News Wrap


A racket has come to notice in West Bengal, where rotten meat of carcasses fetched from dumping grounds is being supplied to eateries and road side stalls. "Linkmen" are believed to be active in the districts of Nadia, North and South 24 Parganas and Howrah. The "linkmen" would gather information about carcasses being dumped, and pass it on to members of the gang, who would collect them from dumping grounds. According to the police, the carcasses would be collected from the dumping grounds in Budge Budge (South 24 Parganas), Kalyani (Nadia), Sodepur (North 24 Parganas) and Shibpur (Howrah). Meat of the carcasses fetched from dumping grounds would first arrive at a processing centre-cum-cold storage store on Gas Street in Narkeldanga (Kolkata), Hindusthan Ice (Kolkata) and Cold Storage Company (Kolkata). At the cold storages, the meat would be processed and packed, and supplied to hotels, departmental stores and eateries in Kolkata, Narkeldanga and Kasba, Tangra, adjacent districts and across the international border. The scam unique in Bengal, is a thriving trade in dead chicken and the flesh of carcasses. About ten persons have been arrested, including a former CPI(M) councillor, which has prompted the police to set up a Special Investigation Team. The well entrenched network stretches to Nawadah in Bihar. The scam covers the purchase and sale of chicken, mutton and pork, including such products as ham and salami. From Kolkata Airport's "Arai gate" to the eateries, and the so-called fried chicken centres in Kolkata City, the scam is of endemic proportions, that has been thriving for far too long. The linkmen and wing leaders are said to have earned between Rs 5 lac and Rs 6 lac, on an average for every such transaction daily.

Judiciary Independence
Emergency declared in June 1975, by the then India's Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, came immediately after the Allahabad High Court had annulled the election of Indira Gandhi in parliamentary polls. On 12 January 2018, four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, viz. J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, held a press conference and raised questions about the style of administration of and the allocation of cases, to different benches, by the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra. The four judges and the CJI comprise the collegium that selects judges to the Supreme Court and the High Courts. The judges were "compelled" to speak out because the CJI did not take steps to redress the grievances they had aired two months ago. More than an intra-judiciary battle, the real concern was the growing threats to the judiciary independence, from an aggressive executive. The judges of the Supreme Court were being accused to ceding their independence and institutional integrity to the executive's incremental encroachment. In a letter of 21 March 2018, Justice J Chelameswar addressed to the CJI, there is strong criticism of the executive for directly contacting the Karnataka High Court to reassess a recommendation made by the collegium of the Supreme Court. On 09 April 2018, Judge Kurian Joseph wrote to the CJI asking for a bench of seven or move senior-most judges to consider the case of the government sitting tight on the two names recommended, by the collegium for appointment to the Supreme Court. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi government on 26 April 2018, after more than three months sitting on the names recommended by the Supreme Court collegium for elevation to the highest court of the land, asked the collegium to "reconsider" the name of Justice K M Joseph on specious grounds. On 26 April 2018, the Union Government cleared the appointment of senior advocate Indu Malhotra to the Supreme Court Bench.

Earlier Justice K M Joseph, currently Chief Justice of Uttarakhand, had earned the wrath of the government by quashing President's rule in Uttarakhand state two years ago. The government refused a recommendation by the Supreme Court to transfer him to Andhra Pradesh High Court earlier. In an earlier instance a collegium headed by the then CJI, R M Lodha, recommended the name of former solicitor-general Gopal Subramanium for elevation as a judge of the Supreme Court in 2014, along with three other names. The Modi government cleared three names, but held back Subramanium's, who decided to withdraw consent to his candidature. The government's antipathy towards Subramanium rose because of his demand for the prosecution of Amit Shah in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case. The Union Government has refused to clear the final draft of the memorandum of procedure, the manual that guides the appointment process and transfer of judges to the Supreme Court and the High Courts, which was prepared as far back as October 2015. The unprecedented move by seven opposition parties to give a notice of impreachment against CJI Dipak Misra in April 2018, was summarily dismissed by the Rajya Sabha Chairman, M Venkiah Naidu, without waiting for an inquiry committee to look into the charges made.

Terror in Gaza
On 30 March 2018, Israel security forces killed 30 Palestinians during demonstrations at the enclave's border. Thousands of Palestinians flooded onto the streets of Jerusalem, for the funerals of those killed during the bloodiest day in Gaza, since the 2014 war with Israel. Five of the dead belonged to Hamas, the militant group that governs Gaza, which endorsed and organised protests. Rest are thought to be civilians. More than 700 were injured by Israeli sharp shooters, who responded with live ammunition to Palestinian attempts to reach the border wall that divides Gaza from Israel. Authorities in Israel on 31 March 2018, threatened to attack "terror organisations" inside Gaza. A Palestinian journalist died on 07 April 2018, after being wounded by Israeli fire on 06 March 2018, while covering deadly protests at the Israel-Gaza border.

In a series of parliamentary answers in Britain, it has been revealed that more than £20 million of British aid money has been spent on Palestinian schools, located in Gaza, in the past one year, despite British ministers knowing the official curriculum could incite pupils to become martyrs and jihadists. British aid money goes to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, rather than Hamas, which runs Gaza. British tax payers' money are funding the salaries of 33,000 teachers implementing a school curriculum that has been criticised for promoting violence against Israel. A science text book for 12-year olds teaches Newton's second law of physics using an image of a boy firing a slingshot at soldiers. A maths text book for nine-year olds asks students to calculate the number of martyrs in Palestinian uprisings. A social science text book for nine-year-olds shows children in a classroom looking at an empty desk bearing the sign "the martyr". A text book for nine-year-olds calls martyrdom and jihad "the most important meanings of life". The curriculum teaches children about the Palestinian Authority's support for the families of those who carry out terrorist attacks, and how they will be rewarded in Paradise. The curriculum's focus has expanded from demonisation of Israel, to providing a rationale for war. References to peace agreements between the Palestinians and Israel have been removed.

Vol. 51, No.4, Jul 29 - Aug 4, 2018