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Daily Briefing: Secure Shivling claim site, allow namaz in Gyanvapi, says SC; wholesale inflation surges to record high

From the Supreme Court’s order in the Gyanvapi mosque case to the Cannes film festival’s opening night, here are the top reads from today’s edition

Written by Rahel Philipose , Sonal Gupta | New Delhi |
May 18, 2022 7:21:49 am
Top news on May 18, 2022

Good morning,

The Big Story

The Supreme Court has asked the Varanasi district magistrate to secure the area where a Shivling was claimed to have been found during a videographic survey of the Kashi Vishwanath temple-Gyanvapi mosque complex without impeding or restricting the rights of Muslims to access and offer namaz at the mosque. It declined to stay proceedings before the Varanasi court regarding the matter.

Meanwhile, the Varanasi court removed Advocate Commissioner Ajay Kumar Mishra, who had been appointed initially to oversee the survey of the complex, stating that he had been “highly irresponsible” in executing the work. This came after Vishal Singh, the Special Advocate Commissioner, moved an application claiming that Mishra was not cooperating in the survey — and that a private cameraman with him was “giving bytes” to the media. The court also extended the deadline for submission of the survey report by two days to May 19.

Only in the Express

In an interview with The Indian Express, newly-elected CII President Sanjiv Bajaj, the Chairman and Managing Director of Bajaj Finserv Ltd, flags inflation as a concern and calls for smart regulation by the RBI so the innovation in the financial sector is not hampered. He also speaks about the other challenges facing the industry.

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From the Front Page

The inflation rate based on Wholesale Price Index (WPI) surged to a record high of 15.1 per cent in April, with the rise in prices of vegetables, fruits, milk, manufacturing, fuel and power, according to government data. This is the highest WPI print in the 2011-12 series.

The legal process that has been set into motion in Varanasi and the hearing in Mathura, along with the Supreme Court’s intervention, have stirred the political pot. Senior BJP leaders, including some office-bearers, told The Indian Express that “new developments” have triggered fresh debate within that could also include a relook at the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act 1991. A senior BJP leader said that the finding of a Shivling in the Gyanvapi mosque makes “restoration” of puja “imminent”.

Must Read

After renaming of Ayodhya and Prayagraj, could Lucknow be next? Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath set off feverish speculation regarding this with his tweet welcoming PM Narendra Modi to the capital. He wrote: “Sheshavatar Bhagwan Laxman ki pawan nagri Lucknow mein aapka swagat aur abhinandan (Welcome to the holy city of Lord Laxman).” This came days after the city’s Mayor, Sanyukta Bhatiya, unveiled plans by Lucknow Municipal Corporation to set up a 151-feet-tall statue of Laxman along the Gomti river.

A year has passed since security forces opened fire on protesting tribals in Chhattisgarh’s Mokur near Silger, leaving three dead. The government’s outreach initiatives since the bloody confrontation, including paved road, a ration shop, a health centre, and a community hall, have only added to the simmering resentment among the tribals who say their main demands of removal of the camp and compensation were unmet. “I have lost trust in the government. I will not vote for either parties in the next election,” Sunil Korsa, a resident of Silger village said.

Fahad Zuberi writes on the Gyanwapi Masjid case: “After the blot on our modern history called the demolition of Babri Masjid, what we see unfolding in Varanasi is another legitimisation of an apparent conflict in architectural history which, if we have not already learnt, is an exercise in violent majoritarianism.”

Last week, the Supreme Court directed the Enforcement Directorate to file by July 15 a status report on the over 50 cases of money laundering it is probing in connection with the coal blocks allocation scam. The directions came in a case where the ED had pleaded that four officers be relieved since their tenure in the agency was complete. Why has the court sought the report? Why has there been a delay? Who all were involved in the case? We explain

And Finally…

It’s May, it’s Cannes, and all’s right with the world. After two years of Covid, a film festival on the ground feels even more of a celebration. The 75th edition of the Cannes Film Festival opens today with its usual fanfare: red carpet galas at the Palais, stars sweeping down the Croisette, and film press lining up for much-anticipated goodies. This year, six Indian films will be screened at the Marche du Cinema, the film market which runs adjacent to the festival: R Madhavan’s ‘Rocketry The Nambi Effect’, Nikhil Mahajan’s ‘Godavari’, Achal Mishra’s ‘Dhuin’, Shankar Shrikumar’s ‘Alpha Beta Gamma’, Biswajeet Bora’s ‘Boomba Ride’, Jayaraj’s ‘Tree Full of Parrots’.

🤫 Delhi Confidential: Several Congress leaders holding top posts may soon have to step down once the new rules barring a person from holding a post for more than five years come into effect. For instance, Mukul Wasnik in a lighter vein said he will have to resign four times since he had been a general secretary for 23 years now. Of course, he will be given a new role. Randeep Surjewala is a general secretary in charge of Karnataka as also the communication department head. He will have to leave one.

Until tomorrow,
Rahel Philipose and Sonal Gupta

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