QBullet: Sabarimala Tense Before Re-Opening; Mizoram CEO Removed
1. Sabarimala Opens on Nov 17: Kerala on Edge, Temple Board Plans to Move Court for Time
Kerala braced for fresh protests after an all-party meeting called ahead of the 17 November opening of the Sabarimala shrine for the two-month pilgrim season ended in a stalemate Thursday.
Opposition parties walked out after the state government maintained it was duty-bound to implement the Supreme Court order allowing entry of women of all age into the hill shrine. At the meeting, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan rejected the Opposition suggestion that the government seek time from the Supreme Court to implement its order since a clutch of review petitions are to come up for hearing before the top court on January 22.
The Congress-led UDF and the BJP staged a walkout, calling the meeting a “farce” and slamming the government for its “adamant stand”.
2. Pune Cops Charge 10 With ‘Plot to Kill PM’
The Pune police on Thursday filed a chargesheet in a special UAPA court against 10 people, including five activists arrested on June 6 for organising the Elgar Parishad here and five “underground CPI (Maoist) operatives”, for a “conspiracy to assassinate the PM and to overthrow constitutionally elected government by way of procuring weapons and ammunition”.
The move comes a day before the Supreme Court is to hear the Maharashtra government’s appeal against the Bombay high court’s order refusing additional time to the police for filing a chargesheet in the Elgar Parishad case. On 29 October, the SC had ordered a stay on the high court order after the state’s lawyer said that the five arrested activists will, otherwise, get bail by default.
3. Mizoram’s Top Election Officer Shashank Removed Following Protests
The Election Commission on Thursday removed SB Shashank as Mizoram’s chief electoral officer (CEO) and appointed Ashish Kundra in his place, a move welcomed by parties and influential NGOs in the state.
The order came after a body of civil societies and students’ groups demanded Shashank’s ouster, following a row over allowing Bru refugees in Tripura to cast votes from there.
Kundra, a 1996-batch Indian Administrative Service officer of the AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territories) cadre replaces Shashank ahead of the November 28 elections in the state.
4. Maharashtra Govt Accepts Report: Marathas Backward Class, Says Panel, Clears Way for Quotas
The Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission has concluded that the Maratha community is socio-economically backward, thus clearing its way for quotas in government jobs and education.
In its report submitted to the state government Thursday, the commission, headed by retired Justice MG Gaikwad, has said that the Maratha community’s backwardness has been well established socially, economically and educationally.
The Marathas constitute 33 per cent of the state population and have been, politically, a dominant class for over six decades. The report said that Maratha backwardness meets all the parameters analysed through 45,000 families and over 2 lakh recommendations received.
5. Delhi Govt Offers to Host TM Krishna Show After Airports Authority Backs Out
Two days after the Airports Authority of India (AAI) called off a concert by TM Krishna in the national capital, the Delhi government on Thursday reached out to the Carnatic singer and offered to host his performance.According to Delhi government officials, the office of Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia contacted Krishna on Thursday and extended the offer.
Confirming this, Krishna said: “Manish Sisodia’s office reached out to me on Thursday afternoon. They are making every effort to hold the concert on Saturday, and are looking for a venue. I will, most probably, be singing in Delhi on Saturday. The final venue will be confirmed by tomorrow.”
According to a Delhi government official, the Department of Art, Culture and Language is looking for a suitable venue for Krishna to perform on Saturday.
TM Krishna’s views on constitutional values like secularism and caste prejudice in music have made him a target of Hindutva supporters.
Also Read : TM Krishna: On Music, Magsaysay and his Movement
6. Independent Director Bats for Govt, Slams RBI Policies
In an indication that the crucial meeting of the Reserve Bank of India board on Monday could see fireworks between RBI and government nominees, swadeshi ideologue and independent director S Gurumurthy on Thursday went public with his sharp criticism of several policies of the Urjit Patel-led central bank.
Gurumurthy, whose nomination to RBI’s central board had triggered a controversy, blamed the central bank for mandating one-shot provisioning (or setting aside funds) for bad loans.
“NPA has been developing since 2009 and it peaked in 2014. At that time RBI did not say ‘you provide’ but in 2015 it said ‘you provide’. So, providing at one go is the problem. If they had said you provide over five years this wouldn’t have happened,” he said. Instead, he backed a more gradual approach.
7. Quadrilateral Security Dialogue Agrees to Expand Cooperation in Indo-Pacific
India and the other members of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, aka Quad, agreed on Thursday to expand their cooperation to promote a free, rules-based and inclusive order in the Indo-Pacific region by including other countries and forums.
This was the third consultative meeting of the informal strategic group comprising Australia, India, Japan and the US since it was revived on the margins of the Asean Summit in the Philippines in November last year as a counterbalance to China’s growing presence in the region.
Senior officials of the Quad held the latest meeting in Singapore, also the venue of the second meet in June.
8. May, Maybe Not: Brexit Row Sparks Resignations
The future of Theresa May as Britain’s Prime Minister was in doubt on Thursday after a draft Brexit agreement finalised after months of fractious talks with Brussels triggered a series of resignations and a growing challenge to her leadership.
The agreement got tenuous backing from May’s cabinet after a marathon session on Wednesday, but cracks emerged with the resignations of four ministers, including, ironically, Brexit secretary Dominic Raab, central to reaching the agreement.
Besides Raab, those who resigned included cabinet minister Esther McVey and Indian-origin ministers of state Shailesh Vara and Suella Braverman (nee Fernandes), two parliamentary private secretaries and two other aides. Braverman was a minister in Raab's Brexit department.
9. ABVP Forces Baisoya to Step Down as DUSU President
Ankiv Baisoya was forced to step down as DUSU president by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad on Thursday. He was also suspended from the students’ organisation pending completion of enquiry against him for allegedly submitting “fake” academic certificates while taking admission to the MA course in Buddhist Studies.
ABVP claimed Baisoya was asked to resign to “maintain the outfit’s reputation” before Delhi high court heard the case on 20 November. It also said Baisoya would not be involved in organisational responsibilities till the enquiry was over.