Controversy could well be her second name. Barely had the JNU crisis died down that HRD minister Smriti Irani’s car got involved in a ‘pile-up’ on the Yamuna Expressway, in which a doctor got killed. The dead man’s daughter insisted that while Irani did get down, she was busy tweeting and did not heed her request for help. Even as this story played out, reports emerged of how she had dealt with the V-C of Aligarh Muslim University.
Amidst reports that Christian Aid India was advised to change its registration to just ‘CA India’, the attack on a year-old church in Raipur has caused consternation. Thankfully, unlike similar attacks in the past, the police and the government acted more decisively against the culprits and promptly arrested nine of the accused.
Is all well between the ministries of finance and defence? Former army chiefs were dismayed that the budget made no mention of defence and Arun Jaitley’s speech ignored the allocation of Rs 3.4 lakh crore. The dismay gave way to anger with reports that the defence ministry returned Rs 18,000 crore of unspent money from last year. Manohar Parikkar, though, retorted that he is a tough negotiator and was actually saving money.
Maria Sharapova’s reputation as a star whose tennis looked as pleasing as the person behind the racquet lies in tatters after she admitted to testing positive for a banned drug during the Australian Open. Meldonium was not on the banned list for the 10 years she had been taking it for health reasons. The rules changed on January 1, but she forgot to “click” to see if her medicine was on it. With suspension in the offing, sponsors Nike, Tag Heueur and Porsche quickly distanced themselves from her. But Sharapova’s sense of humour did not desert her: “I know many of you thought that I would be retiring today, but if I was ever going to announce my retirement it would not be in a downtown Los Angeles hotel with this fairly ugly carpet.”
Attorney-general Mukul Rohatgi argued in the Supreme Court that a secular state could not set up a minority institution like the Aligarh Muslim University. But in poll-bound Assam, he is expected to defend the Centre’s decision to allow only Hindus among the post-1971 migrants to become citizens. While the AGP petition challenging its constitutionality is before the SC, it has not stopped the regional party and the BJP from forging an alliance for next month’s assembly polls.
Why can’t Muslim women have four husbands, asked high court judge B. Kamal Pasha while acknowledging that the Muslim personal law was heavily loaded against women. While Islamic nations have banned polygamy, he pointed out, in India the practice was still allowed. More and more sane voices like the judge’s are pitching in for a common code that would restore the dignity of Muslim women.
A politician fat-shaming schoolgirls and telling them they must win medals because taxpayers’ money is being spent on them isn’t a pleasant sight. But sports minister D. Sundararaj’s midnight inspection, caught on video, doesn’t stop just there. He asks a girl if her mother knew she was gaining weight. When the girl mumbles that her father did, the minister asks whether the parents lived together. Yuck!