The states of the nation: news, headlines, gossip, rumours, things we learnt
When a flash mob of young mothers and their babies gathered on June 5 in Bangalore’s Garuda Mall to dance and celebrate the third anniversary of online forum BSIM (Breastfeeding Support for Indian Moms), they made for a striking picture. Starting from Pune, the Facebook forum that encourages exclusive breastfeeding for six months and continued breastfeeding for two years, now boasts of 17,000 members across the country.
The Baroda corporation’s ambitious plan to relocate people from a slum at Suleiman Chowk to Kapurai area hit a roadblock when Kapurai’s Hindu residents objected, claiming the relocation would disturb the peace. Former Delhi High Court chief justice Rajinder Sachar is among those demanding that the relocation should proceed as planned.
Even as the new Pondicherry lieutenant governor Kiran Bedi banned the use of beacons on VIP vehicles, Bhopal mayor Alok Sharma hit the headlines the same day, the World Environment Day, by symbolically riding a bicycle fitted with a red beacon for the benefit of cameras. In a bid to avoid dust, the corporation laid out a green carpet for his cycle.
For the first time in the country, a juvenile justice court allowed the police to refer the case of a minor involved in the Mercedes hit-and-run case to a regular court where he will be tried as an adult. The car he was allegedly driving had run over a business consultant in his 30s, killing him. The board was swayed by the police submission that the juvenile had been let off for four traffic violations earlier. The decision sets a bad precedent though, feel a section of activists.
On February 28, 2002, barely 3 km from a police control room in Ahmedabad, former MP Ehsan Jafri was lynched at Gulberg Society. The mob also torched 29 bungalows and 10 apartments. The violence that started at 8 am continued till 5 pm, leaving a body count of 69. More than 14 years later, a special court has convicted 24 (11 for murder), but dropped conspiracy and rape charges, triggering outrage among the victims’ kin. The ball was set rolling long back when an SIT accepted the then CM Narendra Modi’s claim that he learnt of the violence only at 8 pm and did not even know who the former MP was. Survivors claim Jafri had called Modi, who allegedly abused him.
Arms training camps by RSS affiliates are giving ideas to others. Now Kapu leader and former minister Mudragada Padmanabham has announced the formation of ‘Kapu Senas’ in all 13 districts. The aim, ostensibly, is to train young people to agitate for getting Kapus included in the OBC list. Padmanabham apparently believes the training will help the youngsters learn to value discipline.
The IITs can continue to follow the OBC quota while recruiting senior faculty in humanities, social sciences and management, but central universities cannot, the University Grants Commission has ruled. This, while the central universities have been asked to persist with the quotas for SCs and STs in recruitment. There is a lot in and under the HRD ministry that make no sense, but this one surely deserves to be included in textbooks.