The Supreme Court has admitted a petition filed by over 300 Armymen “claiming that exposing them to CBI and police prosecution for exigencies during operational encounters against insurgents will endanger ‘national security’”, reports The Times of India.
The “exigencies”, otherwise known as encounter killings, arise from the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which the petitioners seek to maintain. In other words, the petitioners demand that soldiers in disturbed areas be allowed to exercise the right to open fire without the possibility of investigation by civilian authorities.
According to Hindustan Times, the petition says that any investigation into the “criminality, misuse, abuse, negligence, excessive power, judgment error, mistake, bonafide or malafide, of actions done in good faith by soldiers operating in AFSPA areas, without considering the Standard Operating Procedures of Indian Army, should be declared illegal and unconstitutional”.
Happy 72nd, India. On the eve of Independence Day, President Ram Nath Kovind said that a civilised society had no place for violence, and that citizens should not to be distracted by “contentious issues and extraneous debates”, The Hindu reports. Amid increasing concerns over mob violence, the President expressed his faith in the power of ‘ahimsa (non-violence)’, as propagated by Mahatma Gandhi, against that of ‘himsa (violence)’.
The rupee hit a record low Tuesday. The Indian currency went below the 70/$ level to hit a record low of 70.08/09, Hindustan Times reports. With the crash in the Turkish lira, the currencies of emerging markets experienced a devastating plunge. The Indian rupee recovered slightly after interventions from the RBI, and closed at 69.89/90 against the dollar.
Within 2018, the rupee has fallen by over 8.5 per cent. However, economic Affairs secretary Subhash Chandra Garg attributed the fall to ‘external factors’ and said there was nothing to worry as long as other currencies were depreciating as well.
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi hit out at the Prime Minister, saying the national currency had given “a vote of no-confidence to the Supreme Leader”. He posted a video of Modi from 2013, mocking the then government for rupee’s depreciation.
The Indian #Rupee just gave the Supreme Leader, a vote of NO confidence, crashing to a historic low. Listen to the Supreme Leader's master class on economics in this video, where he explains why the Rupee is tanking. pic.twitter.com/E8O5u9kb23
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 14, 2018
One nation, several polls: The BJP’s dream of simultaneous elections is unlikely to come to fruition soon. Chief election commissioner O.P. Rawat cited logistical reasons — namely the unavailability of enough voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines – to rule out a simultaneous election exercise just yet.
While the possibility of delaying elections in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Mizoram, and Chhattisgarh has been ruled out, Rawat has reportedly suggested the EC is prepared for eight states to vote simultaneously next year, telling The Indian Express, “We need about 14 lakh (VVPAT) machines for Lok Sabha (elections) plus five states, whereas we have ordered 17.4 lakh (VVPAT) machines. There will be a cushion of 2.4 lakh units, which is enough to cover three large states. For instance, Madhya Pradesh needs 80,000 VVPATs. Any (three) other state(s) with such requirement can (also) be catered to (in 2019).”
Introducing simultaneous elections could require up to five constitutional amendments. Is it worth it? We’ll let you decide.
Rafale or not, video wars are here to remain: The Rafale deal has generated high-decibel debates, with an ever growing back-and-forth between the government and the opposition over propriety and possible corruption. What it has also done is nurture video-making skills among India’s political players.
In response to the Rafale deal explanation by TV actor Pallavi Joshi, tweeted by senior BJP leaders and pro-government actors, the Congress hit back with the same ‘lock analogy’ used by Joshi.
Trapped in the web of lies on #RafaleDeal? Watch this "real" explanation.
— Congress (@INCIndia) August 14, 2018
News it’s just kinda cool to know:
A study has found that evolved rocks in Canada are a result of collisions between Earth’s melting crust and asteroids four billion years ago. Much like life, rocks too evolve to become giant structures. According to the study, the rocks melted at low pressures, making it likely that they were formed on the Earth’s crust.
A new patented drug that works to disintegrate blood clots in the brain — the leading cause for ischemic strokes — is reportedly set for launch in India in a “cost-effective” way.
According to the American Stroke Association, strokes are the second leading cause of deaths worldwide, and are especially prevalent in India.
Planning to buy a new handset? Better you buy it now. With rupee crashing to a record low against dollar, handset makers, who mostly import components from China, may increase prices by 4-6 per cent to factor in higher input costs, reports The Economic Times.
The telecom sector will also bear the burden of the rupee’s fall: The expansion plans of 4G operators might be put on hold as the cost of imported gear may go up by Rs 14,000 crore, reports The Economic Times.
Point of View
The alleged murder attempt on JNU student leader Umar Khalid in the heart of the capital shocked the country. The Indian Express writes in its editorial, “That image from Constitution Club hurts a nation that celebrates the 72nd anniversary of its freedoms.”
As India celebrates its 72ndIndependence Day, the question worth asking is, what is the status of social harmony in the country? Anubhav Sinha, the director of Mulk, writes in a column in The Indian Express, “In my film, I tried to deal with the issues of social harmony that have been on my mind for three decades. As Indians, we must ask these questions, even if there is no single answer.”
Meanwhile, former diplomat Gopalkrishna Gandhi, in his column in The Hindu, reflects on what it means to unfurl the flag from the ramparts of the Red Fort. He writes, “When the Prime Minister unfurls the national flag at the Red Fort, ‘we the people of India’ unfurl it through him.” He adds, “If Prime Minister Modi says that for anyone lynched he feels responsible, he will make Bharat feel proud.”
The government’s just-released Ease of Living Index 2018 leaves much to be desired. The Times of India writes in its editorial,“The first ranking of cities based on an ease of living index is a start, if not perfect, at identifying the comparative strengths and weaknesses of Indian cities.”
Rajdeep Sardesai interviewed Umar Khalid on India Today TV Tuesday night. The questions concerned the recent attack on Khalid and his reaction to the general situation in the country.
The student leader attributed the attack to the “vicious atmosphere of hatred and lies created by the government”. He said the attack was the result of the continuous process of “demonising” JNU and its students as “tukde tukde gang” and “anti-nationals”.
#Forcesfightback was the major theme on Republic TV, with the debate centring on the petition filed by more than 300 Army personnel for protection against any persecution from courts or civilian agencies. The hashtags and talking points on the very loud show included ‘Who protects our soldiers?’ and ‘Face CBI for fighting India?’.
When human rights activist John Dayal called for greater restraint and vigilance by the forces, Goswami lost his cool. Accusing Dayal of being “a sell-out and one who has sold his soul to Uncle Sam”, Goswami announced that he “will not let the ‘tukde tukde gang’ take root in the country”.