Arrested over a rumour

Remember this news story I had linked to earlier in the day?:

Meanwhile, a tried and tested pattern manifests again. At a private university in Mewar, Rajasthan, “rumours are floated” that a few Kashmiri students are cooking and eating beef. A scuffle results. Assorted — and unnamed — “Hindu religious groups” arrive at the venue and raise slogans. Thankfully, the police manage to defuse this particular manufactured crisis.

It now turns out the four students involved — who were beaten up when the rumour first surfaced — have been arrested.

Police rushed to the site and arrested four students under Section 151 of CrPC (arrest to prevent commission of cognisable offences) on Tuesday.

Say what? They were arrested to prevent the commission of cognisable offences? Which would be what, exactly?The Station House Officer of the concerned police station says:

The Station House Officer of the concerned police station says:

“We also collected the sample of the meat, which prima facie does not appear to be beef. However, the samples have been sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory for testing and the report is awaited.” he said.

Someone starts a rumour. The police says prima facie, there is no truth to the allegation. And it is the victims of the rumour who are arrested, not the ones who spread it and created a situation that led to actual violence and the possibility of more?

We’ve been banging on about whether there is tolerance in this country. “Where is the intolerance? Show me the intolerance!”, the apologists for the lunatic fringe keep yelling from every available podium.

The hell with that — it is time to reframe the question. And to ask:

Is there due process in this country?

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“According to informed sources…”

An infallible resource for understanding the workings of the government — any government, anywhere — is Jonathan Lynn and Anthony Jay’s Yes Minister. Remember this clip?

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Kanhaiya Kumar, tomorrow and yesterday

Tomorrow, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court will hear a petition demanding that the bail given to the JNUSU president be revoked.

Yesterday he spoke, thus:

Also read, this “open letter” by Kiran Nagarkar to Kanhaiya Kumar.

 

TIL: We have no guaranteed right to privacy

I know this, because Arun Jaitley says so, in course of the ongoing debate in the Rajya Sabha about the Aadhaar bill.

This statement, and the larger theme of privacy, is apt to grow legs in the coming days and weeks. Meanwhile, follow the debate — there are many important points being made. And if you have no access to TV, check out this Twitter stream. (The associated website, a work in progress, is also a useful bookmark).

We are, meanwhile, approaching the second anniversary of this very valid remark:

Not a “gotcha” — the point is, the concerns being voiced now are the concerns that were voiced back then. Which raises the question: Why is a project that all agree is riddled with concerns being sought to be shoe-horned into the books, in the guise of a money bill?

Watch-list: Kakrapar

#1 in an occasional series on stories that slip under the radar because we are too busy analysing the hell out of two a pie-fight between two Bollywood personalities: The leak at the Kakrapur nuclear plant, and the total silence thereafter:

We know that on-site emergency was declared in Kakrapar late evening on March 11 although the accident happened, or started, around 9 am. But we don’t know if the emergency has been lifted and if the situation has returned to normal.

We also don’t know the status of workers, especially those who were on the morning shift that day. All that we have is assurances from the plant officials that radiation counts are “not abnormally high”. When this author spoke to the district magistrate of Surat on the phone, he said he has nothing to say beyond what has appeared in the official press release.

Last heard, the plant officials said they are yet to ascertain the cause of the leak. The current chief of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board said to the press that “the magnitude of the coolant system failure is significant”.

 

 

Number of employees in Kingfisher Airlines: two

This story:

Unbelievable as that may be, that’s the number of employees for whom Kingfisher Airlines Ltd made remittances to the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF), according to a statement issued by the labour ministry on Tuesday.

Between January 2013 and September 2015, the airline paid EPF for just two employees.

Cry me a lake

In a well-researched, wonderfully atmospheric story, photo-journalist Arati Kumar-Rao looked at how Bangalore was built around, and evolved because of, its lakes.

He understood the lay of the land, and appreciated its intrinsic arid nature. Availability of water, he realized back then, would dictate the prosperity of his city. With this thought foremost, he planned and constructed tanks adjacent to each collection of people.

After a 37-year rule, Kempe Gauda I passes on the baton to his successor Kempe Gauda II, who shares his father’s sensibilities and planning skills. Kempe Gauda II builds four towers along the perimeter of the town. Any rapid expansion beyond this area, he realizes, will come at a terrible cost as there are no perennial rivers here, and thus, no dependable source of fresh water. The region is heavily dependent on seasonal rains; thus, rainwater-harvesting water becomes a driving imperative. Small and large cascading tanks are erected in the valleys below the ridges — Sampangi tank, Dharmabudhi tank, Karanji tank, Halasur tank, …

A related story looked at the decline of that lake ecosystem as “progress” and “development” came to town. The payoff:

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