Wednesday, September 16 2020

Dive In

People in the entertainment industry are being flogged by social media. People who made their names in the industry have called it a gutter. I completely disagree. I hope that the government tells such people not to use this kind of language.

That’s Jaya Bachchan getting very angry in Parliament at Kangana Ranaut and others for bad-mouthing Bollywood—and claiming it is infested with drug users (the clip here). She added, “Jis thaali mein khaate hain usi mein chhed karte hain” (they are making a hole in the very plate that they eat from). Ranaut’s measured response: “Jaya ji would you say the same thing if in my place it was your daughter Shweta beaten, drugged and molested as a teenage, would you say the same thing if Abhieshek complained about bullying and harassment constantly and found hanging one day?” Illustration: Parth Savla

Big Story

A ‘uterus collector’ in America

The TLDR: A legal complaint has exposed new horrors at immigration detention centres in the US. It alleges that at one such centre, the local doctor is performing mass hysterectomies—i.e. taking out their uterus—without the knowledge or consent of migrant women. The complaint also alleges that the centre refused to test or treat inmates for Covid—and severely punished them if they objected. 


Trigger Warning: This explainer includes accounts of sexual assault.


These are camps for illegal migrants right?

There were 31,000 detainees in these camps in mid-April—down from 52,722 in September (immigration officials have been releasing detainees due to the pandemic). These do not include 4,000 children who are housed in separate facilities—most of whom have been forcibly taken from their parents.


None of them are illegal in any sense of the word. 


  • These people are fleeing gang violence, domestic abuse and poverty—typically from countries in Central America.  
  • Migrants formally request asylum at the southern border of the United States. 
  • At which point, they are put in temporary holding cells, and then moved to detention centers. 
  • They are held in these centers while they await a court hearing that will determine whether they can stay in the country. 
  • These centers only exist to ensure that they show up for the hearings. 
  • At one time, migrants were only put in ‘civil detention’ if they posed a risk to public safety or were considered a flight risk. But since Donald Trump became president, anyone who asks for asylum is thrown into these centers.
  • Since 2017, 40 new detention facilities have opened—and most are run by private companies with very little oversight from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
  • In the latest budget, the Trump administration has requested $4.1 billion. The aim: to expand detention facilities to accommodate 60,000 people on any given day.
  • Two of the biggest private prison companies—CoreCivic and GEO Group—made $1.3 billion in ICE contracts, which account for around 30% of their revenue
  • Since 2017, 39 adults have died in ICE custody or immediately after being released—mainly due to lack of medical care. Twelve of them committed suicide at these centers.


I heard these camps are horrific…


In today’s edition

Headlines That Matter

  • A new Facebook scandal
  • America is shrouded in smoke
  • A letter in support of Rhea
  • New Rowling novel reignites uproar
  • Apple’s big unveil underwhelms
  • Toyota nixes India expansion… or not


Smart and Curious

  • The importance of being ‘selfish’
  • A haunting visual essay on the ghost towns of Fukushima, Japan

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