US Senator asks Defense Secretary to express concern over erosion of democratic values in India
Daily NEWS Summary | 18-03-2021; Declaring that the Indian government was moving away from democratic values, Senate Foreign Relations President Bob Menendez wrote to US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin asking him to voice his concerns about democracy and the India’s purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system during a visit to New Delhi.
- Austin is expected to meet with Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and senior national security officials between March 19 and 21, in New Delhi.
- Among his concerns, Menéndez cites an offensive against journalists and critics of the Indian government, the government’s handling of farmer protests, the use of sedition laws and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
- India’s purchase of S-400 for just under $ 5.5 billion could result in penalties under a 2017 law, the U.S. Adversary Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
- Although India is not an ally of the United States in a treaty and is increasing its purchases of American weapons (extenuating circumstances under US law), Menendez’s letter suggests that sanctions remain an option, as India should receive the S-400. later. this year.
- Menendez also asks Austin to “clean up” New Delhi like all parts of India and the United States, cooperation depends on India’s adherence to democratic values.
Former CEA Arvind Subramanian resigns from Ashoka University after P.B. Mehta
Daily NEWS Summary | 18-03-2021; Former chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian has resigned as a professor at Ashoka University. In his resignation letter, Subramanian said he was “devastated” by “the circumstances of Professor Pratap Bhanu Mehta‘s “resignation” two days earlier.
“That someone of such integrity and eminence, who embodied the underlying vision of Ashoka, felt compelled to leave is disturbing,”he wrote in his letter to Vice-Chancellor Malabika Sarkar .
- Mr. Subramanyam added, that even Ashoka, with her private status and the backing of private equity, can no longer provide a space for academic expression and freedom is troubling.
- Above all, the fact that the University’s commitment to fighting and supporting Ashoka’s vision is now in doubt, it is difficult for me to continue to be a part of Ashoka.
- His email was shared with members of the university’s economics faculty.
- The academic newspaper The Edict reported that in Mehta’s email to her students, she stated that after discussions with the university about the current circumstances, it became clear to me that it was better to move on thing.
- The document also explains the circumstances surrounding Mehta’s departure.
- This approval, according to a faculty member our source spoke to, was driven by the fact that if Professor Mehta resigned, the University’s efforts to acquire new land to expand the campus would be much more fluid.
- In addition, the official recognition of the fourth-year graduate degree, the Ashoka Scholars program, was also mentioned as part of the agreement.
- A group of Ashoka University students “concerned about Mehta’s abrupt resignation” are planning to hold a physical protest on campus this afternoon.
- Students, faculty and alumni are also collecting signatures for a letter to the university leadership asking for answers, said a faculty member who declined to be named.
- A public meeting with the rector is scheduled for 6 p.m., to ask the founders of the university to explain their position.
Sexual assault: Supreme Court quashes M.P. High Court “rakhi” order
Daily NEWS Summary | 18-03-2021; The High Court on Thursday overturned an order from the High Court of Madhya Pradesh asking a suspected sex offender to visit his victim at his home and allow him to attach a “rakhi” to him as a condition of his bail.
- A bench headed by Judge A.M. Khanwilkar has issued a series of instructions aimed at raising awareness in the judiciary about cases related to crimes against women.
- Even a single statement from a judge trivializing the sexual crime against a woman will show the judge’s lack of impartiality.
- Comments such as “he did not behave like an Indian woman” or comments about a victim’s chastity or whether she had previously consented to sex lessen the victim’s trauma, said the Bench in its opinion.
- He also compared the Madhya Pradesh High Court order to the transformation of an abuser into a brother by court order.
- The court had previously sought the opinion of Attorney General K.K. Venugopal on the issue of courts imposing bail conditions on sex offenders who end up harassing their victims further.
- The sentence was based on a motion filed by nine lawyers challenging the Superior Court’s bail order.
- The nine lawyers, led by human rights defender Aparna Bhat and represented by lead lawyer Sanjay Parikh, said the High Court order was a “trivialization of [the victim’s] trauma”.
- Parikh had argued that there were numerous cases of court rulings targeting women already traumatized by crimes committed against them.
- The law requires that the victim stay away from the accused. Instead, the High Court ordered the defendant to go to the woman’s home, the same location where the crime was allegedly committed.
- The petition said the High Court had also ordered the defendant to present the woman 11,000 rupees “as a customary ritual that the brothers usually offer to the sisters on this occasion and that he will also ask for their blessing.”
- The High Court also ordered the defendant to offer 5,000 rupees to the woman’s son for “the purchase of clothes and candy”.
- Parikh had argued that these orders only succeeded in further victimizing women and delaying years of work to educate the courts on how damaging it would be to attempt a compromise “through marriage or mediation between the accused and the survivor”.
Supreme Court to hear allegation against sale of election bonds on March 24
Daily NEWS Summary | 18-03-2021; Chief Justice Sharad A. Bobde on Thursday agreed with lawyer Prashant Bhushan to urgently hear a request from the Association of NGOs for Democratic Reforms to suspend the sale of a new set of election bonds on April 1, before the Assembly elections in a crucial period, in States like the West. Bengal and Tamil Nadu.
- In response to an urgent mention made by Bhushan via video conference, Chief Justice Bobde said the case would require a detailed hearing and published the case by March 24.
- Bhushan said the RBI and the Election Commission said the sale of election bonds has become a way for shell companies and entities to park illicit money and even bribe proceeds with political parties.
- Every time there is an election, the sale is open. Every time that happens, we have proposed to the Supreme Court to suspend it, argued Bhushan.
- The NGO, also represented by defender Neha Rathi, expressed serious fears that the sale of election bonds ahead of elections in ballot-related states will further increase the illegal and illicit funding of political parties by the government, corporate bias, Ghost.
- Data obtained through RTI has shown that illegal sales windows have been opened in the past for the benefit of some political parties.
- There are serious concerns that any further sale of election bonds ahead of the upcoming national elections in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Assam would further increase the illegal and illicit funding of political parties through front companies, the NGO presented.
Pakistani army chief calls for better relations with India
Daily NEWS Summary | 18-03-2021; Pakistani Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa said on Thursday that it was time for India and Pakistan to “bury the past and move on,” and said peace between the two neighbors would help “unlock” the potential of South Asia and central.
- Addressing a session of the first Islamabad Security Dialogue in Islamabad, General Bajwa also said that the potential for regional peace and development remains hostage to the disputes and problems between Pakistan and India, the two “nuclear-armed neighbors.”
Covid update: The number of reported coronavirus cases in India stood at 1,15,09,362 at the time of this bulletin, with the death toll at 1, 61,742.
- India today reported its highest peak in a day in new Covid-19 cases this year, with 35,871 cases and 172 deaths in the past 24 hours, according to data released by the Health Ministry.