The veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah recently introduced a show, “Ghalib, Begum Umrao Ki Nazar Se,” conceptualised and directed by the renowned vocalist Iqbal Ahmad Khan, at the Siri Fort auditorium in New Delhi. The show, which told the story of the iconic poet Mirza Ghalib through the eyes of his wife Begum Umrao, was an amalgamation of two Urdu storytelling traditions—dastangoi and ghazal gayaki. Before it began, Shah had a brief but candid conversation with Rana Siddiqui Zaman, a senior film and art critic, about the resurgence of the art of dastangoi, the usage of Urdu in recent Bollywood films, and the growing presence of saffronisation in the film industry. Shah observed that there was a palpable influence of saffron politics in the Bollywood industry, but emphasised that “no negative forces can ever dare to snatch my identity from me.” He added, “I am a proud musalmaan and a proud Indian.”
Times are tough for the chief justice of India. On 20 April, 64 members of parliament from seven opposition parties submitted a petition to Venkaiah Naidu, the vice president and chairman of the Rajya Sabha, seeking the removal of Dipak Misra as the chief justice. The move marks the first time in India’s judicial history that an attempt has been made to remove a sitting chief justice of the country. Concurrently, the Supreme Court is presently hearing a petition filed by Shanti Bhushan, a senior advocate and a former union law minister, concerning serious allegations about the allocation of cases by the chief justice and the registry. The petition notes that the manner of allocation clearly reflects “a pattern of favouritism, nepotism, and forum shopping.”
On 16 April, the Jammu High Court Bar Association temporarily suspended an agitation that it had been leading for over ten days. Members of the bar association had been staging a strike citing several issues, the most controversial of which was their demand that the investigation into the rape and murder of an eight-year-old in the Kathua district be transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation. BS Slathia, the president of the association, told the press that
the protestors had “changed the mode of the agitation” and would be continuing their protest on two issues—the demand for the deportation of the Rohingya refugees residing in the state, and against the withdrawal of the minutes of a meeting during which the chief minister Mehbooba Mufti allegedly instructed the government officials to not act against any members of nomad groups residing in the region.
Anjum Hasan, the books editor at The Caravan, was born in Shillong and lives in Bengaluru. She is the author of the short-story collection Difficult Pleasures, and the novels Lunatic in my Head, Neti, Neti, and The Cosmopolitans. Hasan’s latest book, A Day in the Life, is a collection of short stories that provide glimpses into the daily lives of a range of characters, including newly-weds attempting to keep up with the times, a retiree confronted with modern anger, and a poet father attempting to reconnect with his son. In this excerpt from the story “Yellow Rose,” the protagonist contemplates yet another move.
At the refugee camps in the district of Cox’s Bazar, in Bangladesh, the Rohingya Muslims who fled Myanmar are now living in fear of repatriation. On 23 November last year, the two countries had signed an agreement to repatriate the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees that are currently residing in Bangladesh. Two months later, the countries agreed on a “physical arrangement”
to facilitate the repatriation process, which was scheduled to be completed within two years. Bangladesh subsequently postponed the process indefinitely—Abul Kalam, the host country’s commissioner of refugee relief and rehabilitation in Cox’s Bazar, told me there was a lot of “preparatory work” remaining, including finalising the list of refugees to be sent back.
जज बीएच लोया की जिंदगी की आखिरी रात वाले घटनाक्रम में द कारवां की ताज़ा पड़ताल ने उन चार जजों के बयानात पर कुछ चिंताजनक सवाल खड़े कर दिए हैं जिनका दावा है कि वे 30 नवंबर और 1 दिसंबर 2014 की दरमियानी रात लोया की मौत के वक्त उनके साथ थे। द कारवां ने नागपुर के उस सरकारी वीआइपी अतिथि गृह रवि भवन के मौजूदा और भूतपूर्व कुल 17 कर्मचारियों से बात की जहां लोया कथित तौर पर रुके थे। इन कर्मचारियों में से एक के अलावा सभी नवंबर 2014 में रवि भवन में कार्यरत थे। इनमें से किसी को भी उस वक्त कोई अंदाज़ा नहीं था वहां रुके एक जज की तबीयत बिगड़ गई थी, जैसा कि दूसरे जजों ने बताया है, और उसे देर रात अस्पताल ले जाया गया जहां उसकी मौत हो गई। इनमें से अधिकतर कर्मचारियों को लोया की मौत की जानकारी तीन साल बाद नवंबर 2017 में मिली जब द कारवां ने लोया की मौत से जुड़ी संदिग्ध परिस्थितियों के बारे में उद्घाटन किया, जिसके बाद उनकी मौत की काफी कवरेज हुई और आखिरकार महाराष्ट्र राज्य गुप्तचर विभाग (एसआइडी) को मामले की जांच सौप दी गई।
नागपुर के शासकीय वैद्यकीय महाविद्यालय—जीएमसी—के फॉरेन्सिक मेडिसिन विभाग में किए गए जज बीएच लोया के पोस्ट-मॉर्टम से जुडी परिस्थितियों पर दो महीने की जांच के बाद जो तथ्य सामने आए हैं, वे सिहरा देने वाले हैं। यह पोस्ट-मॉर्टम एक ऐसे डॉक्टर की निगरानी में किया गया जिसने बाकायदा लिखवाया था कि कौन सा विवरण पोस्ट-मॉर्टम रिपोर्ट में जोड़ना है और क्या घटाना है। बाद में कई पोस्ट-मॉर्टम रिपोर्टों में घपलेबाज़ी की शिकायत पर इस डॉक्टर के खिलाफ जीएमसी में जांच भी चली थी। यह डॉक्टर अब तक लोया मामले में किसी भी मेडिकल या कानूनी दस्तावेज़ से अपना नाम दूर रखने में कामयाब रहा है। अब तक जज लोया की मौत के मामले में हुई मीडिया कवरेज की नज़र से भी यह डॉक्टर साफ़ बचता रहा है।
A two-month investigation into the circumstances surrounding the post-mortem examination of the judge BH Loya at the department of forensic medicine at Nagpur’s Government Medical College has uncovered chilling new facts. The post-mortem examination was directed by a doctor who dictated what details were included in and excluded from Loya’s post-mortem report—and who was later investigated by the GMC over complaints of manipulating numerous post-mortems. The doctor has succeeded in keeping his name from appearing in any medical documents related to the post-mortem, or any court documents in the Loya case. He also managed to avoid any media coverage of his enormous role behind the scenes of the case—until now.
Further investigation by The Caravan into the events that transpired on the final night of the judge BH Loya’s life has raised troubling concerns regarding statements submitted by four judges who claim to have been with him in the hours before he died, on the night intervening 30 November and 1 December 2014. The Caravan spoke to 17 current and former employees of Ravi Bhawan, the government-run VIP guest house where Loya is said to have stayed in Nagpur. None of these employees—all of whom save one were working at Ravi Bhawan in November 2014—had any inkling at that time that a guest staying at the guest house had, as the judges stated, become grievously unwell, been taken to a hospital early in the morning, and subsequently died. Most of these employees learnt of Loya’s death three years later, in November 2017, when The Caravan’s story regarding the suspicious circumstances surrounding Loya’s death broke, leading to news coverage of his demise and, consequently, an inquiry by Maharashtra’s State Intelligence Department, or SID.
Over the last four years, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, or DRI, which is the investigative arm of the department of revenue in the finance ministry, has levelled allegations of over-invoicing of imports
of coal and electricity generation equipment against at least forty of India’s biggest energy companies. The total amount involved in the scandal is an estimated Rs 50,000 crore, or more than eight billion dollars at the current exchange rate. Of this amount, around Rs 30,000 crore is on account of the over-invoicing of coal imported mainly from Indonesia. The remaining Rs 20,000 crore relates to allegations of over-invoicing of power machinery imported largely from China. The higher costs were passed on to consumers, who had to pay more for electricity.
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