News Wrap


A State government crack down, throwing slaughter houses and meat shops in India’s Uttar Pradesh state into uncertainty, excludes abattoirs in the state that had a license and were following standards as demanded by the National Green Tribunal (NGT). Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath of the BJP, maintains that abattiors which are operating as per the provisions of the law, and have a valid license, are not being touched. Those which are violating the orders of the NGT, creating pollution and playing with the health of the public are being shut down. The NGT had been asking the UP government for two years to take action against illegal slaughter houses. Thousands of people involved in the business of buffalo meat and mutton have become temporarily jobless, as there are no licensed slaughter houses in the city. The Lucknow Municipal Corporation (LMC) is neither issuing New license, nor is the civic body providing them alternative place for slaughter house. All three slaughter houses run by the LMC have been closed in Lucknow. The association of meat sellers in Lucknow observed a long strike. Many restaurents which had shifted to mutton and chicken dishes, after buffalo meat became scarce are having fewer customers.

ISIS Bomb Attack
The bomb blast which struck a train in the second week of March 2017, near Kalapipal Mandi in Madhya Pradesh, injured ten passengers in central India. This is the first successful terrorist strike by Islamic State in the country. Several suspects have been arrested. India has suffered decades of islamist attacks, but most have been carried out by groups that New Delhi believes are sponsored by neighbour and bitter rival Pakistan. The emergence of ISIS marks a significant change in the terrorist threat faced by India, that is 80% Hindu. Some small ISIS cells have been broken up in recent months and the train bombing was ‘‘amateurish’’,  according to investigators. But it underscores the growing success of ISIS to spread its message into south Asia. Subsequently, one of the suspects in the train attack, was killed in a gun fight with the police in Lucknow, in the neighbouring state of Uttar Pradesh. ISIS activists are radicalised through social media, and were in contact with other ISIS members. ISIS has been trying to gain a foothold in India, for at least two and half years. About twenty men from Kerala have fled abroad to join the ISIS group, after being raricalised online. They are believed to be in Syria and Afghanistan. Lone Indian recruits are brought together via encrypted messaging apps and deliveries of weapons and explosives were arranged by handlers in Syria, who the men never saw or met. There is little trail for Indian investigators to follow. The government of India has been active in blocking dozens of websites that host Islamic State propaganda. ISIS has a administrative division in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Coastal Rules
The union ministry of Environment’s new order, Marine and Coastal Regulation Zone (MCRZ) notification of 2017, replaces the Coastal Regulation zone (CRZ) notification (2011). The goverment has removed the ban on reclamation of land in coastal areas for commercial and entertainment purposes. Tourism will be allowed in ecologically sensitive areas, along the shores. The recent notification regulates all kinds of activities along India’s coastline. The New MCRZ notification allows setting up of fish processing units. It makes allowance for facilities meant for patrolling and vigilance activities of coastal or marine police and removes the necessity of obtaining environmental clearness for construction of housing units, and related infrastructure for local fishermen community. The MCRZ extends to at least 500 metres towards the landward side from the high tide line, demarcated by the government. The New order does not make any changes in the definition of areas, that would be classified as the regulation zone. The demand for permitting reclamation of land had been voiced mainly from Maharashtra. All coastal cities and towns having a population density of 2161 persons or more, would come under restricted zone, where development activities would have to be regulated in line with a Marine and Coastal Zone Management plan, to be developed by every state government. Sewage treatment plants,  coastal roads, defence structures, basic infrastructure facilities for local communities and temporary tourism facilities are some of the activities that can be allowed.

Ancient Sages
The diary and planner for 2017, of Vadadora’s Maharaja Sayaji Rao’s University (MSU) credits India’s ancient sages for their ‘‘contribution to science’’, from ‘‘developing nuclear technology’’ to discovering rockets and aeroplanes. The diary hails nine Indian sages from ancient times for work ranging from ‘‘discovering rockets and aeroplanes’’ to pioneering cosmetic surgery. The discoveries that belong to modern science, such as nuclear technology, airplanes and cosmetic surgery are ascribed by the diary to figures from religious scriptures.

The diary praises Sushrut as the ‘‘father of cosmetic surgery’’; Acharya Kanad as the one who ‘‘developed nuclear technology’’, Kapil Muni, as the ‘‘father of cosmology’’; Maharshi Bhardwaj as the one who ‘‘discovered rockets and aeroplanes’’; Charak Rishi as the ‘‘father of medicine’’; and Garga Muni, as the ‘‘scientist of stars’’.

The sages share space with eminent scientists like J C Bose, Vikram Sarabhai and CV Raman. Documented discoveries in India of the past include the invention of zero and the positional number system, which transformed arithmetic and mathematics in general. According to Venkataraman Ramakrishnan, an alumnus of MSU and the winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2009, depiction of figures from religious scriptures in contributions to modern science, bring ‘‘disrepute’’ to the University and  India.

Vol. 49, No.51, Jun 25 - Jul 1, 2017