Your Daily Wrap: Bihar Cabinet expansion; Karnataka minister’s audio clip row; and more

As the 11 convicted for life in the gangrape of Bilkis Bano, and the murder of seven members of her family, during the 2002 Gujarat riots, walked out of jail on Tuesday, the Congress lashed out at the BJP government, calling the state government order “unprecedented”. With Tuesday marking the death anniversary of A B Vajpayee, Congress leader Pawan Khera said he wanted to remind Prime Minister Narendra Modi again of the Raj Dharma that the former PM had talked about during his visit to Gujarat after the 2002 riots. In May this year, the Supreme Court had asked the Gujarat government to decide, within two months, an application filed by one of the men found guilty in the Bilkis case. The convict had sought “premature” release from prison, where he had spent more than 15 years following conviction in January 2008. A look at what happened to Bilkis in 2002, what the CBI found in its investigation, and how the trial in the case proceeded.

In Bihar, 31 ministers, including Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav’s brother Tej Pratap Yadav, took oath as Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expanded his Cabinet today. The swearing-in of the 31 ministers reflects the RJD’s attempt at implementing its “MY (Muslim-Yadav)-plus” strategy while the Janata Dal (United) has stuck to its reliable OBC-EBC-Dalit-Upper caste combination.

A controversy has erupted in Karnataka following the emergence of an audio recording linked to Law Minister J C Madhuswamy, who allegedly said the government in the state is not functioning and that the BJP is just managing things until the 2023 Assembly polls. Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, however, sought to downplay the minister’s remarks by claiming that the said comments were made in a specific context to the cooperative sector and that everything else was all right in the government. Last year, Madhuswamy’s name was in contention to replace Yediyurappa as CM. Yet, the very qualities that made Madhuswamy a top choice in the books of some in the BJP were also held against him by others in the party — he was too independent, abrasive, outspoken and, crucially, lacked roots in the Sangh Parivar.

In the world of Tech: Google executives reportedly warned employees of possible layoffs if the end quarter results don’t look good. A screenshot viewed by Insider reveals that Google Cloud sales leadership threatened its employees, saying there will be an “overall examination of sales productivity and productivity in general” and that if next quarter’s results “don’t look up, there will be blood on the streets.” Meanwhile, Apple laid off many of its contract-based recruiters in the past week, part of a push to rein in the tech giant’s hiring and spending. The recruiters were responsible for hiring new employees for Apple, and the cuts underscore that a slowdown is underway at the company.

Political Pulse

In the political silence in India over the attack on author Salman Rushdie, leaving him critically injured, the most deafening is of the ruling BJP. While the BJP would have been expected to react to the attack on Rushdie, party leaders – who did not want to come on record – said the circumstances had changed. A conscious decision has been taken by the party now to refrain from commenting on any incident involving international ramifications. The situation has been further complicated by the recent fiasco surrounding statements by its spokesperson Nupur Sharma (since suspended), as well as its mixed feelings about the writer himself who has been critical of the Narendra Modi government. Liz Mathew reports.

From the Urdu Press: As India celebrates the 75th anniversary of Independence, a tidal wave of patriotism swept through the Urdu press, that sought to map the arc of the country’s remarkable journey, its accomplishments and failings, since 1947. The leading Urdu dailies also expressed concerns over widening faultlines in the country, fearing for the future of democracy and constitutionalism — and the fate of minorities — amid a growing atmosphere of division and hate. The horrifying attack on Salman Rushdie in New York, however, met with silence in their editorial pages, although they ran news reports on the stab assault and follow-up stories.

Express Explained

A day after a made-in-India howitzer gun, the ATAGS, was used for the first time in the ceremonial 21-gun salute during the Independence Day celebrations, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Tuesday handed over several new defence systems, including the F-INSAS, the Nipun mines, the Landing Craft Assault (LCA), to the Army. What is the F-INSAS system, and what are Nipun mines? Read here.

The remains of an Army jawan, Lance Naik Chandrashekhar Harbol, were found on the Siachen Glacier on August 15, more than 38 years after he went missing in an avalanche. The avalanche had claimed the lives of 18 soldiers of the 19th Battalion of the Kumaon Regiment while they were out on a mission. What was this mission, for which the 18 soldiers had volunteered knowing fully well the risk they were running? What was the role that 19 Kumaon played in cementing India’s claim over the Siachen Glacier? We explain.

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