File photo of the Haji Ali Dargah in Mumbai. (Photo: Reuters)

QBullet: Bombay HC Allows Women in Haji Ali, Olympics Task Force

1. Haji Ali Dargah Must Allow Women to Enter the Inner Sanctum: Bombay HC

The Bombay High Court on Thursday ruled in favour of allowing women into the inner sanctum of the Haji Ali Dargah in Mumbai.

The HC bench ruled on a public interest litigation which urged lifting restriction on women inside the inner sanctum which houses the mazaar or tomb of the saint. The ban was imposed somewhere between March and June 2012 by the Haji Ali Dargah Trust. The bench held that it is in contravention of Articles 14 (Right to Life), 15 (Prohibition of discrimination)and 25 (Right to practice religion) of the Constitution of India. It directed the status quo ante to be restored, and women be allowed entry on par with men. The state and the trust running the dargah should take steps for safety of women.
The Times of India

2. To Avoid Rio Repeat, PM Modi Announces Task Force to Plan for Next 3 Olympic Games

Aimed at boosting India’s performance in future Olympics, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday announced the setting-up of a task force to plan it, reports The Indian Express.

A Task Force would be set up to prepare a comprehensive action plan for “effective participation” of Indian sportspersons in the next three Olympic Games – 2020, 2024 and 2028.The announcement was made at a meeting of the Union Council of Ministers at which the Prime Minister also reviewed the performance of various ministries vis a vis promises made in last three budgets (two full budgets). Modi also examined the status of the implementation of the Departmental Action Plan for various ministries.

3. Government to Slap Terror Case on Zakir Naik, Ban His NGO

The government is about to slap terror charges on Islamic televangelist Zakir Naik for inciting violence among 50 people accused in terror-related cases. The government is also seeking to declare his NGO, Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), as unlawful.

Top government sources said the two-pronged action plan against Naik, a popular Islamic missionary who has been accused of being the “inspiration” behind the Dhaka restaurant attack in July, has been worked out on the basis of scrutiny of his speeches. They said the home ministry, armed with legal opinion, has decided to book Naik under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for speeches it has, along with the Maharashtra government, found to be laced with jihad-inspiring content.
The Times of India

4. After Surrogacy, Govt to Regulate IVF, Sperm Banks

The union cabinet has cleared the draft Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 to be introduced in the Parliament in the upcoming session. While the regulation in itself was welcomed, the rules have kicked up a storm. Now, the government has expressed plans to regulate IVF centres and sperm banks.

Estimates show that assisted reproductive technology (ART), of which IVF and surrogacy services are most common, is a Rs 3,000-crore industry in India. “We are aware of the way these clinics are increasing and that there is a need to regulate them. We are working in that direction,” said Dr Soumya Swaminathan, secretary of the department of health research which had an important role in drafting the surrogacy bill.  
The Times of India

5. Govt Plans to Call Gilgit NRIs for Pravasi Divas 2017

The government may invite non-resident Indians from Gilgit Baltistan on next year’s Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas. A first, the move comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi raked up Pakistan’s conflict-ridden province of Baluchistan in his Independence Day speech.

The proposal being discussed among the top brass of the Indian government – between external and home ministries, as well as intelligence and security agencies – is that the diaspora from these areas should be called for the biennial event. The next Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas is scheduled to be held in Bengaluru in January next year. The plan, according to top South Block sources, is to make the point that these people are part of the Indian diaspora. This ties in with the government’s latest diplomatic gambit that Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan are part of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Indian Express

6. Red Flags in the Air, Maharashtra Agrees to Scan New Security Law

Draft of the proposed Maharashtra Protection of Internal Security Act will be discussed at the upcoming Maharashtra all-aorta meeting.

However, some sections of the draft (mentioned below), among others, have already raised red flags and invited criticism:

  • Intrusive security
  • Confused command and control
  • Absence of the Opposition in the apex committee
  • Creation of Special Security Zones (SSZ)
The proposed law defines a Special Security Zone (SSZ) as an area continuously exposed to insurgency or activities of organised crime. This would be notified as an SSZ and will have an “appropriate police structure and a suitable command, control and response system.” Details of the set-up, the extent of its powers, and its relationship with existing security structures haven’t been defined. This could lead to confusion and multiplicity in command, experts say.
The Indian Express

7. In-Flight Selfies Face Stick

A new Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) regulation will ban selfies by passengers and staff on an aircraft. The new regulation is necessitated by the increasing culture of selfies, although photography is prohibited on flights under an earlier law.

Several instances of crew members, including cockpit crew, clicking photographs inside the flights have come to our notice and that’s a security concern for us. We have decided to come out with a comprehensive guideline that will be applicable to both passengers and crew members. These guidelines will act as a safety circular for providing guidance to airlines and we are deciding what action can be taken in case of violations. 
Official to The Telegraph

“An advisory is expected to be issued in 10 days to all domestic and international airlines, officials in the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said,” the report read.

8. Abandoned by Parents, Sisters Found Infested With Maggots and Starving

Alka (8) and her three-year-old sister Jyoti were rescued by authorities from their Samaypur Badli home in outer Delhi on 19 August, police said. The girls were found infested with maggots and starving, abandoned by their father.

The mother, Rosy, had left home two months ago with her five-year-old son. Their father, Bablu, left on 15 August. Officials said 35-year-old Bablu was unemployed and an alcoholic. The ground floor home – where the family had been staying on rent for two years – is near Shiv Mandir in Nepali Colony.
Hindustan Times
The neighbours got to know something was wrong after stench started spreading. It was difficult to enter the room because of the strong, foul smell. The sisters were nearly dead and their wounds had started to rot. There was no food in the room. There were no windows for air circulation and the hot and humid room was infested with mosquitoes and flies. The sisters were rushed to the Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital in Rohini. Doctors were stunned after seeing the poor condition of the two. The rotting wounds had started impacting their brains. They were put under special treatment for four days. Now their condition is gradually stabilising. 
Police Official

9. All-Party Delegation to Visit Kashmir in First Week of September

The demand of the Opposition in the Parliament is set to materialise in the first week of September. An all-party delegation will visit Kashmir to assess and end the violence in the Valley.

The decision to send the team came a day after Union home minister Rajnath Singh ended a two-day visit to Kashmir, announcing the government’s willingness to speak to “anybody” and promising an alternative to pellet guns which have left hundreds of people with eye injuries.
Hindustan Times
The exact date of the visit and composition of the delegation will be finalised after consultation with all political parties. 
Senior Government Official

From The Quint