The South Asia Channel

India’s Supreme Court Annuls Country’s Medical Exam; Pakistan Reverses Decision on Save the Children; Afghan Taliban Release Four Tajik Guards

Event Notice: Film Screening, The Sky Below, Today, 5:15p.m. – 7:00 p.m. (NewAmerica) India Bonus Read: “In Hindi Films, Strong Women Are a Formula That Works,” by Manu Joseph (NYT) Bonus Read: “Study: Longer, but not healthier, life in India,” by Aditi Malhotra (WSJ) Supreme Court annuls country wide medical school entrance exam In a ...

Members of the media wait outside the Supreme Court for news of the verdict over a law criminalising gay sex in New Delhi on December 11 2013.   India's Supreme Court on December 11 upheld a colonial-era law criminalising homosexuality in a landmark judgment that crushes activists' hopes for guarantees on sexual freedom in the world's biggest democracy.      AFP PHOTO / Prakash SINGH        (Photo credit should read PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the media wait outside the Supreme Court for news of the verdict over a law criminalising gay sex in New Delhi on December 11 2013. India's Supreme Court on December 11 upheld a colonial-era law criminalising homosexuality in a landmark judgment that crushes activists' hopes for guarantees on sexual freedom in the world's biggest democracy. AFP PHOTO / Prakash SINGH (Photo credit should read PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)

Event Notice: Film Screening, The Sky Below, Today, 5:15p.m. – 7:00 p.m. (NewAmerica)

India

Bonus Read: “In Hindi Films, Strong Women Are a Formula That Works,” by Manu Joseph (NYT)

Bonus Read: “Study: Longer, but not healthier, life in India,” by Aditi Malhotra (WSJ)

Supreme Court annuls country wide medical school entrance exam

In a decision affecting hundreds of thousands of students, the Supreme Court on Monday cancelled the medical college entrance exam (AIPMT) results announced on June 5, ordering the exam conducting authority CBSE, to reconduct the test within four weeks (HT, NDTV, Hindu, IBT). The court was hearing petitions filed by test takers who had made allegations of large scale irregularities, as severe as the answer keys being leaked prior to the exam. Earlier in a report Haryana police said that 44 beneficiaries of the leak had been identified and they suspected approximately 700 students had benefited from the paper leak. AIPMT is an extremely competitive centralized medical school entrance exam which received nearly 630,000 application this year, 4,000 of which will be offered places in medical schools across the country.

Wholesale prices fall for the seventh consecutive month

According to the wholesale price index (WPI)-based inflation data released on Monday, wholesale prices in the country fell in the month of May at an annual rate of 2.36 percent (LiveMint, Reuters, WSJ). This is the seventh consecutive month that the index has fallen in the country, with April seeing a fall of 2.65 percent annually. Arvind Subramanian, chief economic advisor to the finance ministry, in a recent column in the Indian Express had pushed for further interest rate cuts, arguing that CPI may not be the correct measure to gauge inflation. Wholesale fuel prices in May fell 10.51 percent year-on-year, while costs of manufacturing goods edged down 0.64 percent from a year ago.

Over 15,000 killed in Naxalite related violence: Union Home Ministry

In a response to a Right to Information query, the Union Home Ministry in India disclosed on Sunday that over the past 35 years, more than 15,000 people have been killed due to Naxal related violence (PTI). According to the government, 12,177 civilians and 3,125 security personnel were killed since 1980 due to the violence. In a similar query the government also revealed that 4,768 Naxalites fighters have been killed by security forces over the same time period. Naxalites are a communist guerrilla group operating primarily in the eastern part of the country. Indian security analysts put the strength of the group at approximately 20,000 armed men and the previous government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared them to the be the most serious internal threat to India’s national security.

Pakistan

Pakistan reverses decision on Save the Children

Pakistan suspended an order to close the national branch of the charity Save the Children on Sunday, just days after the charity’s main office in Islamabad was shut down by police (BBC, RFE/RL). Last Thursday, Pakistan Interior Minister Chaudry Nisar Ali Khan said NGOs were operating beyond their remit with backing from the United States, Israel, and India. Officials also accused the charity of “anti-state activities” and the government had linked the charity to a fake vaccination program used by the CIA in an attempt to find Osama bin Laden. Save the Children has denied being involved with the CIA and that vaccination program. There has been no official comment or reason given for the decision to allow the charity to remain open, but a spokesman told BBC that the charity welcomed the government’s decision.

Afghan Taliban commander killed in Peshawar

Maulvi Mir Ahmad Gul Hashmi, a senior Afghan Taliban leader, was shot in Peshawar on Monday, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said (ET). Hashmi was considered the Taliban’s shadow governor for Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province. He was critically injured during firing in Peshawar and later succumbed to those injuries, according to Mujahid. No group had claimed responsibility for the assassination so far, according to the spokesperson, however the Taliban routinely blame Afghan intelligence officers for such killings. Hashmi is the latest Taliban leader to be killed in Pakistan; last year, a former Taliban minister Abdul Raqeeb was killed in Peshawar.

Afghanistan

Taliban release four Tajik guards

The Taliban in Afghanistan released four Tajik border guards over the weekend after Qatar stepped in to mediate (RFE/RL). A Qatar Foreign Ministry statement on Monday said that the four had been released for “humanitarian reasons.” The guards were captured by Taliban militants in northern Afghanistan not far from the border with Tajikistan last December as they were wandering around the area apparently gathering firewood.

District governor killed by roadside bomb

An Afghan district governor and three other people were killed when their car hit a roadside bomb on Sunday in a remote area of Takhar province (Reuters). Abdul Khalil Asir, a police spokesman for the province, said: “They were going to visit a checkpost that had been attacked by Taliban overnight … when their car was blown up.” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the bombing, which came one day after insurgents killed 17 police in another attack in the southern province of Helmand (BBC). In that attack, dozens of militants overran police checkpoints in the Musa Qala district, killing officers and seizing a large number of heavy weapons.

— Shuja Malik and Emily Schneider

Edited by Peter Bergen

Emily Schneider is a program associate in the International Security Program at New America. She is also an assistant editor of the South Asia channel. @emilydsch

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