Hello, this is your daily dose of news from Onmanorama. I'm your host, Vishnu, and these are the major news stories of the day:
1. KT Jaleel defends Azad Kashmir reference
2. Writers, world leaders appalled by attack on Salman Rushdie
3. Congress president Sonia Gandhi tests COVID positive again
4. CBI court sends 3 to jail over 2002 question paper printing scam in Kerala
5. Rookie ministers in Pinarayi Govt blamed for lacklustre show
Let's get into the details:
1. Controversial Kerala legislator K T Jaleel, who is on a North India tour, has defended his use of the term 'Indian-occupied Kashmir' and 'Azad Kashmir' in a social media post on his trips.
The former State Minister had triggered a row on Friday by terming Jammu and Kashmir as 'India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir’ and Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir as 'Azad Kashmir'.
Defending himself, Jaleel said he had written Azad Kashmir in double inverted commas, implying it was not his view.
Taking to social media, Jaleel said he pitied those who did not understand what double inverted commas meant.
Meanwhile, the CPM-backed legislator didn't clarify on his usage ‘Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir’.
Jaleel's controversial references came in a relatively long post elaborating on the socio-political and historical aspects of Jammu and Kashmir. Many, including Union Minister for State V Muraleedharan and BJP state president K Surendran, came out against Jaleel’s remarks in the post.
2. Eminent personalities across the world took to Twitter to express their outrage at the stabbing of Booker Prize winner Salman Rushdie, who had been facing death threats from radical Islamists for years.
'The Satanic Verses' writer was stabbed in the neck and torso on Friday at an event in New York by a 24-year-old New Jersey resident Hadi Matar.
Rushdie, who underwent surgery, is now on ventilator support. He was taking part in an event organised by a not-for-profit community when the incident occurred.
Writer-politician Shashi Tharoor said that he is utterly horrified and shocked by the incident and wished the Booker prize winner a speedy recovery.
French President Emmanuel Macron noted that Rushdie has embodied freedom and the fight against obscurantism.
Former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that Rushdie was exercising a right we should never cease to defend, alongside saying that his thoughts are with Rushdie's loved ones.
According to media reports, Hadi Matar is sympathetic to 'Shia extremism' and the causes of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Though there are no direct links between Matar and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, law enforcement officers reportedly found images of slain commander Qassem Solemani and an Iraqi extremist sympathetic to the Iranian regime in a cell phone messaging app belonging to Matar, according to NBC News.
Soleimani was a senior Iranian military officer who served in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from 1998 until his assassination in 2020.
Rushdie's book The Satanic Verses has been banned in Iran since 1988, as many Muslims consider it offensive to Islam.
The author spent about 10 years under police protection in the United Kingdom, living in hiding after Iran's late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for Rushdie's execution.
3. Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who had tested positive for COVID-19 in June, and recuperated after hospitalisation, is reportedly positive again.
The party’s general secretary in-charge of communications Jairam Ramesh tweeted the 75-year-old will remain in isolation as per government protocol.
A few days ago, Sonia's daughter and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi had also tested positive.
In June, Sonia had spent quite a few days in hospital due to post-COVID issues. Around the time, she was also supposed to appear before the Enforcement Directorate over the money-laundering case pertaining to transactions of the Associated Journals Limited and had pushed the dates of the same owing to ill-health.
4. A Court of the Central Bureau of Investigation on Saturday sentenced three people, including two former education department officials, to rigorous imprisonment over the question paper printing scam that took place in Kerala in 2002.
The three sentenced are former Deputy Director of Education Department V Sanu, Pareeksha Bhavan former Secretary S Ravindran and printing press employee Annamma Chacko.
While second accused Annamma was sentenced to five years imprisonment, fourth accused Ravindran and sixth accused Sanu were sentenced to four years imprisonment each.
All three have to pay an amount of Rs 12.5 lakh as fine as well.
As per the case, the accused caused a loss of Rs 1.33 crore to the State exchequer by aiding a private printing press to get out-of-turn contracts for printing question papers for academic examinations, including that for the Secondary School Leaving Certificate, from the year 2002.
There were a total of nine accused in the printing scam. But the first accused and General Manager of Vishwanathan Press Rajan Chacko, third accused and owner of the press Subramaniyan, fifth accused and Pareeksha Bhavan former Superintendent C P Vijayan Nair and seventh accused and Pareeksha Bhavan former clerk Ajith Kumar died before the completion of the trial.
The CBI, in its chargesheet, had said that the accused cheated the State Government by conniving with the private parties by granting an out-of-turn contract for a benami company, which was jointly formed by various companies which got the question paper printing work in previous years.
The CBI took over the investigation of the case from the State Crime Branch when the SSLC question paper leak rocked the State in 2005.
In 2007, the CBI submitted separate chargesheets in the court with regard to the question paper leak case and the question paper printing scam case.
5. A report prepared by the CPM State Secretariat criticised the style of functioning of several ministers in the Second Pinarayi Vijayan Cabinet. No names were mentioned in particular, but according to party sources, there were enough hints for the individuals concerned about the corrective measures.
The party leadership made it clear that the final judgment of the ministers won't be done based on their one-year performance.
The ministers have been served a warning and urged to improve their functioning. There is no move for a Cabinet reshuffle at the moment, but the leaders don’t rule out such a possibility later.
Participants at the top party meet realised that the capability of the government was affected by the post-pandemic situation and the inexperience of new ministers.
Seventeen out of the 21 ministers in the Cabinet are new faces.
Meanwhile, CM Pinarayi Vijayan, accepting the suggestions, urged the ministers to rise to the expectations of the party in terms of their performance.
There is not as much of a problem as being talked about. Despite the lack of experience, the ministers have to live up to expectations and perform well in their respective portfolios, the CM said while speaking at the CPM State Committee meeting.
Pinarayi also urged ministers to give special attention to the functioning of their offices. He directed the ministers to behave well towards those who approach them with different needs.
That brings us to the end of this episode. Be sure to come back tomorrow. As always, thanks for listening to Daily News Dose.