With the Supreme Court verdict in the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case expected any day now, Ayodhya is a sea of khaki. There are policemen every few steps on the road leading to the disputed site. “We are not bothered by the presence of policemen. The trouble starts only when politicians bring outsiders to the town,” says Arun Kumar Gupta, 62. This suspicion of “outsiders” as troublemakers is echoed by most people in the temple town, reports Asad Rehman.
In first remarks on the alleged surveillance of phones of Indian rights activists and journalists by operators using Israeli spyware Pegasus via WhatsApp, Justice (retd) B N Srikrishna, who chaired the committee of experts on data protection, told Seema Chishti: “I am extremely alarmed. If the reports are true, we may be sliding into an Orwellian State with Big Brother snooping on us, as depicted in the novel 1984.”
Associate Editor Sandeep Singh and Special Correspondent Krishn Kaushik have won the Press Council of India’s National Awards for Excellence in Journalism in the Financial Reporting category for their series of investigative reports on the conflict of interest in the business dealings of then ICICI CEO Chanda Kochhar’s family members with companies to which ICICI Bank had loaned hundreds of crores of rupees. Senior Editor Anuradha Mascarenhas has won the award under the Gender-Based Reporting category.
Due process, the imperative to follow it, was missing in the Tis Hazari incident. Why was an enquiry ordered against the police? Why was it not about the incident? I also wonder how the court pre-judged the issue? I am seething with anger at an unjust system that has decided against the uniform without giving it a chance to defend itself, writes IPS Officer Meeran Chadha Borwankar.
The Human Resource Development Ministry has approached the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), seeking permanent deployment of a contingent on the Visva-Bharati University campus in Santiniketan. This is the first time the Union government has officially pitched for deployment of paramilitary forces in its educational institution. Currently, no central university has paramilitary forces or even police personnel stationed permanently on campus.
In case Cyclone Maha allows the game to go ahead, India will keep chopping and changing their playing XI. This is because India doesn’t have a great record in this format, and its T20I squad currently looks in a state of flux, with no clarity on which player fits into which slot. With a forecast of “heavy to more heavy rains”, chances are the match might be a total washout or at least a curtailed one.
In what’s probably a first, the Catholic Church in Kerala has formed a unit of retired military and paramilitary men called the Gabriel Sena — formed to help with crowd control. The launch of the Sena comes at a time when the clergy has come in for questioning from the faithful on a number of issues, from sex scandals to land rows.
During the course of arguments, the Hindu side had relied on the reports of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and submitted as evidence that Babri Masjid was on land on which stood a “massive structure” dating back to at least the second century BC, and not on vacant or agricultural land. Meanwhile, the Muslim side argued that ASI reports are at best expert “opinions” and “cannot be accepted as evidence” to decide the case.