News Wrap


In a judgement that ran to 2300 pages with enclosures, the special Central Bureau of Investigations court on 30 Sep 2020, said there was no conclusive evidence against the 32 accused of being involved in any conspiracy, to bring down the disputed structure in Ayodhaya (Uttar Pradesh). The Court acquitted all 32 people, including BJP veterans LK Advani, MM Joshi and Uma Bharati, accused of being involved in the demolition of the mosque they believed occupied the spot, where Lord Ram was born. Delivering the vedict on the day of his retirement, Special Judge S K Yadav did not accept newspaper reports and video cassettes as evidence. The Court said vandals were responsible for demolition of the disputed structure, contending that there is no evidence to prove that the accused and the unruly elements planned and met each other at any time, to hatch the alleged conspiracy.

Labour Regime
The Parliament in day passed a Bill on 23 September 2020, that promises employers a less stressful hiring environment that can be tailored to business cycles, and increases the size of units that can exit, when conditions turn adverse. However, the provisions of the Bill will boost fixed term contract employment, without protections, and weaken workers' power of collective bargaining, while bringing some benefit to formal-sector workers, since appointment letters have beg made mandatory. The Industrial Relations (IR) Code bill, dealing with matters such as safeguards against artillery dismissal or punishment, or discrimination in promotion, not only automatically exempts every factory with less than 300 employees, but allows state governments to exempt any new factory, irrespective of worker strength. Another Bill, dealing with workers health, safety, death compensation and working conditions, allows the states to grant exemptions to industries against unspecified conditions, that they "think fit".

Armenia And Azer Baijan
Fighting erupted anew on 27 Sep 2020, between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces over the disputed separatist region of Nagarno-Karabakh. 16 people were killed and more than 100 wounded. The region lies within Azerbaijan, has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces, backed by Armenia since 1994, at the end of a separatist war. The fighting is the heaviest since clashes in July killed 16 people from both sides. Nagorno-karabakh authorities reported that shilling hit the region's capital of Martakert and Martuni. Azerbaijani shelling hit within Armenian territory, near the town of Vardenis. 16 people were killed, and more than 100 wounded. Armenia has claimed two Azerbaijani helicopters were shot down, and three Azerbaijani were hit by artillery.

Vol. 53, No. 26, Dec 28 2020 - Jan 2 2021