Editorial

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...

President Donald Trump has done it again – annulling concluded deals, abandoning allies and upsetting the world economic order. He has unilaterally withdrawn the United States from the multilateral pact with Iran under which Iran agreed to stop its nuclear arms building programme, The United States apart, the signatory nations to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action included France, Britain, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union. As he did in the case of the world climate agreement – walking out of it unilaterally – Trump has walked...

An unnecessary controversy has been raised over the portrait of Mohammad Ali Jinnah which adorns the wall of the students union of the Aligarh Muslim University. Jinnah’s portrait was hung on the AMU students’ union office after he was given life membership of the union in 1938. For eighty long years, the portrait has been there. Nobody ever raised the demand for its removal, not even during the period when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister and Lal Krishna Advani was the Deputy Prime Minister. Then why raise this demand today?...

The Karnataka Assembly election scene shows how the nature of poll campaigning has changed in the last decade or so. With the coming of the digital age, there is relentless battle of propaganda and counter-propaganda between the major contestants to influence public opinion. A new genre of propaganda is the totally false accusations, supported by false documents that target the rival party and its candidates. This has added a new phrase to the political lexicon: Fake News. There are regular websites that purvey fake news all round the year but...

Unbeknown to the State’s health and police authorities, a well-organized and thriving business of using the flesh of dead animals as cooked meat in hotels and restaurants had been going on in Kolkata and the surrounding areas. A whole network of people was engaged in cutting, sizing and packing the flesh of carcasses thrown in bhagars or dumping grounds, treating it with chemicals and supplying it to eateries big and small, ordinary and cheap to respectable and costly. Some of the samples seized by the police were found to be stinking. But...

The State Election Commission and the West Bengal Government have at last reached a consensus on the day of holding panchayat polls. It will be a one-day affair – May 24. The total police personnel available is less than the number of booths – 58,000002E Naturally, there will be no policemen in many booths, creating an ideal condition for the stronger political party in an area to flex its muscles and deploy its musclemen to prevent fair and free elections. All Opposition parties, from CPI-M to BJP have accused the ruling TMC of resorting to...

An undesirable and avoidable controversy has been created over the appointment of Justice K. M. Joseph, now the Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court, as a judge of the Supreme Court. His name was recommended by the Collegium along with that of another. The other person, a senior advocate, has been appointed, but Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has objected to the appointment of Justice Joseph. What is noteworthy is that it was Justice Joseph who struck down the dismissal of the Congress Ministry in Uttarakhand by the Centre by...

The Pakistan Supreme Court has disqualified former prime minister Nawaz Sharif from holding any public office for life on charges of corruption. Sharif was convicted for acquiring vast property abroad through corrupt means. This brings to an end Sharif’s political career for good. He had earlier been ousted from the office of the PM and later as head of his party, the PML(N). While presidents and prime ministers of Pakistan are known for their corruption – former president Asif Ali Zardari earned the epithet of ‘Mr Ten Per Cent’ – it may not...

Quite mysteriously, teller machines of banks (ATMs) in as many as eleven States have suddenly gone ‘dry’. There is no cash in them. The Authorities seem clueless and confused. Some say that this being a festive season, ‘suddenly’ there was a huge rush for cash which was not expected. Pray, why? Everyone knows that this is the beginning of the Indian New Year, known and observed differently in different States – Naba Barsha in Bengal, Bihu in Assam, Puthandu in Chennai, Vaishakhi in north India and so on and so forth. So, what was the ‘...

Cricket lovers will be happy at Sourav Ganguly becoming president of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), succeeding Jagmohan Dalmiya who suddenly passed away a few days ago. Dalmiya had turned cricket into a multi-million-dollar industry. Dalmiya had successfully made India the country that came to dominate world cricket, marginalizing the White teams like England, Australia and South Africa that traditionally controlled the game. Sourav has inherited a legacy that he has to live up to and be worthy of. But the manner in which Chief...

There are worrying signs that people’s faith in the statutory bodies of the State, like the Central Vigilance Commission, the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG), the Election Commission, etc, is declining. This is most noticeable in the case of the law-enforcing agencies like the police and the criminal investigation department. The latest report of the Central Vigilance Commission, submitted to Parliament last week, says there has been a significant drop in the number of complaints made to it. In 2017 the CVC received 23,069 complaints...

The Supreme Court has refused to interfere with the panchayat poll process in West Bengal. The apex court has not gone into the veracity or otherwise of State BJP’s complaint that its candidates are not being allowed to file their nomination papers. It has directed the party to approach the State Election Commissioner with their grievances. Complaints of Trinamool Congress supporters preventing opposition parties – not merely BJP but the Left and Congress also – have been pouring in from all over the State. Regular clashes between the TMC and...

A newspaper report says that for 70 posts of peon and helper of lab assistants in a university in West Bengal there were eleven thousand applicants. Among them were bachelors and masters of science, B Tech, and M Tech degree holders. The salary was Rs. 15,000. This exposes the stark reality of acute unemployment in the State. There is another aspect also. Higher education is becoming more and more expensive. Those joining the higher education courses usually come from well-to-do families. But the higher education they get is proving to be a...

If truth is the first casualty in a war, decency must be the first casualty in an election war. When decency is thrown to the winds by lower level workers, the party rank and file, it may be understandable if not supportable. But when indecent and offensive words come from the topmost leaders of the party, then that becomes a matter of concern because it violates the spirit of democracy. Likening opposition parties to cats, dogs, snakes, etc., may be a vocal tonic for the party faithfuls, but such language does not brighten the image of the...

The second part of the budget session of Parliament has been practically washed out because of a handful of law-makers. Lok Sabha is being adjourned day after day because two parties of the south are indulging in non-stop slogan shouting from the moment the House assembles. The Speaker says she cannot allow discussion on the No Confidence motion against the Government unless the slogan shouting stops and at least fifty members stand up in favour of the motion which has been admitted. The Government says it is prepared to discuss the motion,...

After the State Election Commission announced that the panchayat polls in West Bengal would be held on May 1, 3 and 5, candidates of different political parties are rushing to file their nomination papers. This has set off clashes between the supporters and workers of the parties. The accusing finger is almost always being pointed at the ruling Trinamool Congress. The supporters of the ruling party in West Bengal are accused of physically preventing or trying to prevent others from filing their nominations. Prospective candidates and their...

Minister of State for External Affairs, V. K. Singh, has said that the Indian labourers taken hostage by the ISIS from Mosul in Iraq and killed in 2014 had gone there illegally through unlicensed travel agents and the Indian Embassy in Iraq has no record of them. For the MoS, External Affairs to make such a statement at a press conference is unusual and unprecedented. What he said amounts to the admission that a thriving racket in luring Indian labourers to Arabian countries is going on and either the Centre does not know it or cannot do...

In face of China’s aggressive diplomacy to win over neighbours and isolate India from them, India seems at a loss. Leave out Pakistan, which has all along been hostile to India. Recent political changes in Nepal indicate a stronger influence on Beijing on Kathmandu. In Sri Lanka, former president Rajapaksha seems to have retrieved a good deal of lost political ground. Rajapaksha’s pro-Beijing tilt is well known. Maldives saw its India-friendly president, Mohamed Nasheed dethroned and forced to leave the country. The current president, Abdulla...

Even before the Election Commission could announce the poll date for Karnataka at a press conference on Tuesday, the “National Head, Information and Technology” wing of the BJP made a ‘scoop’ by first announcing the date himself, leaving the poll body red faced. The CEC has, of course, assured that a thorough inquiry would be held into the matter and the poll body “will take stringent legal and administrative action.’’ Coming close on the heels of the Delhi High Court striking down the EC order disqualifying 20 Aam Admi Party legislators of...

Digitization of data and their electronic transmission brought about a revolution in man’s day-to-day life. The Internet opened the information superhighway. If one had a computer connected to the Internet, then at the flick of a button one could access information on any subject under the sun. Then came FaceBook, Twitter, WhatsApp and all the rest of it. Personal details of an individual could be easily accessed. These data could be used for any purpose or shared with or sold to anyone. Technically, unauthorized access to data and their...

The brewing US-China trade war has now burst into the open. President Donald Trump has announced that to remedy a “multi-billion dollar trade deficit with China” he is taking a series of steps. US tariffs will be raised on about $50 to $60 billion worth of Chinese goods for ‘levelling’ tariffs between the two countries. Also, new restrictions will be imposed on Chinese investments in US. Then the US will also ‘take action’ against the Chinese at the World Trade Organization (WTO). China is unhappy with the US decision. Though Chinese...