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Seven Days

The states of the nation: news, headlines, gossip, rumours, things we learnt

Seven Days
A Question Of Dignity

The Indian army set a questionable standard by making job applicants, all young men, strip to their underwear in Muzaffarpur and take a written test sitting in the open. The explanation—that this was done to ensure examinees do not hide cell phones or pieces of paper in order to cheat—would be unacceptable in any self-respecting society. By not protesting, the administration and legislators would seem to have let down the people.

Nationalist Congress

Accused in Parliament by flag-waving BJP MP and BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur of supporting “anti-nationals”, the Cong­ress is demanding that the India-Pak T20 World Cup match at Dharamsala be cancelled or shifted out of the state. CM Vir­bhadra Singh and an ex-servicemen’s lea­gue claim the match would be an insult to locals martyred in Kargil and Pulwama.

Deity & Demons

Smriti Irani flaunted a poster in Parliament that called a Hindu goddess a “prostitute”. V.V. Rajesh, BJP general secretary in Kerala, repeated the sex worker appellation on TV. But it was Sindhu Sooryakumar, Asianet News moderator of a discussion on whether deifying Mahishasur could be seditious, who was showered with thr­eats, abuses and hate mail.

Bollywood Script

She says he married her for her celebrity status; he accuses her of eyeing his money. She complains of domestic abuse; he says she wasn’t a good wife or mother. She accuses him of dowry abuse; he says he faces a threat to his life from the underworld. And so it goes on, the ugly marital spat between Karisma Kapoor and Sunjay Kapur, who runs a Rs 5,000-crore auto empire. Last November, the actress withdrew her mutual consent to a divorce but he launched a fresh case in January, brin­ging out the dirty linen of the 13-year marriage. Children’s custody and trusteeship of a fund are at the heart of it all. Meanwhile, she has been linked with a pharma company head and he with a socialite once married to a US-based Sikh hotelier’s son.

Audit The Government

One state takes 10 years to form a board for workers’ welfare in the unorganised sector; several states collect money for their welfare and keep it in fixed deposits. The Union law ministry forwards 300 names for elevation to the high courts against 450 vacancies. No doubt Supreme Court Chief Justice T.S. Thakur’s call for a “social audit” of state and central governments would please many, but others would surely ask if judicial overreach is growing beyond bounds.

A Radial Turn

Once known only for her voice on the tapes that revealed the ugly orgy of politics, business and the media, Niira Radia says she has found her calling with the launch of a 351-bed super-speciality hospital in Math­ura. With Ratan Tata certifying her philanthrophic turn, Radia now denies she was ever ‘a lobbyist or corporate communications person’.

Amritsari Chhole

Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal faced a piquant problem when cooks summoned from Amritsar for her annual lunch for MPs and journalists in New Delhi insisted on using water from the holy city for preparing Amritsari chhole. Her husband, deputy CM Sukhbir Badal, had to orga­nise police escort to protect the water from Jat agitators on its way to the capital.


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