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Top News of the Week: Tushar Gandhi seeks defamation case against Sambhaji Bhide’s remarks on Mahatma Gandhi; Haryana farmer leaders vow to protect Muslims; Biden restricts US investment in China’s tech; and much more.
Top National and International headlines of the week transcript
In top national news: In a strong rebuttal to the no-confidence motion against his government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday hit out at the Opposition INDIA alliance, the Congress and the Gandhi family in particular, saying “people of the country” have “no confidence” in them. Wrapping up a three-day discussion on the no-trust motion in Lok Sabha, Modi said, “With the way you abuse democracy and this country, with the way you abuse me, I am sure the country will brighten the prospect of a BJP-led NDA” and it will return to power in 2024 for a third consecutive term. The no-trust motion was defeated by a voice vote after the Prime Minister’s reply.
Tushar Gandhi, the great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, along with activists from Pune approached the Deccan Gymkhana police station seeking the registration of a criminal defamation case against right-wing activist Sambhaji Bhide for his allegedly derogatory comments about Mahatma Gandhi’s lineage. Bhide, who is the founder and head of the Sangli-based organisation Shri Shivpratishthan Hindustan, allegedly made objectionable remarks about Mahatma Gandhi. In addition to the criminal case registered in Amravati, two more cases have been registered against Bhide in the recent past —one in Navi Mumbai for his alleged remarks about Gautam Buddha and other social reformers and the other in Nashik for his comments about Mahatma Jyotiba Phule.
Meanwhile: The leaders of farmer bodies and khap panchayats in Haryana announced that they won’t allow anyone to touch members of the Muslim community days after violence hit the Nuh district. These leaders had gathered in Hisar to announce their determination to counter communal violence in the state. The farmer panchayat, which was attended by nearly 2,000 farmers from Hindu, Muslim and Sikh communities, was the first such event at this scale in Haryana after the recent violence. The event has significance in the backdrop of threats to the members of the Muslim community and alleged resolution by a few village panchayats against the entry of minority community members in their villages.
In other news: The Comptroller and Auditor General of India has found irregularities, including undue benefits to contractors, in the implementation of the Ayodhya development project in Uttar Pradesh under the Centre’s Swadesh Darshan Scheme. The CAG has conducted a performance audit of the Swadesh Darshan Scheme from its inception in January 2015 to March 2022. According to the performance audit report, which was tabled in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, undue benefits of Rs 19.73 crore were made to contractors in six projects/circuits across six states. These projects included the one for the development of Ayodhya; the development of Sinquerim-Aguada Jail, Goa; the Himalayan Circuit, Himachal Pradesh; Heritage Circuit, Telangana; development of Rangpo-Singtam, Sikkim; and Buddhist Circuit, Madhya Pradesh.
Moving on to top international news: US President Joe Biden Wednesday signed an executive order prohibiting some new US investment in China in sensitive technologies like computer chips and requiring government notification in other tech sectors. The long-awaited order authorises the US Treasury Secretary to prohibit or restrict US investments in Chinese entities in three sectors: semiconductors and microelectronics, quantum information technologies and certain artificial intelligence systems. The administration said the restrictions would apply to “narrow subsets” of the three areas but did not give specifics. The proposal is open for public input. The order is aimed at preventing American capital and expertise from helping China develop technologies that could support its military modernisation and undermine US national security.
In other news: Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Monday chided efforts by international officials meeting in Saudi Arabia to find a peaceful settlement for the war in Ukraine, saying the talks don’t have “the slightest added value” because Moscow — unlike Kyiv — wasn’t invited. Senior officials from around 40 countries gathered Sunday in Jeddah for a two-day meeting that aims to agree on key principles about how to end the conflict that has raged for more than 17 months. But without Russia’s participation and without taking into account Moscow’s interests, the meeting was pointless, a Russian Foreign Ministry statement said.
In other news: Forty-one migrants died in a shipwreck last week in the central Mediterranean, the Ansa news agency reported on Wednesday, citing accounts from survivors who have just reached the Italian island of Lampedusa. Ansa said four people who survived the shipwreck told rescuers that they were on a boat carrying 45 people, including three children. The boat set off on Thursday morning from Tunisia’s Sfax, a hot spot in the migration crisis, but capsized and sank after a few hours, the survivors were quoted as saying. The survivors – three men and a woman from Ivory Coast and Guinea – said they were rescued by a cargo ship and then transferred onto an Italian coast guard vessel.
Lastly, Iraq’s official media regulator on Tuesday ordered all media and social media companies operating in the Arab state not to use the term “homosexuality” and instead to say “sexual deviance,” a government spokesperson said and a document from the regulator shows. The Iraqi Communications and Media Commission (CMC) document said that the use of the term “gender” was also banned. It prohibited all phone and internet companies licensed by it from using the terms in any of their mobile applications. A government official later said that the decision still required final approval. The regulator “directs media organisations … not to use the term ‘homosexuality’ and to use the correct term ‘sexual deviance’,” the Arabic-language statement said.