Morning digest: Minorities in north India bear the brunt of post-election hate crimes, Court quashes case against Boris Johnson, and more

Three days after the spectacular verdict of the 2019 general election that gave Prime Minister Narendra Modi a second term, Mohammad Qasim was shot at for being a Muslim in Kumbhi village. It falls under the jurisdiction of Cheria-Bariyarpur police station in Begusarai district, Bihar.

Looking back, it would appear that the atmosphere had already been vitiated by politicians in the run-up to the general election. Hindutva poster boy and Union Minister Giriraj Singh won the Begusarai Lok Sabha seat by defeating CPI candidate Kanhaiya Kumar, a former president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University student union; Rashtriya Janata Dal candidate Tanvir Hussain came a distant third. Campaigning for the polls, Singh repeatedly hit the headlines with controversial statements.

Admission to undergraduate courses in all government-funded universities and colleges will soon be through all-India entrance tests, if the draft National Education Policy is approved. Private institutes will also be strongly encouraged to make use of the common admission tests, which will be available from 2020. Both aptitude and subject knowledge-based tests will be offered.

The system seems to have some similarities to the SAT, a standardised aptitude test widely used for admissions to colleges and universities in the United States. The SAT, however, is used as a criterion alongside school grades.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday began a three-day visit of Wayanad, the constituency that elected him to the Lok Sabha with the biggest victory margin in Kerala’s history (4.31 lakh votes) in the recent elections, assuring the State that he will be Kerala’s voice in Delhi.

Mr. Gandhi took out roadshows at Kalikavu, Nilambur, Edavanna and Areekode, the towns in Malappuram district coming under the Assembly segments of Wandoor, Nilambur and Eranad, which constitute the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency together with Kalpetta, Sulthan Bathery and Mananthavady in Wayanad district and Thiruvambady in Kozhikode district.

The Uttar Pradesh police on Friday constituted a Special Investigation Team to probe the murder of an infant in Aligarh amid huge public outcry.

A forensic team will also be part of the probe to ascertain the full nature of the crime; preliminary autopsy reports ruled out rape and concluded the child was murdered by strangulation.

The SIT would be headed by SP (Rural) Aligarh and would include SOG and surveillance teams for technical support, said UP ADG Law and Order Anand Kumar.

The officer said the SIT would gather “forensic science and scientific evidence” and the case would be probed on a fast-track mode and sent to court.

Severe dust storm and lightning in various parts of Uttar Pradesh claimed at least 26 lives and left 57 people injured as houses and walls collapsed and trees were uprooted, prompting authorities to launch large-scale relief operations on Friday.

Mainpuri district bore the brunt of nature’s fury late on Thursday night as six people died there in separate cases of wall collapse and lightning, the State Relief Commissioner said.

Forty-one people were injured in the district and uprooted trees blocked vehicular movement on the State highways leading to massive traffic jams.

Police said most of the injuries occurred when people sleeping inside their mud houses were caught unawares as walls collapsed due to the thunderstorm.

The American sociologist, C. Wright Mills, known for classic works like The Power Elite, dubbed the years of the Dwight D. Eisenhower presidency (1953-61) as the great celebration. The United States was celebrating its sense of dominance even as the Cold War and the McCarthy era were gnawing its entrails.

Something of the hypocrisy and the complacency of the time haunts the India of today. We seem to belong to the future, yet the more outdated we become as a country. The Narendra Modi government seems to celebrate a series of ironic events as a great victory. The very scale of its electoral score and the puniness of the Opposition seem to have unhinged it.

President Maithripala Sirisena on Friday said that he conveyed to the Speaker earlier this week that the ongoing probe into the Easter attacks by a parliamentary panel could hinder court proceedings in the criminal investigations of the bombings.

On Thursday, however, the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) — which was informed of the President’s note — told the Speaker that sittings would continue. In a letter to the Speaker, PSC members said the Parliament is the sole judge of its powers and privileges, and had exclusive jurisdiction over its own proceedings, The Hindu has learnt, from top sources familiar with the correspondence.

Judges at London’s High Court have thrown out an attempt to prosecute Boris Johnson for allegedly lying about Brexit during the 2016 EU referendum campaign. The case revolved around a claim famously emblazoned on Mr. Johnson’s “Leave” campaign bus that Britain would be £350 million a week better off outside the EU.

Opponents argued that it was deliberately misleading and it became symbolic of the divisions caused by the referendum, which saw Britons vote 52-48% to leave the European Union.

Marcus Ball, 29, had tried to prosecute Johnson for misconduct in a public office and last month, a judge said Johnson must appear in court over the allegation.

After the Supreme Court struck down the controversial February 12, 2018 circular of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on stressed asset resolution, the banking regulator on Friday released revised set of norms which are substantially less stringent from the previous one.

In particular, neither there is a mandate to start resolution which results in higher provisioning if there is a single day default nor a mandate for initiating insolvency proceeding if resolution plan is not implemented for large accounts within a time frame. However, the RBI has sought to nudge banks towards the insolvency courts by introducing a disincentive in the form of additional provisions for delayed resolution.

Cast in the blue shade, Rohit Sharma seems a different persona. His luminous talent was never in doubt but the same potential was never fully harnessed in Tests.

But throw him into an ODI, allow a fast bowler to steam in or a spinner to amble down and just watch Rohit transform. There is assurance in his gait and a nonchalance to the way he plays his strokes all over the park. It is no surprise that he has lorded over the format and has even struck three double hundreds!

Dominance is his obvious second skin but, on Wednesday as India buckled down to chase South Africa’s 227 at the Hampshire Bowl in Southampton, the opener revealed that he does possess patience too in abundance.


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