WTF Just Happened: November 10

#1. Pune University just announced that gold medals will be given only to those students who are completely vegetarian. How do you even comment? What do you say?

#2. In Kerala, an RSS worker inadvertently blew up the roof of his home — one of those innocent accidents that happen when you are trying to make bombs, presumably for purely peaceful purposes. Remember this post?

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WTF Just Happened: September 22 edition

Subramanian Swamy plays canary in the coal-mine in a recent interview,  where he said that the economy was heading for a “tailspin” and that the signs have been evident since May of last year when he first warned Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the possibility.

It is not a new message; economists have been warning of this possibility for over a year now, before demonetization, first, and then the hasty introduction of GST, struck further blows at the economy. Those warnings were deflected as coming from ‘anti-nationals’ and the ‘Lutyens media’ — criticisms that can hardly be leveled at Swamy, which is why it pays to listen to the interview in its entirety.

‘Tailspin’ is the leitmotif of an alarming number of stories/analysis in the media. A detailed Livemint analysis of the state of the economy has ‘tailspin’ right up there in the headline; the same paper details a UN Conference on Trade and Development report that warns of ‘serious downturn risks’. A recent State Bank of India report categorically refutes BJP president Amit Shah’s spin that the slowdown is for ‘technical reasons’. The Economic Times warns of a looming pension crisis; the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has downgraded its forecast for the fiscal ’18.

Swamy makes the point that a series of planned remedial measures is urgently required if the trend is not to become irreversible. A series of news items from recent times indicates why:

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ATM thieves aka “terrorists”

The story received breathless play in the media: Pakistan’s NSA tipped off his Indian counterpart about 10 terrorists who had infiltrated into India. Manhunt launched. TV channels quote top officials to say three of the terrorists killed. Manhunt continues for the other seven. And so on. Turns out they were ATM thieves.

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We are like that only

The news in brief: Pathankot is attacked. The central government sends troops. And shortly after, sends Punjab a bill. No chance, says Punjab, we are not paying this, it’s your problem.

The BJP shares power in Punjab and rules the Center — so this unseemly squabble over who foots the bill for “our brave soldiers” battling terrorism is strictly a domestic matter, and no concern of ours. Or is it?

 

 

Because “something” must be done

A recent news report: (Emphasis mine)

A here on Saturday dropped charges against suspected (LeT) bomb maker Abdul Karim Tunda in 1998 case under the Explosive Substance Act – the fourth case he was facing.

Tunda, one of the 20 terrorists whom India had asked Pakistan to hand over after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, was chargesheeted by Delhi Police in four cases and with Saturday court’s order, he has been discharged in all.

On April 23 last year, another Delhi court dropped charges against Tunda in connection with two separate blast cases – the October 28, 1997 blast in Karol Bagh and October 1, 1997 explosion in Sadar Bazar.

Another court on March 10 last year also discharged the Tunda, accused under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, the Explosive Substances Act, the Arms Act and for criminal conspiracy.

A sessions judge on Saturday discharged Tunda, accused of waging war against India under the Indian Penal Code and under the various provisions of Explosive Substance Act, observing that there lack of evidence to prove the allegations against him.

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A word to the wise…

The BJP should really stop beating the drum about Afzal Guru, and banging on about how questioning his hanging is akin to anti-nationalism and sedition.

Because? It cannot continue down that road while simultaneously making kissy-face with the PDP in Kashmir — not when it is not even a year ago that said PDP was questioning the same Supreme Court judgment, with absolutely no reaction from the BJP.

“PDP has always maintained that late Afzal Guru’s hanging was travesty of justice and constitutional requirements and process was not followed in hanging him out of turn,” said a group of PDP legislators in a written statement circulated to media.

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Now *this* is anti-national

Hundreds of youth assembled across the rivulet at the site of the encounter in the Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) building, with clashes reported with security forces in their bid to cross the stream to try and physically prevent the security forces from launching combat operation against the terrorists. Sempora is a mere 15 km from Srinagar.

The story, here. Emphasis, mine.

PS: On social media, I notice some opinion makers conflating this incident with JNU. That is equally reprehensible — an attempt to tar with too broad a brush.