Archives  >  2020  >  January  >  10th

The Protesting Indian

1. What’s the story?

From student marches in Delhi to women’s sit-ins in Calcutta; from peaceful processions in Guwahati to occupying the Gateway of India — protests against the controversial CAA/NRC acts are sweeping the nation. And according to experts, they are unlikely to stop anytime soon. On Thursday night, fresh violence erupted in India’s capital when police lathi-charged a peaceful student’s gathering marching towards Rashtrapati Bhavan. 

Tell me more.   

“The Delhi Police lathi-charged and detained Jawaharlal Nehru University students outside the premises of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) on Thursday evening.

This after a meeting between ministry officials and the varsity’s student union did not yield a positive result, with JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh calling the talks ‘unsatisfactory’ and telling protesters that officials had not agreed to suspend JNU vice-chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar for his alleged inaction during the 5 January incident of violence in the campus and calling for the march towards Rashtrapati Bhavan to continue. At least one person was injured in the scuffle.

CPM leaders Sitaram Yechury, D Raja, Prakash and Brinda Karat, and LJD leader Sharad Yadav were also part of the march on Thursday, before the meeting between the JNU delegation and the MHRD. Brinda, referring to the ruling BJP at the Centre, said, “People have started speaking up and that is what these people are not able to take. They are manufacturing stories that the protests have nothing to do with students or workers but are political.””

Related to this, in an unexpected turn of events, veteran BJP leader, Murli Manohar Joshi has called for the removal of JNU’s vice-chancellor.

“ “Reports are that the HRD ministry had twice advised the JNU VC to implement certain reasonable and working formula for resolving the issue of enhanced fees in JNU. He was also advised to reach out to teachers and students. 

It is shocking that the VC is adamant on not implementing the government proposal. This attitude is deplorable and in my opinion such a VC should not be allowed to continue on this post,” Joshi tweeted.”

So, what now?

Even though protests have been unrelenting for almost the past one month, the Government has yet to take any concrete steps to address the main grievances. 

Keep your eyes on this space. We’ll keep you updated.

2. Where else should I be keeping my eyes on?

The Supreme Court of India, that’s where. A significant ruling on Kashmir’s fate is set to happen on Friday, when the court will “deliver judgment on the petitions challenging the communication blockade, internet shutdown and other prohibitory measures imposed in Kashmir region…

“… restrictions of such a wide scale for a period spanning over three months can be invoked only by declaring an emergency under Article 352 of the Constitution

The restrictions have virtually paralyzed the lives of 7 million people; their daily lives have been impacted. Education, medical care, business, agriculture, tourism, etc., have taken a bad hit due to the lockdown of the state, submitted the petitioners. 

The Central Government … that restrictions were necessary in the interests of national security.”

Fingers crossed for this one, y’all.

3. What more?

In a controversial move, the Uttar Pradesh Government has suspended Noida’s SSP after reports of his corruption allegations against top officers were leaked. 

“Noida SSP Vaibhav Krishna was Thursday suspended after details of a report he prepared, leveling serious corruption allegations against top police officers of the state, were leaked. Three IPS officers mentioned in the report, allegedly involved in cash for transfers, have been transferred.

A high-level probe committee headed by Director Vigilance, including an IPS officer and an IAS official, has been formed to look into the allegations made in the report.

In November, Krishna had sent the confidential report to the offices of the Chief Minister and the DGP. He prepared it following the arrest of journalists Sushil Pandit, Udit Goyal, Chandan Rai and Nitesh Pandey by Gautam Buddh Nagar police for alleged publication of fake news about police officers, involvement in illegal land occupation, seeking money for favours, and intimidation.

During investigation against the four, their alleged conversations with senior police officers about payment for postings came to light.”

4. Anything else?

Over in the UK, British MPs have finally approved of a Brexit deal. The Brexit process, which started back in 2016, seems to be finally moving to its last stage. 

“Britain passed a major milestone on the road to Brexit when the House of Commons on Thursday approved a bill authorizing the country’s departure from the European Union at the end of the month. 

Lawmakers voted by 330-231 to pass the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which sets the terms of Britain’s departure from the 28-nation bloc. The comfortable majority won by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives in an election last month secured the bill’s passage despite the opposition of smaller parties.

After passing through the Parliament’s unelected House of Lords — which can delay but not overturn the result in the Commons — the bill should become law in time for the UK to leave the EU on the scheduled date of Jan. 31 and become the first nation ever to quit the bloc.”

5. Is that all?

Australia is still burning. The recent brush fires across the nation has killed billions of animals, destroyed property, and caused untold damage to the environment. Here are some things you should know

“The fires have now killed at least 27 people and destroyed almost 2,000 homes. The blazes turned skies orange and made breathing the air in Sydney as bad as smoking 37 cigarettes. Those are just the impacts to people. The destruction to the country’s land and biodiversity is harder to fathom. An estimated 1 billion animals have been lost, and scientists fear long-term damage to many sensitive ecosystems.

Though rain brought firefighters a slight reprieve Wednesday, the AP reports that hot and windy conditions that will keep the fires burning are expected to return later this week.

It’s a disaster that’s particularly ominous: In a warming world, extreme fire events like this one will only grow more likely to occur.

Australia is one of the great biodiversity hotspots in the world. The island continent was isolated from the rest of the world for millions of years, allowing evolution to take strange new paths, and until fairly recently, with little human influence.

Around 244 species of mammals are found only in Australia. Before the fires, its great diversity of life was already threatened due to invasive species, habitat destruction, and climate change, according to Australia’s science research agency, CSIRO. Now, ecologists are fearing severe ecological consequences from so much land being burnt at once.

“The whole concept of an ecosystem is about connectivity,” Manu Saunders, an ecologist at the University of New England in Australia, says. “Across whole forests there are millions of individuals, and hundreds of different species in those forests that all rely on each other. And if you lose one, it’s like a link in a chain, you then lose the others that it is connected to.”

The loss here is almost hard to fathom. A staggering 1 billion animals are now estimated dead, though there’s a good deal of uncertainty in that figure.”

6. Before you leave…

Take a look at the mysterious radio signal emanating from a nearby galaxy similar to ours.

“Humans may have conquered the ability to float about in space, leave a mark on the moon, and even snap photos of a Martian winter, but there’s still a lot of the great unknown we are yet to discover. Now, a mysterious repeated radio signal coming from a nearby galaxy could widen the scope of exploring the universe beyond our Milky Way, especially since scientists have confirmed that it came from a spiral-like galaxy that is similar to our own.

On January 6, 2020, astronomers announced that they had detected and traced back a repeating fast radio burst (FRB)—inexplicably intense blasts of energy in the form of electromagnetic radio waves. They say it could be anything from unexplored natural phenomena to a sign of alien life trying to contact us. While scientists still aren’t sure whether this is actually a real-life ET indicating their arrival on earth or just a totally random event, they have confirmed that it comes from a galaxy only half-a-billion light-years away, closer than any of the four bursts previously found, and most notably has a nature that bears a striking resemblance to our own.”

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