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Police officials in Assam brace for ‘crisis’ ahead of publication of register

Calm before the storm: Security personnel guarding an NRC office ahead of the release of the final list in Guwahati. AFPAFP

Those excluded from the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) to be published on August 31 will get a window of 10 months to prove their citizenship before being sent to detention centres, even as police officers in Assam on Thursday prepared to face an unprecedented “crisis”.

“We cannot say how many will be left out. But each of them will have a window of at least 10 months to challenge his or her exclusion,” Assam’s Additional Chief Secretary in charge of the Home and Political Departments Kumar Sanjay Krishna said.

The publication of the register could be the start of an unprecedented complication — more of the humanitarian kind than of law and order, police officers said.

However, the outgoing DGP, Kuladhar Saikia, said the police and other forces had ensured that security was in place before Saturday. “I believe this entire process will be completed peacefully with awareness and sensitisation drives preceding the exercise,” he said.

Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft may also be sold

Russia is likely to offer India its conventional submarines on the government-to-government route under the Navy’s Project-75I at the summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin at Vladivostok next week, Russian officials said.

“Russian conventional submarines will be offered through the government-to-government route to India at the summit. This will save a lot of time in the procurement process,” one official said.

“The possibility of offering India the Su-57, the Russian Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA), is also being explored, but it has not been decided yet,” he said.

The Navy is looking to buy six advanced conventional diesel-electric submarines under Project 75I that, after several delays, has made progress in the past several months. The procurement is under the Strategic Partnership (SP) model, and is the second project to be processed through this route after the Navy’s tender for utility helicopters.

Probe ordered into U.P. school incident after video goes viral; BSP chief demands action

A government primary school in Uttar Pradesh's Ballia district has landed in a caste discrimination controversy after some students did not have their midday meals alongside Dalit schoolmates.

The matter came to light after a video of the school during the midday meal session, apparently shot by media persons, was widely shared on social media.

While Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati demanded strict legal action by the State government against those guilty of “such disgusting casteist discrimination”, the district administration said the complaints of caste-based discrimination were prima facie “entirely baseless”.

But P. Gupta, principal of the Rampur-1 primary school, admitted to “slight discrimination” that the Dalit students faced from others. He said some of the other students do not want to eat in the same plates as Dalit students — they bring their own plates and eat separately.

“We make them sit in a line but they — perhaps they get taught that at home — display slight discrimination,” said Mr. Gupta.

Despite warning the students several times and teaching them about equality, Mr. Gupta said they sit and eat in their allotted lines for a short while but once the teachers move away, move out and eat separately.

Ballia DM's denial

The school has mostly Dalit and Scheduled Tribe students with a few coming from the OBC communities, said the principal.

Ballia DM Bhawani Singh Khangarot, who went on an inspection of the school, said there was no basis to show any discrimination. “All students said it (report of caste-based discrimination) was incorrect,” he said.

However, Mr. Khangarot said a detailed probe would be conducted under a joint magisterial-level officer and testimonies of the students as well as their guardians recorded.

11-judge Bench suspends order issued by him

The High Court has withdrawn all judicial work from a sitting senior judge, Rakesh Kumar, who had in the course of hearing a corruption case against a former IAS officer on Wednesday highlighted the “state of corruption in the judicial system”. An 11-judge Bench also suspended Justice Kumar’s order and ruled that no action ordered by him would be taken.

“All the matters pending before Hon’ble Mr. Justice Rakesh Kumar, sitting singly including tied up/part heard or otherwise stand withdrawn with immediate effect,” read a notice issued by the Chief Justice of the Patna High Court on August 28.

“The registrar will implement the order forthwith subject to further orders with regard to the formation of the Bench,” the Bench said in the notice, which came into the public domain on Thursday.

No jurisdiction

The Bench also observed that their fellow judge had no “jurisdiction to pass such an order on a case that had been closed”.

Bihar Advocate General Lalit Kishore told journalists that the Bench expressed serious concern over the order passed by Justice Kumar in which he has raised questions over the majesty of the court and the integrity of the judicial system.

Justice Kumar, in his 20-page order, had questioned how retired IAS officer K.P. Ramaiah was granted bail in a corruption case when the HC as well as the Supreme Court had rejected it. Mr. Ramaiah was accused of misappropriation of ₹5 crore in the Bihar Mahadalit Vikas Mission when he was its CEO.

Aims to promote gender parity and women’s visibility in the Indian music industry

Inclusive group: Singers at the launch of the Indian chapter of Women in Music, a New York-based global non-profit.

Women in Music (WIM), a New York-based global non-profit has launched its India chapter to work towards promoting gender parity and women’s visibility in the Indian music industry

Priyanka Khimani, chair of India chapter, said WIM would work to attain 50-50 representation in the music industry, a goal the organisation has been working on since it was established in New York in 1985.

On the specific conditions in India, Ms. Khimani said, “It is important because in general in India there are less women in the workforce and many often take a back seat mid-career. Take any record label, Over The Top (OTT) platform, or publishers and you will not find women in senior leadership. There are no women CEOs and clearly, there is disproportion. It is surprising to see disparity even on the creative side and we need to change that,” she said.

Ms. Khimani, who is a co-founder and lead partner at the city-based law firm, Anand and Anand and Khimani, represents several top-billed music artistes including Lata Mangeshkar, Kalyanji-Anandji, A.R. Rahman, Vishal-Shekhar, Sunidhi Chauhan and new wave stars Shirley Sethia, Harshdeep Kaur and Vidya Vox.

“They are all my clients and thus, I have a strong inclination towards the music industry. Every year, I curate a conference called ‘All about music.’ Last year, at the conference, we announced that we will be launching Women in Music in India and finally we had our first, inaugural event on Monday,” she said.

Terming it an inclusive group, Ms. Khimani said any artist associated with the industry, lawyers representing them, and production houses, could join the community.“The idea is to create a pool and enable connectivity between stakeholders in the industry,” she added.

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