parties to original lawsuits would be allowed contest.





The Delhi Police Crime Branch, investigating the death of 11 members of a family in Burari, Tuesday found that the family had been performing the “same rituals for six days” in the run-up to the day they allegedly committed suicide.

A police source also said that through the diaries recovered from the house, it appears that the family worshipped the banyan tree, and had “practised” trying to hang themselves in the preceding days — without their hands tied.

The last entry in the diary is dated June 30, and their bodies were discovered by neighbours on the morning of July 1. The entry mentions that “hands should be tied as a soul will come and save them” and that “when the colour of the water kept in a bowl changes, I will come”.

Police suspect Lalit may have been suffering from “dissociative disorder or split-personality”, and he allegedly believed his dead father’s soul would enter his body. On Tuesday, relatives of the family were questioned by police in order to build the family’s profile — they prayed thrice a day, recited the Hanuman Chalisa and Gayatri Mantra, and “detested spiritual gurus or self-styled godmen”.

A police officer said, “The diary was maintained by one of the girls, either Priyanka or Maneka… there are two handwritings, and it is believed that whenever Lalit thought his father’s soul had entered his body, he would speak in his voice and dictate what to write”.

Last month, there was a gap in entries between June 16 and June 24. A police source said “it’s possibly due to Priyanka’s engagement on June 17, when relatives had come over… the diary mentions that do not do the rituals if outsiders are at home, and do not tell anyone about the private entries in the diaries”.




World No. 1 Rafael Nadal breezed into the Wimbledon second round with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 win over Israel’s Dudi Sela as the Spaniard returned to action for the first time since claiming his 11th French Open title.

Nadal, the Wimbledon champion in 2008 and 2010, also managed to avoid falling victim to a player ranked outside the world top 100 for what would have been the fifth time in his last six visits to the All England Club.

“It’s great always to play here in Wimbledon, especially on Centre Court,” said Nadal after seeing off world No. 127 Sela. “I’m just happy to be through of course and yes, this match gives me positive feelings. There’s still room to improve but after a while without playing on grass, of course it’s very important to start with a straight sets victory.” Nadal has not got past the fourth round since finishing runner-up to Novak Djokovic in 2011.

Argentine fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro made it nine first round wins in nine appearances at the tournament, breezing past Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk 6-3, 6-4, 6-3. Del Potro next faces Feliciano Lopez of Spain. German fourth seed Alexander Zverev eased past world No.  748 James Duckworth of Australia 7-5, 6-2, 6-0. Zverev, who made the last-16 in 2017, goes on to face Taylor Fritz of the United States.

Dominic Thiem’s Wimbledon adventure ended abruptly in the first round as he retired with an apparent back injury while trailing Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis. Baghdatis was leading 6-4 7-5 2-0 when Thiem retired.




Sweden barged their way into the World Cup quarter-finals when Emil Forsberg’s heavily deflected shot gave them a 1-0 win over Switzerland in a scrappy last-16 contest on Tuesday.

Forsberg was allowed time to tee up his shot on the edge of the penalty area and, although goalkeeper Yann Sommer appeared to have it covered, Swiss defender Manuel Akanji stuck out a foot and deflected it into the corner of the net.

Sweden created more chances than their more refined but disappointing opponents and could have won more easily but for some wayward finishing.

England have ended a drought in World Cup shootouts to beat Colombia 4-3 on penalties and advance to a quarterfinal match against Sweden. Yerry Mina’s header in the third minute of stoppage time for Colombia made it 1-1 at the end of regulation, and extra time was scoreless.

Eric Dier scored the decisive kick to end a run off five successive tournament exits on penalties, including the 2006 World Cup — the last time England reached the last eight.

It is the furthest England have progressed in any tournament since the David Beckham era when a golden generation of players underperformed on the international stage, exiting the 2002 and 2006 World Cups in the last eight.





Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav’s magical spell of wrist spin was complemented by KL Rahul’s dazzling strokeplay as India started their tour of England on a resounding note, winning the opening T20 International by eight wickets.

Young Kuldeep (5/24 in 4 overs) became the first chinaman bowler to take a five-for in shortest format as he singlehandedly restricted England to below-par 159 for 8 on a flat deck.

Then it was the turn of opener Rahul, who smashed his second T20 International hundred en route his 54-ball-101 as India comfortably chased the target in 18.2 overs. He added 123 runs for the second wicket with Rohit Sharma (32 off 30 balls), who played the role of second fiddle to perfection.

Kohli’s decision to bowl was vindicated by young Kuldeep, who left the English batsmen in a daze with his magical spell of wrist spin.

Kuldeep’s effort was even more praiseworthy considering that his fellow left-arm spinner Yuzvendra Chahal (0/34 in 4 overs) had an off-day. So did Bhuvneshwar Kumar (0/44 in 4 overs), who had a rare off day in office.





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A lot of people approach risk as if it’s the enemy when it’s really fortune’s accomplice. – Gordon Sumner


Wife : I hate that beggar.

Husband : Why ?

Wife : Yesterday I gave him some food today he gave me a book on How to Cook !!!

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