News Wrap


A Supreme Court bench, headed by Justice Arun Mishra, had brought a case of criminal contempt against advocate Prashant Bhushan for claiming in an interview in 2009 that "half of the sixteen former Chief Justices of India were corrupt". The same bench had convicted Bhushan in the second week of August 2020, for a tweet each on the destruction of democracy and the current Chief Justice of India, Advocate Prashant Bhushan had contented that corruption in the judiciary does not wean monetary gratification alone, but includes other offences such as fraud, abuse of discretion and favoritism, and that alleging graft cannot be contempt of court "per se". Bhushan has added: "The factum of corruption in the judiciary has been stated in parliamentary committee reports on prevention of corruption; and has been commented upon by former judges of this honourable Court, has been taken note of in various judgements. The hearing on the matter is in progress. The Supreme Court on 25 August 2020, reserved the verdict.

'Our Lands, Their Lands'
In eastern Ladakh, on 15 June 2020, at least twenty Indian soldiers, including a colonel were killed in a "violent face off" with Chinese troops, during a "de-escalation process", The Indian army claims that these were the first deaths in 45 years, along the Line of Actual Control. Indian intercepts reveal that Chinese suffered 43 casualties, including dead and seriously injured, inface-off in the Galwan Valley. The last deaths on the India China border occurred in 1975, when Chinese troops ambusked an Indian patrol, near the Line of Actual control in Arunachal Pradesh. China has always claimed sovereignty over the Galwan Valley. Galwan is not among the 23 contested areas indentified by the two countries, along the yet-to-be demarcated LAC, through the joint working group mechanism on the boundary question. Statements from both countries agreed that what happened on 15 June 2020 Night was a violation of the consensus arrived at during the 06 June commander' conference. A fortnight earlier, Indian authorities snapped the mobile Network of thousands of people, living in frontier villages.

Nepal's lower house of parliament, on 13 June 2020, displayed unity to pass a constitution amendment bill, revising its emblem to reflect a new map, with territories involved in a dispute with India. The new map includes Kalapani, Lipu Lekh and Lampiyadhura, which are in dispute between Nepal and India. The long standing territorial dispute had become an irritant in November 2019, after India put Kalapani in the new map to factor in the reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir. Nepal had protested recently after India opened a road to Kailash Mansarovar, via Lipu Lekh, calling it the China border on 09 May 2020.

Palestinian Militants
On 16 August 2020, Israel closed the Gaza Strip's offshore fishing zone, following a night of cross-border fighting with Palestinian Militants, the most intensive escalation of hostilities in recent months. Palestinian militants in Gaza fired two rockets into southern Israel, after Israeli air strikes targeted sites belonging to the territory's militant Hamas rulers. The Israeli military claims the Iron dome aerial defence system intercepted the two rockets that militants in Gaza launched in southern Israel. The Israeli army says that the strikes were a response to explosive balloons launched by Hamas - affiliated group over the border, and attempts by Palestinian protesters to throw explosives at the Isreal-Gaza perimeter fence and soldiers stationed along it. Dozens of Palestinians took part in protests along the perimeter fence. Israeli military says the protesters burnt tires, hurled explosive devices and grenades, towards the security fence. The Gaza health ministry maintains that Israeli gunfire at protesters wounded two Palestinians.

Vol. 53, No. 16, Oct 18 - 124, 2020