The independent news channel New Delhi Television, or NDTV, has been bought by Gautam Adani, a billionaire, sparking media concentration concerns. Analysts have expressed concern that the takeover will compromise NDTV's editorial independence, which stands in sharp contrast to other mainstream news channels that allegedly have strong ties to the government. A similar move was observed in 2014 with another billionaire acquiring Network18, one of India's largest media companies. Experts indicate that the move marks a worrying blow for independent media in India.
India's Supreme Court announced on 13 October a split decision on allowing hijabs to be worn in classrooms and has referred the case to the Chief Justice. The verdict extends a 10-month-long polarizing debate, which critics allege is the latest case of authorities trying to marginalize Muslims under the state's Hindu extremist policies. Muslim women have protested that the ban goes against their freedom of expression and religion and access to education. Women protesting the ban have faced violence from counter-protesting young men wearing saffron shawls and waving orange flags, emblematic of Hindu nationalist groups.
India's Supreme Court ruled on 29 September that all women, regardless of marital status, may obtain an abortion up to 24 weeks into their pregnancies. The law previously only allowed married persons to terminate pregnancies up until 24 weeks, with single women limited to 20 weeks. Reproductive rights activists have hailed the move as a positive step toward expanding women's right to safe and legal abortions in a non-discriminatory way.
Eleven Hindu men who received life sentences for the 2002 gang rape of a Muslim woman and the murder of seven of her family members were granted early release from prison (after serving fourteen years) by the Gujarati state government on 15 August. The attacks took place during an outbreak of inter-religious violence in Gujarat in early 2002, during which officials said 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed. The decision triggered protests across India, and it has been appealed to the country’s Supreme Court. Critics of the decision allege that the case underscores the persistent challenges faced by Muslim women in India, who continue to be subject to discrimination and human rights violations.