Wednesday, August 25 2021

Dive In

We are worried our forces who are new and have not been yet trained very well may mistreat women. We don’t want our forces, God forbid, to harm or harass women.

That’s the Taliban spokesman making it clear that all Afghan women must stay at home for their own safety—though he insists “it's a very temporary procedure”—and promised that working women’s salaries will be paid in their homes. Taliban officials recently indicated that they are fine with women going to work as long as they wear a hijab.


Editor’s note: Our AMA with award-winning journalist Neha Dixit was sooo good! She offered a fantastic perspective on the risks of being a reporter in India, our polarised national debate and more. If you missed out, be sure to watch the session here.

Big Story

The surprising arrest of a union cabinet minister

The TLDR: Maharashtra police have arrested Narayan Rane for a verbal threat to “slap” Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray—in what is the latest salvo in the Shiv Sena-BJP war. We usually ignore petty politics but this is the first arrest of a cabinet minister in twenty years—so it’s worth explaining how and why it happened. We promise to keep it short lol!


Why did they arrest him?

The statement: Rane is currently touring Maharashtra as part of BJP’s Jan Ashirwad Yatra—a public outreach campaign. In Raigad on Monday, Rane took aim at Thackeray in a speech—referencing Thackeray’s CM address on Independence Day:


“The state’s economy and all businesses are in turmoil owing to this man [Mr. Thackeray] pathetic management of affairs…more than 1.5 lakh persons have lost their lives due to the state’s mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic. There was a shortage of vaccines, no medical staff, no doctors. The state’s health infrastructure was in a shambolic state… Does he [Mr. Thackeray] even have the right to speak on anything… He ought to keep a secretary as he did not even know it was the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence and was asking someone backstage [on Independence Day]. I would have given him a tight slap had I been there for forgetting the number of years of India’s Independence.”


That’s the offensive statement in full context. 


The arrest: The threat to slap Thackeray immediately sparked angry protests by Shiv Sena workers—who clashed repeatedly with BJP supporters outside Rane’s home in Mumbai. Three separate FIRs were filed against Rane in Mahad, Nashik and Pune. Responding to increasing speculation about his arrest, Rane raged at reporters:


“I haven’t committed any crime. You should verify and show it on TV or else I will file a case against you. Despite not committing any crime, the media is showing speculative news about my ‘imminent’ arrest. Do you think I am a normal man?”


As it turns out, Rane was indeed a “normal man.” The police arrived in Ratnagiri to arrest him—right in the middle of his lunch.


The charges: The arrest is in connection with the Mahad FIR which was registered under IPC sections 189 (threat of injury to public servant), 504 (intentional insult to provoke breach of public peace), and 505 (statements conducive to public mischief).


Bailed out: While Rane’s attempt to get anticipatory bail before his arrest failed, he was granted bail last night—giving consideration to his health and age. So he’s not behind bars.

Can they just arrest a cabinet minister?


In today’s edition

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A list of curious facts

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