Dear Reader,

In January of 2018, 16 people were incarcerated for allegedly fomenting violence on the eve of the gathering of tribals to mark the Battle of Bhima Koregaon in the Pune district of Maharashtra. ThePrint reports, quoting the Wired, that at least three of them -- activist Rona Wilson, poet Varavara Rao and Delhi University Professor Hany Babu, charged under the dreaded UAPA -- were victims of the police’s perfidy, where their computers were “hacked” to plant “fabricated evidence” of their alleged sedition.

Surveys record that in India, since 2016, 99 RTI activists have died, 170 assaulted and 186 of them threatened and harassed for reaching out to exercise their right to information. Now, as Article 14 reports, Madhya Pradesh is joining the ranks of the states that have become noxious for RTI activists and whistle-blowers.

Nagaland is set to roll out a facial recognition technology (FRT) to monitor teacher attendance across all public schools in the state and issued a tender notification in March, which has now been taken down. MediaNama points out that the tender not only severely breaches the right to privacy but allows third-party developers to access the personal and facial data of thousands of teachers, raising questions about data theft and state surveillance.

And, Down To Earth reports that a study by a DRDO lab found that low-quality of materials, lax rules and faulty designs are responsible for the recent spate of fires in electric scooters. It also looks at what it will take to put out these fires and ensure safety in the growing EV market.

For more such stories from the grantees this week, please read on.


Sunil Rajshekhar

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Report ‘links’ Pune Police to hacking campaign that ‘planted evidence’ on Bhima Koregaon suspects

ThePrint chronicles how activists in the Bhima Koregaon case were allegedly framed by the Pune police by hacking their computers and planting incriminating evidence.

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Police Surveillance To Fake Criminal Cases: The Perils Of Exercising The Right To Information In Madhya Pradesh

Article 14 reports from Madhya Pradesh on how RTI activists and whistle-blowers are facing threats, violence and surveillance by the state.

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Deep Dive: Nagaland To Use Facial Recognition For Teacher’s Attendance, But What Are The Issues At Stake?

Nagaland’s move to use facial recognition technology to record the attendance of teachers, without the needed safeguards, has dire implications for citizens’ privacy and integrity of data. MediaNama analyses.

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Trial by ‘fire’: A wake-up call for India’s electric vehicle strategy

Manufacturers’ use of low-quality materials to cut costs, lax rules, lack of battery integrity and faulty design packs are responsible for the recent spate of fires in electric scooters. This was the conclusion of a study by The Centre for Fire Explosives, a lab under the DRDO, Down To Earth reports.

Read Here

More from the grantees
The Smoke and Mirrors of Casteism in the US
The India Forum analyses how casteism among the Asian communities in the United States is “systemic, institutionalised and works across religions”.
Saving Bengaluru's Built and Natural Heritage
Live History India tells the story of Bengaluru’s forgotten history and how the city, which has largely been marked for its IT prowess, has a rich legacy and heritage crying for attention.
#katihar: नल जल योजना से वंचित हैं #bihar के ग्रामीण, गंदा पानी पीने को मजबूर
Despite the government schemes like ‘Nal Jal Yojana’, Democratic Charkha reports the plight of residents of Katihar in Bihar who are still forced to consume contaminated water.
Guwahati under water: India’s gateway to South East Asia sinking at an alarming Rate
The Probe reports from Guwahati – the capital of Assam, on the precarious flood situation in the city and looks at how mismanagement and poor planning continue to take a heavy toll on the citizens.

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