Indian prime minister Narendra Modi: Two mayors from Modi’s party  claim their community’s ‘beliefs and sentiments’ were ‘unpleasantly affected’ when they encountered meat shops. Photograph:  Prakash Singh/AFP via Getty

Ban on meat sales by prime minister Narendra Modi’s BJP party sparks outrage

Government’s goal is to vaccinate  the  entire adult population of about one billion against Covid-19 by year end. Photograph: Sam Panthaky/AFP via Getty

Widespread vaccine hesitancy across rural part of the country, healthcare workers say

Women on a  New Delhi street. India has more women than men for the first time on record, according to government data. Photograph:  Prakash Singh/AFP

Delhi Letter: A UN report in 2014 said that India’s dwindling female population had reached ‘emergency proportions’

The BJP banned  the street sale of all non-vegetarian fare  in four major cities   as it ’offended’ Hindu religious sentiments. Photograph: Punit Paranjpe/ AFP via Getty Images

Vendors also prohibited from selling within 100m of schools, parks and religious places

Wedding guests in New Delhi, India. Photograph: Daniel Berehulak/Getty

As the Covid shackles come off, large, opulent weddings are putting a strain on supply

 A cyclist endures the heavy smog in New Delhi    as the city’s s air quality reached  dangerous levels following  the Diwali festival. Photograph: Harish Tyagi/EPA

Homeless and poor suffer the most as city shrouded in a noxious smog

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government dismissed allegations of snooping as ‘baseless’ but declined to say whether it had procured the Pegasus software or not.  Photograph: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty

Truth behind claims Pegasus spyware used for illegal surveillance set to be uncovered

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi greets health workers as he visits a vaccination centre in New Delhi on Thursday. Photograph: EPA/India Press Information Bureau

Huge disparity between partly and fully vaccinated people remains

Indian paramilitary soldiers standing guard in  city centre Lal Chowk in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Kashmir. Photograph:  EPA/Farooq Khan

Indian security forces move tens of thousands of agriculture and construction workers into army and police camps for their safety

Indian paramilitary troops stand guard in Srinagar after suspected militants shot dead five soldiers in Indian-administered Kashmir. Photograph:  Tauseef Mustafa/AFP via Getty Images

India claims armed militants crossed over from Pakistan across the line of control that divides Kashmir

Traffic in New Delhi: incessant honking by vehicles is endemic across India, even at stop lights, as drivers weave their way through chaotic traffic along crowded highways.  Photograph:  Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Raucous vehicle horns to be replaced by sounds of classical Indian instruments

A girl offers cake to a lifesize cut-out of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi on his 71st birthday, in Ahmedabad. Photograph:   Sam Panthaky/AFP via Getty Images

Extravagant programme of events criticised as effort to halt slide in PM’s popularity

 In the village of Amlitala in 2004, a villager prepares a mix of smashed seeds and purified water to cover the bride and groom’s bodies, a ritual performed on the day before the actual wedding. File Photograph: Alexis Duclos/Gamma-Rapho/ Getty Images

Families ‘exploited’ lockdowns to illegally marry off daughters aged between 11 and 14 years

A woman receiving a shot of vaccine in Srinagar,   Kashmir. Photograph: EPA/Farooq Khan

Less than 5% of India’s adult population of about 1 billion having been fully vaccinated against Covid-19

A health worker administers the vaccine to a woman  in Hyderabad, India. So far, about 51 million Indians have received two vaccine jabs,   that’s just under four per cent of the country’s massive  population. Photograph: Mahesh Kumar/AP

Leading virologist warns of potential ‘third wave’ after lockdown restrictions eased

 A woman  receiving  a vaccine jab  in a car  in Kolkata, eastern India. Photograph:  EPA/Piyal Adhikary

Shops have reopened in Delhi and Mumbai, but are permitted to function on alternate days only

An Indian health worker receiving a shot of Covid-19 vaccine during a  vaccination drive in Bangalore, India. Photograph: EPA

The fungus affects recovered and recovering Covid-19 patients, and is linked to an overuse of steroids administered in treating th(...)

 People receiving vaccination at a drive-in Covid-19 vaccination station  in Gautam Budh Nagar, Uttar Pradesh state, India. Photograph: Mohammed Idrees/EPA

Only three per cent of the country’s 1.3bn people have been fully vaccinated to date

Bodies of people who died of Covid-19 are cremated at an open crematorium on the outskirts of Bengaluru, Karnataka state, India on Wednesday.  Photograph: Aijaz Rahi/AP

Bodies of virus victims wash up on banks of Ganges river as funeral pyres blaze continuously

 Relatives push an elderly woman in a wheelchair as she arrives for a Covid-19 vaccination at a government hospital in Kolkata, India. Photograph: Piyal Adhikary/EPA

Footage of some 100 suspected Covid victims in river goes viral as oxygen shortages go on

Covid-19 patients receive oxygen outside a gurdwara, a Sikh house of worship, in New Delhi, India. Photograph: Amit Sharma/AP Photo

Sikh volunteers and others have created facilities to get oxygen to those in dire need

People wait their turn to get tested for Covid-19   in Hyderabad, India, as the nation struggles to contain a second wave of the pandemic. Photograph: Mahes Kumar A/AP

Patients die to to lack of oxygen as more than 300,000 new cases reported for a 12th straight day

A newly-opened Covid-19 centre in Mumbai. Photograph: Divyakant Solanki/EPA

State chiefs concede inability to deliver on programme promised by prime minister Modi

Indian people wait to fill their oxygen cylinders at an oxygen vendor shop in New Delhi. Photograph: Idrees Mohammed

Police clamp down as citizens complain of oxygen shortages and pyres run out of wood

A cyclist rides past the construction site for the new parliament building in New Delhi. Photograph: Mayank Makhija/NurPhoto via Getty

Modi is drawing flak for proceeding with construction of new parliament buildings

Multiple funeral pyres can be seen burning as people perform the last rites of their relatives who died with Covid-19 in the outskirts of New Delhi. Photograph: Anindito Mukherjee/Getty

New Delhi Letter: Fury is turning on Narendra Modi’s government amid abject suffering

Relatives of a Covid-19 victim mourn outside a hospital morgue in New Delhi, India. Photograph: EPA

Ventilated patients run out of air as healthcare sytem buckles amid 300,000 daily cases

 People in an observation area after getting a shot of Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Mumbai, India.  Photograph:  EPA/Divyakant Solanki

Lengthy queues at crematoriums and burial grounds across the country as bodies pile up outside

Devotees  in the Ganges River, India where the daily Covid-19 case numbers reached  170,000 on Monday. Photograph: AP Photo/Karma Sonam

Deadly second wave of infections comes as two-month religious festival begins

Indian army soldiers taking part in a military exercise in Leh district of the union territory of Ladakh last year. Photograph: Mohd Arhaan Archer/AFP via Getty

Countries agree to pull back troops engaged in stand-off at border in Himalayan region

Women perform celebratory rituals in Mumbai. Photograph: Rajanish Kakade/AP Photo

Number of cases rises above nine million on foot of celebrations and high pollution

Commuters in New Delhi’s heavy smog. Photograph: Rajat Gupta/EPA

Capital’s air quality ‘equivalent to each resident smoking at least 30 cigarettes per day’

 A health worker in PPE kit collects a swab sample from a child for coronavirus testing, at Nirbhay Vihar, Cantonment Area, on October 10th in Lucknow, India. Photograph: Dheeraj Dhawan/Hindustan Times via Getty

Students left unable to access online lessons due to limited internet access in rural areas

Workers of the youth wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party celebrate the ground-breaking ceremony. Photograph: Narinder Nanu/AFP via Getty

India’s supreme court handed site to Hindus last year in culmination of complex dispute

 Indian prime minister Narendra Modi greeting soldiers during a visit on July 3th to Nimu in the  northern Himalayan Ladakh region in India. Photograph:   Press Information Bureau via AP

For three decades the armies of the two most populous countries have been patrolling a disputed border in the Himalayas

People walk at the sea front in Mumbai on Tuesday after the government eased a lockdown. Photograph: Punit Paranjpe/AFP via Getty

Hospitals feel the strain as lockdowns are eased despite fears of a spike in infections

Cooks prepare dinner for migrant labourers at a camp set up by the Indian government  in New Delhi. Fear of hunger sparked an exodus by thousands of migrant workers and their families. Photograph: Prakash Singh/AFP via Getty

Restrictions have curbed virus but officials warn extension could impact food supplies

Indian homeless people and stranded migrant workers wait to get free food at Ramakrishna Ashram, as nationwide lockdown continues over  coronavirus on April 2nd in New Delhi, India. Photograph: Yawar Nazir/Getty

Privileged and middle-classes continue to live comfortably in larger towns and cities

The daughter of a migrant worker sleeps on a highway as they failed to get a bus to return to their village in Delhi on Sunday. Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

Coronavirus crisis drives many poor workers to walk hundreds of kilometres to villages

Slum dwellers receive free food packets during a 21-day nationwide lockdown to limit the spreading of Covid-19, in Ahmedabad, India. Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters

Majority in agricultural and unorganised sectors financially vulnerable, officials say

India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, leads a cabinet meeting observing social distancing in New Delhi: a 21-day lockdown has been declared.

Warning of going ‘backwards by 21 years’ if mismanaged as 1.3 billion start to self-isolate

 Indian security personnel stand guard outside the Tihar prison complex where the men were hanged in New Delhi on Friday. Photograph:  Rajat Gupta/EPA

Incident in 2012 sparked global outrage and drew attention to treatment of women

Residents stand behind a makeshift barrier at the mouth to a lane splattered with bricks following violence in New Delhi, on Friday. Photograph: Altaf Qadri/AP

42 dead and neighbourhoods trashed after clashes between Muslim and Hindu communities

 Indian security forces patrol on Wednesday near the site of violent clashes  in eastern Delhi. Photograph: Harish Tyagi/EPA

Uneasy calm follows sectarian violence over citizenship law that critics say is biased against Muslims

Indian men pelt stones during clashes between pro and anti-citizenship amendment act (CAA) groups, in eastern Delhi, New Delhi, India, on Monday. Photograph: EPA

Clashes erupt between two sides over controversial citizenship law as Trump visits

Police personnel patrol near the Taj Mahal in Agra. Photograph: Pawan Sharma/AFP via Getty

The simians have lost all fear of humans – irrespective of their importance or stature

Construction workers build a wall  along a route that US president Donald Trump and India’s PM Narendra Modi will be taking, in Ahmedabad, India. File photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters

Ahmedabad takes action before US president’s arrival as opposition criticises ‘slave mentality’

Delhi chief minister and leader of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Arvind Kejriwal (centre right) with member of parliament Sanjay Singh (left) at party headquarters in New Delhi. Photograph: Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters

Opposition AAP on course for more than 60 seats after bitterly divisive campaign

P.K. Kunhalikutty, a member of the Indian parliament, speaks to reporters outside the supreme court in New Delhi. The court has deferred a hearing  on a controversial citizenship law. Photograph: T. Narayan/Bloomberg

Controversial new law seen as unconstitutional by opposition, causing months of protest

 Students and activists take part in a protest against Sunday’s  attacks on the  Jawaharlal Nehru University campus, in front of Gateway of India in Mumbai on Monday. Photograph: Divyakant Solanki/EPA

Dozens badly hurt after attackers with rods and sticks struck Jawaharlal Nehru University

Congress-JMM alliance workers celebrate results projecting an assembly majority in the Jharkhand state election in Ranchi on Monday. Photograph: Rajesh Kumar/AFP via Getty Images

Prime minister’s party concedes defeat in assembly elections in Jharkhand state

Thousands  took to the streets in India on Wednesday against a new citizenship law based on religion that has touched off violent unrest. Photograph: Sajjad Hussain/ AFP/Getty Images)

Police crack down on demonstrators in major cities and ban large public gatherings

A policeman fires a teargas shell during a protest against a new citizenship law at the Seelampur area of New Delhi, India on Tuesday.  Photograph: Manish Swarup/AP

Controversial Citizenship Amendment Act triggers violent protests across the country

Demonstrators shout slogans against the Indian government’s Citizenship Amendment Bill in New Delhi on Monday. Photograph: Jewel Samad/AFP via Getty Images

Demonstrations on at least 15 university campuses over Bill favouring non-Muslims

 Demonstrators shout slogans next to a burning barricade during a protest against the Indian government’s Citizenship Amendment Bill in Guwahati on Thursday. Photograph:   Biju Boro/AFP via Getty Images

Protesters claim Bill will attract illegal migrants amid curfew and internet shutdown

Students of Gauhati University take part in a torchlight procession against the Citizenship Amendment Bill   in Guwahati, Assam, India. Photograph: EPA

Activists claim law’s exclusion of Muslims undermines India’s secular constitution

Policemen watch forensic experts at the site where four men suspected of raping and killing a woman were killed in Shadnagar, India, on Friday. Photograph: Mahesh Kumar/AP

Widespread approval after men shot at scene of crime as activists question justification

Indians hold a torch-lit procession to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Gauhati, northeastern Assam state, India. Photograph: Anupam Nath

Move’s exclusion of undocumented Muslim immigrants angers Opposition leaders

Cow protection is an issue that has dominated Indian politics since Narendra Modi was elected prime minister in 2014. Photograph: Graham Crouch/New York Times

New Delhi Letter: Cow safaris and ambulances among schemes promoted by ruling BJP

Foreign tourists wearing face masks visit the Taj Mahal under heavy smog conditions in Agra on Monday. Photograph: Jewel Samad/AFP via Getty Images

Experimental measure introduced as smog levels reach 20 times the WHO limit

Sikhs offer prayers as they look towards the Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan after an accord was signed  on a visa-free India-Pakistan Kartarpur corridor. Photograph: Narinder Nanu/AFP

Cross-border corridor rare act of co-operation between nuclear-powered rivals

A train passes vendors in Guwahati, Assam, India: anger is growing in Muslim communities under scheme aiming to separate genuine citizens from “illegal migrants”. Photograph: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg

Families face rupture after India declared some 1.9m people to be ‘outlawed’

A Kashmiri man in front of closed shops covered with graffiti in the  commercial hub of Srinagar city centre. Photograph: Yawar Nazir/Getty

Shops, schools and offices empty in response to lockdown and looming rule by New Delhi

Pakistan’s prime minister raises stakes in Kashmir standoff with a televised address

Security personnel stand guard in front of closed shops in Srinagar, as a tense lockdown in the region of seven million residents continued. Photograph: Tauseef Mustafa/AFP

Scores of civilians injured in protests in weeks since India revoked region’s autonomy

Extra paramilitaries and police deployed to disputed Jammu and Kashmir region

Kashmiri women in Srinagar shout pro-freedom slogans before Eid prayers after the scrapping of the special constitutional status for Kashmir by the Indian government. Photograph: Danish Siddiqui

Streets deserted during Muslim festival in action enforcing region’s revocation of rights

Leh, the capital of  Ladakh: locals expect their new status will help them  emerge from the “dominating shadow” of Kashmir. Photograph: Cathal McNaughton

Ladakh celebrates overturning of late-1940s tie to Muslim-majority Kashmir region

Activists of the “Youth Forum for Kashmir” group shout slogans as an Indian  flag with a picture of prime minister Narendra Modi is burned in Lahore, Pakistan on Monday. Photograph: Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images

Tens of thousands of troops on streets in bid to deter protests after Article 370 revoked

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi: terror legislation introduced by his nationalist BJP party accused of “opening the floodgates to harassment of human rights defenders and activists” by Amnesty International. Photograph:  Prakash Singh/AFP/Getty Images

Bill to broaden ‘terrorist’ definition and increase detentions to go before parliament’s upper house

 A  child walks on the partially dried Yamuna river bed in New Delhi, where groundwater is decreasing at an alarming rate. Photograph: EPA/Harish Tyagi

New Delhi Letter: Majority of the 20m residents forced to make do with 5-10 litres a day

The Indian Space Research Organisation’s Chandrayaan-2 launches at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, an island off the coast of southern India’s Andhra Pradesh state, on Monday. Photograph: Arun Sankar/AFP/Getty Images

Country’s most ambitious mission yet aims to establish it as low-cost space power

A man uses a hand pump to fill up a container with drinking water as others wait in a queue on a street in Chennai, India. Photograph: P Ravikumar/Reuters

Soaring temperatures have stifled the country and led to concerns over water supply

Indian women protest against the deaths of children in Muzaffarpur from a mysterious brain fever. Photograph: Money Sharma/AFP

Encephalitis linked to summer heat leaves many dead and others ill in Bihar

A rag picker carries a sack of sorted recyclable materials atop the Ghazipur landfill site in the east of New Delhi. Photograph: Xavier Galiana/AFP/Getty Images

India’s tallest rubbish heap is 65m high and the size of 40 football fields

BJP candidate Pragya Singh Thakur with  supporters at her residence in Bhopal on May 23th,  the day of vote results  in India’s general election. Photograph: Gagan Nayar/AFP/Getty Images

Prime minister Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party tops list with 116 parliamentarians facing charges

India’s president Ram Nath Kovind (left)  administered the oath of office to  Narendra Modi   at a grand ceremony at the presidential palace in New Delhi. Photograph: Reuters/Adnan Abidi

Head of the Hindu nationalist party led gruelling and pugnacious election campaign

Rahul Gandhi, president of the Congress Party: calls for him to step down have intensified among demoralised party workers. Photograph: Pursuance Vishwanathan/Bloomberg

Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party is first to get majority in parliament since 1984

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi after the election results in New Delhi on Thursday. Photograph:  Adnan Abidi/Reuters

‘Together we will build a strong and inclusive India,’ says PM as BJP set to increase majority

India’s prime minister Narendra Modi waves to supporters during a roadshow in Varanasi, India on Paril 25th. Photograph: Adnan Abidi/File

Exit polls indicate that BJP party and allies are poised to win a comfortable majority

Ranjan Gogoi has rejected the allegations as ‘baseless’. Photograph: Reuters/Stringer/File

Ranjan Gogoi is accused of sexual harassment by former supreme court employee

India’s prime minister Narendra Modi shows his ink-marked finger after casting his vote outside a polling station during the third phase of general election in Ahmedabad, India on April 23rd. Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters

PM’s party displays anti-Muslim bias while campaigning in Hindu-majority country

Indian women wait outside to cast their votes at a polling station in Supana village in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, India. Photograph: Rajat Gupta/EPA

Only 7% of candidates who contested India’s parliamentary elections were women

Indian voters stand in queue to cast their votes at a polling station as security personnel stand guard during India’s general election in Amoni village, in northeastern state of Assam on April 11th. Photograph: Biju Boro/AFP/Getty

High turnout reported in elections billed as the country’s most important in decades

Indian Congress party president Rahul Gandhi takes part in a roadshow rally ahead of the upcoming general election, in Amethi. Photograph: Sanjay Kanojia/AFP/Getty Images

Narendra Modi on course for victory in what has been dubbed a battle ‘for India’s soul’

BJP leader and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi speaks in New Delhi, India. Photograph: Harish Tyagi/EPA

India’s ruling Hindu nationalists pledge to scrap historical statute if voted back into power

People watch Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s  address to the nation at a shop in Jammu on Wednesday. Photograph: Jaipal Singh/EPA

Prime minister says country must be able to defend itself amid criticism ahead of election

A street astrologer taking rest in hot summer afternoon in Kolkata, India in May, 2013. Photograph: Saikat Paul/Pacific Press/LightRocket/Getty

Fortune-tellers, clairvoyants across country already ‘organising’ the heavens for clients

 Indian prime minister Narendra Modi with other party leaders during a National Democratic Alliance rally in Chennai. Photograph: Arun Sankar/AFP/Getty Images

First stage of world’s largest democratic exercise begins with Congress Party seeking revival

Little surprised that with general elections around the corner, the josh (zeal) of patriotism hasn’t even spared the skies,” former Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti tweeted. Photograph:  Jagadeesh Nv/EPA

Air stewards were told to conclude in-flight announcements by saying “Victory to India”

Indian soldiers keeping vigil before the handing over  of Indian air force pilot  Abhinandan Varthaman at a checkpoint on the  Attari-Wagah border on March 1st. Photograph:  EPA

Opposition claims prime minister ordered the strikes on Pakistan to boost his image as a forceful leader in the run-up to election(...)

Indians  shout slogans against Pakistan as they hold posters and pictures of captive Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman. Photograph: Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP/Getty Images

Pakistan’s decision to return pilot has considerably soothed tension between the two sides

People celebrate during a rally in Karachi,  Pakistan  after officials claimed two Indian military aircrafts were shot down.  Photgaph: Akhtar Soomro/Reuters

Jingoism rampant as Pakistan and India appear to court potential disaster

Indian soldiers inspect the remains of an Indian Air Force helicopter after it crashed in Budgam district, outside Srinagar Photograph: Tauseef Mustafa/AFP/Getty

Islamabad claims it captured one Indian pilot after his aircraft was shot down

Pakistani residents walk on a bridge in the mountainous area of Balakot where the Indian Air Force launched a raid on Tuesday. Photograph: Getty Images

Nuclear-armed neighbours put respective militaries on ‘high alert’ after pre-dawn strike

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi: opposition leaders accuse him of fostering social unrest by pursuing anti-Muslim Hindu nationalist policies. Photograph:  Sanjay Kanojia/AFP

Campaigns under way reveal vicious rhetoric in appeal to electorate of 900 million voters

Indian army soldiers arrive near the site of a gun battle between suspected militants and Indian security forces in Pinglan village in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Monday. Photograph: Younis Khaliq/Reuters

India says two masterminds of bombing in which 40 policemen died were killed in clash

Indian paramilitary soldiers hang on to an ambulance  near the  explosion site in Pampore, Kashmir. Photograph: AP Photo/Dar Yasin

Pakistani militant group claim responsibility for attack which killed at least 40, injured 13

Rahul Gandhi, president of India’s main opposition Congress Party in New Delhi, India. Photograph: Reuters/Anushree Fadnavis

PM Narenda Modi called ‘the Führer’ by opposition Rahul Gandhi for poor jobs figures

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra: formal entry into politics has led to the Bharatiya Janata Party  accusing the Gandhi family of perpetuating dynastic rule. Photograph: Sanjay Kanojia/AFP

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra takes charge of eastern Uttar Pradesh, reporting to brother

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