Newsletter July 13 2018




Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has failed to find support from his party for his remark that the BJ{ would turn India into ‘Hindu Pakistan’ if it won the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.  Distancing itself from Tharoor’s controversial remark, the Congress urged its leaders to choose their words carefully while rejecting the hatred being propagated by the saffron party.

Speaking on ‘Threats faced by Indian Democracy and Secularism’ at an event in Thiruvananthapuram, Tharoor had on Wednesday said if BJP went on to repeat their current strength in the Lok Sabha in 2019, then it would pave the way for tearing up of the Indian Constitution and result in the creation of a ‘Hindu Pakistan’.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said India’s values and fundamentals set it apart from the divisive idea of Pakistan. Stressing that it was the Modi government that thrived upon an atmosphere of division, bigotry, and hatred, the Congress leader said his party represented values of pluralism, diversity, and harmony and thus its leaders must realise the responsibility bestowed upon them before making off-the-cuff remarks.

Launching a scathing attack on Congress for Tharoor’s remarks, BJP said “such kind of abuses for the Indian democracy” had become the constant feature of the Congress. “By saying Hindu Pakistan you have attacked the democracy of India and the Congress has attacked the Hindus of the country. This is condemnable. This has been the nature of the Congress that while hating Modi, they have crossed all the lines and they start attacking the country,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said.

The Congress, Patra said, doesn’t lose any opportunity to demean India and defame the Hindus. “From Hindu terrorists to Hindu-Pakistan the Pakistan appeasing policies of Congress are unparalleled,” he said.

Despite all the hullabaloo over his remarks, Tharoor refused to retract and defended himself in a Facebook post, saying the BJP-RSS idea of a Hindu Rashtra remained the mirror image of the neighbouring “intolerant theocratic state”. “Pakistan was created as a state with a dominant religion that discriminates against its minorities and denies them equal rights. India never accepted the logic that had partitioned the country. But the BJP-RSS idea of a Hindu Rashtra is the mirror image of Pakistan — a state with a dominant majority religion that seeks to put its minorities in a subordinate place. That would be a Hindu Pakistan and it is not what our freedom movement fought for, nor the idea of India enshrined in our Constitution,” Tharoor wrote on Facebook.





In one of the strongest display of bonhomie between BJP and JD(U) amid rumblings over seat sharing, BJP president Amit Shah and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar met over breakfast on Thursday, with Shah confirming that both the parties would contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections together. Saying that BJP was firmly behind Kumar, Shah asserted that the BJP-JD(U) alliance was on a strong footing and won’t break.

“The end of Congress will take place in Bihar. The NDA is united and strong in Bihar. We will contest the Lok Sabha election together and will win all 40 seats in the state,” Shah said.

More than the statements by Shah, the image of the two leaders smiling and bonding well during their 45-minute meeting in Patna sent a message that all was well between the alliance partners.




Opponents of gay sex on Thursday accused the Centre of doing a “U-turn” on the subject of quashing the law that criminalises homosexual acts and sought the Supreme Court’s permission to present their views.

The five-judge constitution bench that is examining the legal validity of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code said they would get an hour and a half to argue their case on Tuesday. After that, the court would conclude the hearing and reserve the verdict.

On Wednesday, the Centre had left the matter to the “wisdom” of the court.

Advocate Manoj V. George, appearing for an Odisha-based Christian organisation, on Thursday accused the Centre of having “taken a U-turn, which is a cause of serious concern for the public at large”. He cited how, in 2013, then additional solicitor-general P.P. Malhotra had told the apex court that Section 377 ought to be retained.

George said that penal code provisions came under the concurrent list and the states were authorised to delete any section if they so wanted. That no state had removed Section 377 so far, he argued, reflected how necessary the law was.

The CJI retorted that if the states and the Centre avoided taking a stand on the matter, it did not mean that the courts could not strike down a provision that it saw as violating citizens’ fundamental rights.

George contended that the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community made up just five per cent of the country’s population, and that the remaining 95 per cent were opposed to homosexual practices. But the bench said that even if one person complained that his fundamental rights were being violated, the court was bound to examine it.




India denied entry to Bangladesh National Party leader Khaleda Zia’s British lawyer hours before he was to brief the media in New Delhi on Thursday on her case, but sought to dispel the perception that it was picking sides in Bangladesh politics ahead of parliamentary elections due there early next year.

Lord Alexander Carlile had picked India for his media briefing since Bangladesh has been sitting on his visa application.

Fielding questions from the media at the weekly briefing soon after Lord Carlile accused India of being “supine and slavish” to the Sheikh Hasina government’s agenda, external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar pointed out that India engages with all sides of Bangladesh’s political spectrum and cited meetings with the BNP leadership during official visits.

Lord Carlile, who is Khaleda’s lead lawyer and a British parliamentarian, was not allowed to enter India late on Thursday night as he did not have an “appropriate Indian visa”.

In a post-midnight statement, the external affairs ministry said: “His intended activity in India was incompatible with the purpose of his visit as mentioned in his visa application.”









A defiant former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has declared that he was leaving behind his ailing wife here in Allah’s protection and returning to Pakistan regardless of whether he was “taken to prison or gallows”.

Sharif, in London to tend to his ailing wife Kulsoom, is expected to return today, days after being sentenced to 11 years in prison by an anti-corruption court in the Avenfield properties case, one of the three corruption cases against him following the Panama Papers scandal.

He said that he was returning “despite seeing a prison cell in front of him” and was saddened that he was leaving his wife behind on ventilator. “I am returning to fulfill the promise of giving respect to vote,” the 68-year-old three-time premier said.




Donald Trump claimed a personal victory at a NATO summit on Thursday after telling European allies to increase spending or lose Washington’s support, an ultimatum that forced leaders to huddle in a crisis session with the US President. Trump emerged declaring his continued commitment to a Western alliance built on US military might that has stood up to Moscow since World War Two.

“I let them know that I was extremely unhappy,” he said, but added that the talks ended on the best of terms: “It all came together at the end. It was a little tough for a little while.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who called the summit “very intense”, and other leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron, played down the extent to which they had pledged to accelerate spending plans as fast as Trump wanted.

Macron and others said they did not interpret Trump’s words as a direct threat to quit the alliance Washington founded in 1949 to contain Soviet expansion. Trump, asked if he thought he could withdraw from NATO without backing from Congress, said he believed he could but it was “unnecessary”. Others say Congressional approval would be required—and would be unlikely to be forthcoming.

Trump hailed a personal victory for his own strategy in complaining loudly that NATO budgets were unfair to US taxpayers, and the emergence of what he said was a warm consensus around him.

Several diplomats, however, said his undiplomatic intervention, including pointing at other leaders and addressing Merkel as “you, Angela”, had irritated many.

NATO members have committed to spending at least 2% of their national income on defence by 2024, though the terms allow for stretching that in some cases to 2030. The United States, far the biggest economy, spent 3.6% last year, while Germany, the second biggest, paid out just 1.2% and only a handful of countries met the 2% target.

After the Nato summit, Trump landed in Britain, where he says the people like him a lot.








Former Vice-President Hamid Ansari has backed the proposal of opening Sharia courts in the country and said that “each community has a right to practice its own personal law”.

“People are confusing social practices with legal system. Our law recognizes that each community can have own rules. Personal law in India covers- marriage, divorce, adoption & inheritance. Each community has a right to practice its own personal law,” he told news agency ANI.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has recently come up with a proposal to set up Sharia courts in each district of the country.

Meanwhile, on Shashi Tharoor’s “Hindu Pakistan” remark, Ansari came in support of the Congress MP. He said Tharoor is a learned man and he would say anything only after considering it before. “I have not read what he (Tharoor) has said. But he is an educated man, a writer, an MP…and heads Parliament’s committee on external affairs. Whatever he says, he will say after thorough consideration.”




NOISY judges and independent journalists are democracy’s first line of defence and a revolution, not mere reform, is needed to keep the institution of the judiciary responsive to the changes in society, the second most senior judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, said here on Thursday.

In line to be the Chief Justice of India, Justice Gogoi, while delivering the Third Ramnath Goenka Memorial Lecture on “The Vision of Justice”, told a packed Teen Murti Bhavan auditorium in New Delhi that the judiciary was the “last bastion of hope” and it needed to be “uncontaminated”, more “pro-active” and on the “front foot” to preserve its moral and institutional leverage.

Quoting an article (from The Economist) titled ‘How Democracy Dies’, he said that “…independent judges and noisy journalists are democracy’s first line of defence. Reports of the death of democracy are greatly exaggerated. But the least bad system of government ever devised, is in trouble. It needs defenders.”

“I agree, but will only suggest a slight modification in today’s context — not only independent judges and noisy journalists, but even independent journalists and sometimes noisy judges,” Justice Gogoi said to loud applause.




The Supreme Court on Thursday tore into the “superman” lieutenant-governor of Delhi for enjoying power without accountability when the national capital was sitting on a “mountain of garbage” and chastised the Centre for failing to tackle the crisis despite repeated directions.

“You (LG Anil Baijal) say I have the power, but you do not bother to attend meetings. You think you are a superman? I am responsible but nobody can touch me and I won’t do anything except blaming others?” Justice Madan B. Lokur, sitting on a bench with Justice Deepak Gupta, told additional solicitor-general Pinky Anand, appearing for the Centre.

The court had earlier taken suo motu cognisance of news reports about large number of deaths in Delhi from chikungunya, dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases in the past few years.

Although the bench sought a time frame by which the massive garbage mounds at the landfill sites in Okhla, Bhalswa and Gazipur would be cleared, Pinky Anand was unable to furnish a deadline. Instead the additional solicitor-general tried to say that the AAP government was also responsible for the mess.

This provoked an angry reaction from the bench, which said: “Do not drag the chief minister here. He has no business is what you have said. Be responsible.”

The bench did not agree with Anand’s submission that the municipal corporations should be asked to explain the reason behind the failure to clear the garbage. “Why should the corporations be asked? You are the LG. You should have found out by now…. There have been 25 meetings in the last two years but there has been no outcome. Delhi is still under a mountain of dumps,” Justice Gupta observed.





The auctioning process of Sahara group’s prized Aamby Valley properties has been put off after the auction notice failed to elicit any response from prospective buyers, the Supreme Court was informed on Thursday.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra was informed about this by the official liquidator of the Bombay High Court.

The Bench, which had appointed a court receiver to take over Sahara Group’s property at Aamby Valley, had asked the official liquidator to proceed with the auctioning process of these properties to realise the money of the investors.




Aided by an overnight fall in crude oil prices, the BSE Sensex gained over 282 points to close at a new all-time high of 36,548 points on Thursday.

Index heavyweight, Reliance Industries (RIL) jumped 4.42% to hit all-time closing high, regaining the market capitalisation of $100 billion after a gap of 10 years. RIL is the second company after Tata Consultancy Services in the $100-billion club.

While the Sensex is at an all-time high, it has not been a broad rally and many small and mid caps have not performed well.

VK Sharma, Head, Private Client Group, HDFC Securities said the overnight selloff in Brent crude prices and positive global markets move throughout the session, helped Indian markets to extend the gains.

On a sobering note, retail inflation accelerated to a five-month high in June.




Kuldeep Yadav bamboozled England batsmen with a mesmerizing spell before Rohit Sharma’s sublime century saw India cruise to an eight-wicket victory in the first ODI in Nottingham on Thursday. Kuldeep’s career-best figures of 6 for 25 allowed England to only score a modest 268 on good batting conditions.

The chase was a stroll in the park for as the runs were knocked off in only 40.1 overs courtesy Rohit’s (137 no off 114 balls).

Once Virat Kohli opted to field, the English script unfolded very much on similar lines with the T20 series, where things went downhill as soon as Kuldeep was introduced into the attack.

None of the England batsmen were able to read him and a testimony to that was his brilliant figures of 10-0-25-6, the best ever by any chinaman bowler in the history of ODIs. He bowled an astounding 38 dot balls and not once was he hit for a boundary.




In a landmark event for Indian track events, Indian sprinter Hima Das won India’s first-ever gold as she posted time of 51.46 seconds in 400 metres in women’s final at IAAF World Under-20 Athletics Championships on Thursday.

A day after storming into the women’s 400m final as the fastest runner in the semifinals heats, Hima Das broke a record to become the first Indian to get a gold in track events. She was the favourite to win the gold as she was the U-20 season leader in this quartermile event.

Running in lane number 4, Das was behind Romania’s Andrea Miklos at the final bend but produced a stunning show during the final stretch to cross the finishing line well ahead of others to win gold.

Becoming the first Indian track event athlete to ever win a medal in the history of the competition, Das now joins star Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, who won a gold in Poland in the last edition in 2016 in a world record effort.  The previous medal winners at the World Junior Championships were Seema Punia (bronze in discus in 2002) and Navjeet Kaur Dhillon (bronze in discus in 2014).




Serena Williams booked a Wimbledon final rematch against Angelique Kerber as the seven-time champion marched into her 10th All England Club title match with a 6-2 6-4 rout of Julia Goerges. On 20-match winning streak at Wimbledon, Serena is the third oldest female Grand Slam finalist in the Open era at 36 years and 291 days.

She will face German world No. 10 Kerber on Saturday in a repeat of the 2016 showpiece won by Williams.

Williams has often blasted her rivals off Centre Court with ferocious power-hitting, but German 13th seed Goerges was sent packing with a more subtle 70-minute display featuring just 16 winners and five aces.

In only her fourth tournament since the birth of her daughter Olympia in September, the 23-time Grand Slam champion is closing in on her first Major title as a mother.

Williams, who missed Wimbledon last year due to her pregnancy, won the grasscourt Grand Slam on her previous two visits in 2015 and 2016.





Sensex 36,548 (+282), Nifty 11,023 (+75), Trading Value NSE (Rs.crores) 30,463

Nasdaq 7,824 (+107) Dow 24,925 (+224), S&P 2,798 (+24)

US$-Rs. 68.35 GBP-Rs. 90.27, Euro-Rs. 79.79, UAE Dhm-Rs.18.60, Can$-Rs. 51.84, Aus$- Rs. 50.51

GBP 0.75 /US$, Euro 0.85 /US$, Jap.Yen 112.40 /US$, Aus$ 1.35 /US$, Sing 1.36 /US$, Bang Taka 83.14 /US$, Can$ 1.31 /US$, Mal Ring 4.03 /US$,

Pak Re 121.45 /US$, Phil Peso 53.44 /US$, Russian Rouble 62.20 /US$, NZ$ 1.47 /US$, Thai Baht 33.20 /US$, Ukraine Hryvnia 26.11 /US$

Bitcoin – USD 6,200

Dollar Index 94.56 Brent Crude 74.08 BDI 1586

Gold world Spot Price USD/aoz 1,246 India (Rs. per gm 24k/22k) 2979 / 2891, Silver (Rs. Per KG) 42,200



Everyone must dream. We dream to give ourselves hope. To stop dreaming — well, that’s like saying you can never change your fate. – Amy Tan


A little girl was watching her parents dress for a party. When she saw her dad donning his tuxedo, she warned, “Daddy, you shouldn’t wear that suit.”

“And why not, darling?”

“You know that it always gives you a terrible headache next morning.”

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