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From The Explained editor: The ban on PFI, forests at night, and free grains for the poor

We unpacked a very significant judgment passed by the Supreme Court this week, which, in sum, laid down the right to safe and legal termination of pregnancy for all women, irrespective of marital status.

Dear Express Explained reader,

It’s been a newsy week, and we’ve had a lot of explaining to do on a range of subjects and issues, from law and courts to diplomacy and strategic affairs.

The government has declared the radical Islamic organisation Popular Front of India (PFI) an “unlawful association”, a designation that is colloquially referred to as a “ban”. Other such banned organisations are SIMI and the CPI (Maoist), besides several separatist and transnational terrorist outfits. Apurva Vishwanath explained what “unlawful association” means, and what consequences can follow from such designation by the government.

Apurva also unpacked a very significant judgment passed by the Supreme Court this week, which, in sum, laid down the right to safe and legal termination of pregnancy for all women, irrespective of marital status. The explainer contains India’s abortion law as it exists, the specific provisions which the court picked out for intervention, and its reasoning for it. Separately, Apurva and Esha Roy wrote about the fallout of the judgment on India’s ongoing debate on marital rape. Do read.

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Over the last weekend, the chief minister of Assam, in the company of a prominent spiritual leader, drove a vehicle into the Kaziranga National Park after sunset, a time when the park is usually closed for visitors. After a controversy began, the chief minister said he had broken no laws — an assertion which, although technically correct, carries unpredictable risks if it comes to be routinely claimed as a right by people in positions of power and authority. Jay Mazoomdaar wrote about the laws that govern the entry of people inside India’s protected forests, and the issues that the chief minister’s action raises.

The government has given a seventh extension to the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY), its social welfare scheme under which eligible individual beneficiaries of the National Food Security Act, 2013, receive 5 kg of free foodgrains every month over and above their entitlement under the food law. The scheme was started after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, and will now continue until the end of this year. Harikishan Sharma and Liz Mathew wrote about the PM-GKAY, and the political and economic context for its various extensions.

Before ending this week’s newsletter, I’d like to flag to you three other interesting, big-picture pieces that we published, containing valuable perspective on subjects that keep returning to the news cycle from time to time.

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Shyamlal Yadav wrote a political profile of the OBC Kurmi community who, seen in the light of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s recent moves, seem ready for a new phase of assertion in the Hindi heartland.

Nirupama Subramanian explained the context of the ongoing turmoil in Pakistan, and the tussle that lies at its heart: who gets to appoint the next chief of the country’s army?

Shubhajit Roy wrote about the remarkable evolution of the relationship between India and the United States over the last two decades, and the stresses that have developed in it as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and now, the annexation of large parts of Ukrainian territory.

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Keep reading The Indian Express Explained. Some of our best content is now behind a paywall, so if you haven’t subscribed to The Indian Express yet, it may be a good idea to do so soon.

Sincerely,

Monojit

First published on: 02-10-2022 at 08:57:21 pm
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