Indian police have been urged to abandon efforts to recover the body of an American missionary killed by an isolated tribe on a remote island, amid warnings any contact could have “catastrophic” consequences. Survival International, an NGO working for tribal rights, said the Sentinelese people living in North Sentinel could be wiped out if outside diseases were introduced onto the island. Any such mission would also pose extreme danger to Indian officials, the group said.
Fears are rising in India where tensions between the government and the central bank have been revealed to the public. The governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Urjit Patel, could reportedly resign in protest of political interference. The statement followed reports that the government has invoked special powers within the RBI Act that allow it to issue directions to the bank. The government responded to reports by saying it will respect the bank’s autonomy.
India unveiled the world’s largest statue which costs $430 million to build on Wednesday. The ‘Statue of Unity’ is twice as large as the Statue of Liberty and measures 597-feet tall. The statue is made of steel and bronze. The statue depicts Vallabhbhai Patel who was important in unifying India and leading it to independence.
Hindu protesters prevented women from entering a holy temple in Kerala despite India’s Supreme Court ruling that ‘the right to practice religion is available to both men and women.’ The temple opened its doors but women were unable to enter due to protester attacks. The Sabarimala temple was historically closed to women of ‘menstruating age.’
In the wake of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s fall and the birth of the #MeToo movement, India has joined the conversation with a collection of sexual misconduct allegations in Bollywood. The increase in reports of sexual harassment has put greater pressure on major Indian employers to respond seriously and enforce legal protections.
India’s Supreme Court made a landmark decision, ruling that gay sex is no longer a criminal offense. The decision overturns a 2013 ruling which categorized gay sex as an ‘unnatural offense.’ Discrimination based on sexual orientation is now ruled a fundamental violation of rights. India held its first gay pride parade on Saturday before results.
Former Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee died at the age of 93 on Thursday. Vajpayee eased tensions with Pakistan and improved relations with the US. At least 164 people died in the worst monsoon flood in almost a century in Kerala, India. A red alert is in place as more rains are predicted.
Authorities in Chennai, India arrested 17 men in a gated community on Monday on accusations of raping an 11-year-old girl over seven months. Police say the men filmed themselves raping the girl and threatening to release the videos if she told her family. The men were charged with rape, attempted murder, and criminal intimidation.
The Indian government has ordered the immediate inspection of all child care homes run by Mother Theresa’s Missionaries of Charity, following accusations that employees of one home were selling babies for adoption. Indian authorities shut down the home earlier this month after learning four infants had been sold. The charity said it is investigating the ‘shocking’ news.
Dozens were trapped and at least 19 killed when a flyover collapsed in the Indian city of Varanasi on Tuesday, crushing vehicles below it. The accident is latest in a deadly string of construction mishaps in India where enforcement of safety rules is weak. A rescue operation continues for those believed to still be trapped.