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The One Rank, One Pension (OROP) scheme, issued under the Sixth Pay Commission, claimed a victim in the national capital, as ex-serviceman Ram Kishan Grewal committed suicide by consuming poison at Jantar Mantar. While the cause of his death is yet to be ascertained, sources in the defence ministry claimed, contrary to reports, that Grewal was already a recipient of the benefit, though he had not received the full amount he was entitled to due to an error in calculation. The situation went downhill steadily through the day for the family of the deceased man, as politicians arrived on the scene, causing more commotion than they needed at their hour of grief. The police barred Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi from entering Ram Manohar Lohia hospital to meet Grewal's relatives and detained him. Although he was released later, Gandhi did not spare a chance to teach the authorities some manners. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was also detained by the police for trying to meet the Grewals, hours after his deputy had been taken into custody for the same reason. "This is worse than Emergency," the CM told reporters before being taken away, while Manish Sisodia tweeted, "This is emergency".
The air quality in Delhi, worsened by the bursting of firecrackers for Diwali, has turned alarmingly toxic. People in the NCR seemed to have been the worst affected, with complaints of burning sensation in the eyes pouring in on social media. A day back, two photographs of the India Gate, taken before and after Diwali, showed up the reality more eloquently than words can describe. While politicians have decided to combat the menace by introducing a Kejriwal app where people can submit their grievances regarding pollution, citizens have started a petition to ban firecrackers in Delhi. Over 23,000 people have signed it so far.
The abolition of triple talaq, the oral unilateral divorce that Muslim personal law currently allows men to divorce their wives, is one of the most debated subjects in the country right now. But the statistic that is most widely cited to make a case for its ban is based on bad data. Our Data and Innovation Editor explains why this is so and the best practices of sampling when conducting surveys involving large and diverse populations.
Investigations have revealed that the escape of 8 activists of the Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) from a prison in Bhopal was only the tip of the iceberg of a masterplan to free all the 29 members of the group lodged there. Various evidences that have emerged since the jail break suggest the mission was months in the making and far more ambitious than previously thought.
The data for cases of domestic violence against women in India in 2015, released this September, reveals a shocking picture. Although the numbers show a drop from 122,877 cases in 2014 to 113,403 cases reported in 2015, these are only an indication of a more pervasive and still under-reported problem. West Bengal is the state with the highest number of reported cases (20,163).
A forthcoming meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in Vienna is likely to rekindle hopes of India's admission to the coveted group. The special envoy appointed by the NSG, Rafael Grossi, may propose a two-stage process to admit non-NPT members like India at the meet. So far China's opposition to India's entry into the NSG has been unwavering, but it has agreed to a consultative process to figure out the way forward for non-NPT countries.
Off The Front Page
The family of ex-serviceman Ram Kishan Grewal, who committed suicide over OROP, are in shock, unable to understand the motive that prompted him to take such a drastic step. "He was a very emotional person. He considered everyone's problems as his own. He was also very empathetic towards war widows. He must have got overwhelmed by his passion to help others by sacrificing his life," Ram Kishan's friend and fellow ex-serviceman, Subedar Umer Singh, told Hindustan Times. The family, understandably, wants no political meddling at this hour of sorrow.
Months after a cultural festival by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art of Living Foundation destroyed the floodplains of the Yamuna river, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has asked the government of Odisha to prevent a similar event from taking place on the bed of Mahanadi, its largest river. Acting on a petition by noted environmentalist Biswajit Mohanty, the NGT ordered the state government to stop allocating stalls on the riverbed for the 10-day-long Baliyatra festival starting from November 14.
India's badminton star Saina Nehwal feels her career might be approaching an end, in spite of her promising comeback following a knee surgery. Although the 26-year-old has returned to training following a period of rest and recuperation, she is yet to achieve her full fitness. "It is okay, many people will think my career will end and I won't come back," she said recently. "I also think somewhere deep in my heart that maybe it is the end of my career, so let's see how it is. Maybe, you never know."
Journalist Rajdeep Sardesai examines the effect of television journalism on electoral politics in The Indian Express. Looking at Donald Trump's presidential campaign, especially the way it has been covered on TV in America, he asks, "Did the billionaire real estate tycoon get this far because television gave him the oxygen to sustain what has been a made for television campaign like no other America has seen in recent times?" In India, too, Sardesai says, television has skewed voters' choices.
Commenting on extra-judicial killings with reference to the death of 8 SIMI activists in Bhopal, Salil Tripathi writes in Mint, "When the state acts with impunity, it erases the sharp line that separates the state from criminals.... It sends a message that it is all right to disregard the Constitution, that it is fine to act outside the law. "
If you think sarcasm may help you survive the smog of Delhi-NCR, don't miss Manu Joseph's scathing satire in the Hindustan Times on the only thing that can improve air quality in India right now: nationalism.
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