QBullet: Peter Mukerjea’s Arrest, Clashes in Bihar, and More

Read the top news and views of the day, fresh off the press on QBullet.

6 min read
Sheena Bora (left), Indrani Mukerjea (centre), and Peter Mukerjea (right).

1. CBI Arrests Peter Mukherjea, Chargesheets Indrani

The CBI arrested TV tycoon Peter Mukerjea late Thursday night for involvement in the Sheena Bora murder case. His wife Indrani Mukerjea and two others have been in custody ever since the news broke. But investigators are now trying to find out if Peter was complicit all along.

Mukherjea’s arrest concluded a day that was gripped with drama just as Sheena’s murder, allegedly committed in April 2012, but made public with the arrest of Rai on 21 August 2015, had gripped the nation. It was dramatic for three reasons: one, it involved one of India’s most flamboyant media owners; two, by the sheer nature of the crime – a kidnapping followed by strangulation and burning of the body, and later the body’s disposal in the hilly forests of Raigad district near Mumbai; and three, by the shocking revelation by Indrani’s son Mikhail that Sheena was not her sister but daughter.

Read the full piece here.

2. Day Before Nitish Kumar Takes Charge, Communal Violence and Clashes Keep a Town on Edge

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar with, Congress leader CP Joshi, RJD Chief Lalu Prasad and JD(U) Chief Sharad Yadav during a felicitation function for the newly elected legislators of grand alliance. (Photo: PTI)
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar with, Congress leader CP Joshi, RJD Chief Lalu Prasad and JD(U) Chief Sharad Yadav during a felicitation function for the newly elected legislators of grand alliance. (Photo: PTI)

An accident that claimed two lives has snowballed into a communal clash in Bihar’s Lalganj, just a day before Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s swearing-in. The situation has led to incidents of a 17-year-old being killed in a police firing and a police officer being lynched by a mob. Some say the whole incident has a political, not communal, undertone, according to the Indian Express.

The owner of the pick-up van, Nanhe Khan, was a supporter of the JD(U)’s Mahaghatbandhan. There had been some tension after the NDA candidate, LJP’s Rajkumar Sah, defeated JD(U)’s Annu Shukla, wife of local leader Munna Shukla, in the recent assembly elections.
Manoj Kumar Yadav, Resident, Lalganj

Read the full story here.

3. For Policemen on VIP Duty, no Place to Attend Nature’s Call

Delhi police personnel. (Photo: Reuters)
Delhi police personnel. (Photo: Reuters)

According to a report in the Hindustan Times, there are about 400 policemen deployed in the VVIP route with no toilets in the Lutyens’ zone in the national capital.

The Delhi Police are in informal talks with the civic agencies to install portable toilets at key locations for the benefit of its men who spend long hours in VIP duty with nowhere to attend nature’s call.

Read the full story here.

4. Populist Punjab Approves Life Term for Sacrilege

After multiple incidents of violence following news of desecration of the Sikh holy book, the Punjab government has now announced that it will make an amendment to IPC section 295 AA. The amendment leads to life imprisonment to anyone involved in the sacrilege of the holy book, according to Times of India. The report says:

The BJP welcomed the move, but added the government should seek a similar punishment for disrespect to Hindu idols in temples where prana pratishta (idol consecration) is followed even as one of the party’s ministers attended the cabinet meeting.

Here’s a video from 14 October when protestors clashed with cops, who in turn used tear-gas shells and water canons.

Read the full report here.

5. Roads Will be Safer if New SC Guidelines Implemented Stringently

File image an overturned damaged passenger bus after an accident at Gandhinagar, Gujarat. (Photo: Reuters)
File image an overturned damaged passenger bus after an accident at Gandhinagar, Gujarat. (Photo: Reuters)

An editorial in the Hindustan Times argues that invoking the gods for a safe trip should have been a thing of the past, but given the risk involving road safety today, it is quickly becoming a ritual that is much sought after. The piece says that implementing the Supreme Court’s guidelines, however, might prove useful.

These proposals, if implemented stringently, could make our roads much safer. In fact, the guidelines have to be adhered to strictly if India has to meet its ambitious target of reducing road fatalities by 50% in the next five years.

Read the full piece here.

6. Our Film Shows Hypocrisy on Caste, Hinduism via Beef: Suppression Made it Work Online

Reetika Revathy Subramanian, the TISS student who made Caste on the Menu Card, speaks to The Times of India about the politics of beef eating and how the documentary was a hit online after failing to get an approval from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

There is a sense of hypocrisy in every aspect of how caste manifests itself. There’s a certain superiority with which some view the cow as godly – yet, people do not question bags and footwear made of leather. We use the tabla too to show how it’s made of leather.
Reetika Revathy Subramanian

Read the full interview here.

7. Looking for Volume Control

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Photo: PTI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Photo: PTI)

In an opinion piece in The Hindu, Vikas Pathak writes that with multiple assembly elections lined up in the next year and a half, the BJP must find the answer to whether it is banking on Modi’s charm or Hindutva as the one thing that will pull voters.

Pathak writes that during the Bihar polls, the party claimed that it was batting for governance, but election rallies proved that beef was the main talking point.

The BJP is also divided over the strategy of making State-level elections a referendum on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The idea worked very well in the Assembly polls in Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Haryana, but it failed miserably in Bihar and Delhi, where there were charismatic local opponents to the BJP and where the Congress was no longer a key player. In Delhi, the BJP belatedly turned the election into a Kiran Bedi-versus-Arvind Kejriwal fight, but was finally forced to eat humble pie.

Read the full piece here.

8. The Return of Mayawati

BSP Chief Mayawati at a press conference. (Photo: PTI)
BSP Chief Mayawati at a press conference. (Photo: PTI)

The 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly election is believed to be the big semi-final for the BJP before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. And Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party recently made a comeback in the Panchayat elections.

In 2014, many educated Dalits were attracted by Narendra Modi’s political agenda that mixed Hindutva and development. This section of the Dalit community is not happy with the BJP any more. Many Dalits who supported the BJP in 2014 feel that the party has not delivered development or created adequate employment.

Read the full piece here.

9. What Mr Mani Shankar Aiyar Won’t Say

BJP leader MJ Akbar writes a piece for the Indian Express taking on Congress leaders like Mani Shankar Aiyar and Salman Khurshid who recently stirred a controversy with their statements involving Pakistan.

No one in his senses prefers conflict to peace. Every prime minister of India has sought a settlement with Pakistan, and every prime minister will continue to do so. But whose fault was it that Manmohan Singh failed? Aiyar was in the cabinet; Khurshid was foreign minister; both said everything Pakistan wanted to hear, and continue to do so. Why did the three fail despite being in power for 10 years? Was a decade too short even to open a door for Manmohan Singh’s visit?

Read the full piece here.

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