The states of the nation: news, headlines, gossip, rumours, things we learnt
When the Republican candidate in the US presidential election, Donald Trump, turned 70 on June 16, the Hindu Sena celebrated it with a 7-kg chocolate cake, orange and blue balloons, and an orchestra at Jantar Mantar, a popular site for protests in the city. “Join us to celebrate the birthday of the savior of humanity, Mr Trump,” the invitation said. The outfit’s chief Vishnu Gupta told the media, “He is our hero. We follow every occasion related to him.”
The President’s refusal to give his assent to a Delhi government bill excluding the post of parliamentary secretary from the list of ‘office of profit’ has queered the pitch for 21 AAP legislators who hold those posts. MHA sources say these MLAs will stand disqualified. “Modiji says all of you should sit at home and not work,” tweeted Arvind Kejriwal.
Through to the 1960s, this southern state was rocked by “anti-Hindi riots”, triggered by the Centre’s attempts to impose compulsory Hindi in schools. Now, under the BJP-led central government, the fear that the same script would play out with Sanskrit has made DMK supremo M. Karunanidhi warn of similar protests. On June 15, the Dravidian leader said every Tamilian should be ready to “chase away” the language.
In April 2006, the Bar Council called ‘My Lord’ a “relic of the colonial past”. Come 2016, we have travelled a long way. At a high tea with the PM at the Allahabad High Court on June 14, a judge touched Modi’s feet in the traditional way of showing fealty. There was also a scramble to click selfies with the “man of the moment” (a judge’s words for the PM). This is the same court where Justice J.L. Sinha had once pronounced the verdict that dislodged another PM from office, leading to the Emergency.
The BJP’s campaign for the 2017 assembly polls seems to have begun on the wrong foot. After milking the Muzaffarnagar riots in the 2014 general election, the stage seemed set for polarisation of votes after party MP Hukum Singh claimed 346 Hindu families had fled from his Muslim-dominated constituency Kairana in Shamli district, which was seriously affected by the 2013 riots. Party chief Amit Shah lost no time in rhetorically asking Akhilesh Yadav, “Do you want such an exodus from UP?” Soon he had egg on his face as media reports showed most of those on the list were still around or had left long ago for greener pastures. Hukum Singh made a quick turnaround, blaming his staff for the “error”.
Pregnant students can’t be exempted from attendance rules, ruled a Kerala High Court judge, dismissing a petition by Jasmine V.G. of Kannur University. Insisting pregnancy is “an optional choice”, Justice K.V. Chandran disagreed with a 2010 Delhi HC verdict that said denying exemption is to consider pregnancy a crime.
Journalists took to the streets this week in protest against the blocking of Sakshi News and No. 1 News. Miffed by the coverage of the Kapus’ campaign for reservation, led by a former TDP leader M. Padmanabhan, the N. Chandrababu Naidu government ordered operators to block the channels promoted by YSR Congress chief Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy. The Kapu agitation seems to be giving the TDP regime sleepless nights.