Editorial

Indira Gandhi as Prime Minister had imposed national emergency on the country on the midnight of June 25-26, 1975. Nobody supported it. In fact, the people opposed it. Even the Congress later admitted it was a mistake. But the opposition, especially the BJP, ‘observes’ the day every year for targeting the Congress and the deceased Prime Minister. This year was no exception. The Prime Minister, while recalling the Emergency, launched a fresh tirade against the Congress party and the ‘family’ which is perceived to be ruling it. The Congress had...

Delhi has become one of the most polluted cities of the world. There is a heavy pall of dust and toxic smoke covering its sky. What is needed desperately is to have more trees, more greenery, a lush cover of green. Even a school student knows that trees clean the air; they absorb pollutant gases like nitrogen oxide, ammonia, sulphur dioxide and ozone. They filter suspended particulate matters out of the air by trapping these on their leaves. Right at this moment somebody has come up with the insane idea that 16,500 trees in the capital city...

The National Digital Library of India, which has just started functioning, is nothing short of opening a knowledge highway for everyone who is interested in any subject. At present 17.5 million books and journals in 200 languages on every subject under the sun will be available to the readers. A team of 50 scientists and technicians led by the Director of Kharagpur IIT, Partha Pratim Chakraborty, made the creation of the Digital Library possible. Sponsored by the Union Government, many people at many levels helped in making the dream project a...

Even as monsoon has just started to set in, large parts of India are suffering from an acute water crisis. It is a problem which has long been in the making and growing in intensity. It is a crisis the magnitude and seriousness of which was hardly ever understood by our city-based planners and administrators. As some experts have said, it is a “time bomb that is ticking away”. The facts are, indeed, terrifying. Take Bengaluru, for example, the silicon city of India. The water table in this city has shrunk from 10 to 12 metres to an alarming 76...

As was expected, the Centre had ended the temporary respite in search operations by the security forces in Kashmir after the end of Ramzan. Apparently, it will make no difference to the ground situation. Local separatist elements and terrorists sent into the Valley by Pakistan will continue their attacks and killings. The merit of the cease operations (the Government insists that it was not a ‘ceasefire’) lay in its political message. It was an expression of intent of the Government to have a period of peace. Everyone in the Valley welcomed...

The current India-Pakistan cold war has now degenerated into harassment of each other’s diplomats. Both New Delhi and Islamabad complain that their diplomats have been harassed by different State agencies. Diplomats are supposed to enjoy diplomatic immunity and are allowed free movement in each other’s country according to the Code of Conduct of 1992. It is a normal diplomatic practice all over the world that when a person enjoying diplomatic immunity is found to be engaged in spying (in diplomatic parlance engaged in “activities not...

Shujaat Bukhari, editor of Rising Kashmir and a journalist who was highly respected not only in Kashmir but all over India was riddled with bullets by “unknown assailants” on Thursday evening at Srinagar just as he came out of his office. The bike-borne assailants were waiting for him outside his office without being noticed by the Intelligence people. Bukhari’s was a voice of reason, of sanity, of peace. He worked tirelessly for bringing peace in the Kashmir Valley, for putting an end to the unending cycle of violence, terror and death. His...

The two-judge bench of the Madras High Court has given a split verdict on the case challenging the disqualification by the Speaker of eighteen legislators of the AIADMK, belonging to the TTV Dinakaran faction. The case will now be heard by a third judge of the High Court.  This gives a reprieve to the EPS Government for the present. The ruling AIADMK has 116 legislators in the present House with an effective strength of 216 members, after the disqualification of the eighteen dissident MLAs. The Opposition DMK has 89, Congress 8 and IUML one....

In the last few days several cases of innocent people being beaten to death on the mere suspicion of their being child lifters have been reported – from Uttar Pradesh to Karnataka to Assam. This expression of mob fury leading to lynching is a recent phenomenon and can take many forms. The mob may target someone suspecting he has stored or eaten or was carrying beef. The mob may target couples of different religions who are legally married. Defenceless women and girls are often the target of the deviant or hate-mongers. The rape and murder of a...

What was unthinkable even a couple of months ago has happened. The joint statement signed by President Donald Trump of the US and President Kim Jong-un, the “Supreme Leader” of North Korea, at the end of their historic summit meeting at Singapore, said that President Trump had “committed to provide security guarantees” to North Korea while Kim “reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”  The world has heaved a sigh of relief as both nuclear-power countries were talking of destroying...

Within days of snatching victory out of the jaws of defeat, dissidence has surfaced in both the Congress and the JD(U) in Karnataka. Some legislators of both parties have started fighting for the spoils of office. They want to be made ministers. Several Congress and JD(U) legislators   have threatened to quit their parties if their personal ambition is not satisfied. The BJP has reacted quickly. B. S. Yeddyurappa has asked them to leave their parties and join the BJP. Now Mallikarjun Kharge of the Congress and H. D. Kumaraswamy of the JD(U)...

Ever since he assumed the US presidency in January last year, Donald Trump has been following a hard protectionist policy. He has raised import duties on a number of items like aluminium. The protectionist policy has hurt most the European allies of the US and alienated them from Washington. France, Germany and Italy are very bitter about Trump and his policy. As things stand, there is little possibility of a joint statement being issued after the coming two-day G7 summit meeting at Quebec in Canada. Ignoring the resentment of his European...

It is an open secret that those who run private schools are interested more in minting money that in imparting quality education. The fees are hiked regularly on one pretext or another. The hapless parents of the wards are made to pay through their nose. The Centre, at long last, is going to put an end to this money-making business. The Centre is contemplating to bring in legislation to regulate school fees. As the murder at the Ryan International School last year exposed, despite charging exorbitant fees, few schools have adequate security...

Former President Pranab Mukherjee’s speech at an RSS function at Nagpur on Thursday was on expected lines and belied the apprehensions of those critics who were angry at his having accepted the saffron outfit’s invitation, without even waiting for what he told his audience. Mukherjee reiterated that the soul of India resided in its pluralism, in tolerance and in its composite culture. He voiced his concern at the ‘increased violence around us’ – both physical and verbal. He quoted Nehru and Tagore to underline the fact that throughout its five...

The opposition parties and the ruling NDA give two contrasting pictures. With every passing day, the opposition shows its intention to sink its differences, come together and throw a challenge to the NDA in next year’s general elections. A significant straw in the wind is the cabinet formation in Karnataka. The lone BSP MLA has been made a minister. It is a message to Mayawati and shows the intent of the Congress to fight the NDA unitedly in Uttar Pradesh where the BSP is a strong player.  Lately, Akhilesh and Mayawati have started coming...

The result of elections for four Lok Sabha and ten Vidhan Sabha seats held across the country has not brought good tidings for the BJP. Out of four Lok Sabha seats it has won only one and out of ten Vidhan Sabha seats it has been able to retain only one.  It has won the Palghar Lok Sabha seat in Maharashtra while the Nagaland LS seat has been won by its ally NDPP. In Palghar, its ‘victory’ in fact conceals its defeat. The vote polled by the Shiv Sena, the BahujanVikas Aghadi and the Congress fighting separately is much more than that polled by...

West Bengal is going to have on more university, in addition to the 26 universities the State already has. This has been announced by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The latest one will be at Mongpu which is associated with the memory of Tagore. There are so many universities in the State but what about the standard of education? Most universities lack necessary infrastructure. There are universities with inadequate teaching staff, inadequate laboratory and library facilities and not often with teachers who are more interested in subjects and...

It cost thirteen precious human lives to force the Tamil Nadu Government to order the permanent closure of the Sterlite copper plant at Tuticorin. It has now transpired that a ‘Deputy Tehsildar’ ‘gave the green signal to the police’ to open fire. Whether a ‘deputy tehsildar’ is legally authorized to give such an order is a matter that needs to be found out. Usually it is a magistrate who gives such an order after duly warning the people to disperse. Whether any such warning was given to the crowd is not known. For dispersing an unruly mob,...

The Centre seems to have realized at long last that a military or muscular approach to the continuing political unrest in Kashmir will not solve the problem. First, there was the announcement that security forces would discontinue their operations during the Ramadan month. This was followed by the decision that if the peace was not disturbed then the ‘ceasefire’ would continue even after the end of the Ramadan month. And now Home Minister Rajnath Singh says the Centre is willing to talk to the separatist Hurriyat also. This is in stark...

The Karnataka Assembly drama had the expected denouement. BJP’s Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa preferred to resign rather than face the trust vote. BJP legislators preferred to stage a walk out rather than take part in the trust vote for H. D. Kumaraswamy. Both proved that the BJP had conceded defeat because it does not have the majority in the House. But what should worry the Opposition leaders at the moment of victory is that already fault-lines have started appearing in the opposition camp. In Madhya Pradesh, it is the Congress which will...

The AIDMK Government of Tamil Nadu should be held squarely responsible for the police firing on people protesting before the Sterlite Copper Plant at Tuticorin in which at least ten people have been killed and many more critically injured. Video clippings showed the police taking aim and shooting at people’s heads which is against the law which allows the police to fire below the waist when firing becomes unavoidable to disperse unruly crowds. In the present case the protesters did not even turn violent before the police opened fire. Protest...

The rupee is steadily depreciating against the dollar after Donald Trump imposed trade sanctions on China and recently after unilaterally getting out of the nuclear deal with Iran and restricting trade with Iran on the flimsy pretext that “Iran’s continued support for terrorism and development of its ballistic missile programme poses a threat ……to the United States.” A falling rupee will make imports costlier while trade restrictions on Iran will directly harm India because India is one of the biggest importers of Iranian crude. Depreciation...

New Delhi’s decision to have unilateral ceasefire in Kashmir – or to use the official language ‘halt in counter-insurgency operations’ –  during the Ramzan month is a welcome one. That the decision has come within days of the army chief pooh-poohing the idea of a ceasefire which he claimed could take place only between armies and not between an army and a group of insurgents, is all the more welcome. In fact New Delhi’s policy on Kashmir (many would argue what the Centre has been following is a non-policy) has proved to be counter-productive....

By remaining firm in its original decision to recommend the name of Justice K. M. Joseph, now Chief Justice of the Uttarakhand High Court, for elevation as a judge of the Supreme Court, the Collegium of the apex court has asserted its independence. At the same time, by deciding that its recommendation about Justice Joseph should not be forwarded to the Centre right now, but should be sent along with the names of Chief Justices of other High Courts for appointment as judges of the Supreme Court, the Collegium has saved an immediate...

Rural Bengal witnessed the bloodiest panchayat polls in recent memory on Monday. At the time of writing, ten deaths have been reported. The victims include activists of all the major political parties – the TMC, Congress, CPI-M and BJP, besides others. Every possible violation of the elections rules was committed – mass stamping of ballot papers, burning and breaking open of ballot boxes, snatching of ballot boxes, hurling bombs by the score. Miscreants opened fire at many places on their political opponents. The day belonged to members of...