Editorial

Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling has suddenly lent his support to the Gorkhaland movement of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), for no apparent or convincing reason. He has written to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh pleading that “creation of Gorkhaland state will also restore permanent peace and prosperity of the region. . . . The past three decades of agitation for the statehood demand in the neighbouring hills has claimed over 1000 lives and caused incalculable loss of property.”  It is intriguing that he neither has nor criticized the...

The situation in Kashmir is turning from bad to worse. The abnormal has become the normal for the State. Friday saw the killing of six police personnel including an SHO Thijuwara on the outskirts of Anantanag town. The Lashkar-e-Toiba has owned up the incident. A senior police official has vowed to ‘avenge’ the death of his men. Avenge he well may but in all likelihood the terrorists may take reprisal by killing many more. Kashmir has become a boiling cauldron. It is a State where more and more people are becoming hostile to what they call ‘...

Nearly a quarter century after the serial Mumbai blasts that killed 257 people and grievously injured 713 others in 1993, justice has been delivered at last. A special TADA court has found Abu Salem and four of his accomplices guilty. The quantum of punishment will be announced on June 19. That was the first of the terror attacks that this country suffered. This was the handiwork of the Daud Ibrahim gang of which Abu Salem was a leading member. Those who survived the attack and are alive till today will have the satisfaction that justice may...

The Centre seems to have realized at last that its blanket ban on sale of cattle for slaughter was taken in haste without realizing its wider implications. Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has now clarified that the Government does not intend to interfere in any manner with the eating habits of the people. Indeed, it cannot. Such a ban will be violative of the Constitution which does not empower the State to decide what a citizen can or cannot eat. The Additional Advocate General has told the Supreme Court that the Government intends to...

Bimal Gurung, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha supremo, is back at his old game. He has revived his old demand for a separate Gorkhaland. He spread a totally false propaganda that the West Bengal Government was making the study of the Bengali language in the hills compulsory. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has already stated categorically that Bengali will be an ‘optional’ not a ‘compulsory’ subject. But that did not prevent Gurung to let loose his cohorts to set fire to government offices and vehicles, attack the police, threaten the tourists at...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet President Donald Trump on June 25. The meeting assumes importance for a number of reasons. First, Trump’s policy against outsourcing of jobs and stricter visa rules have had an adverse impact on India. Then there is the general ambiguity of Trump’s foreign policy, especially his policy towards India. Pakistan and China are two hostile neighbours. Pakistan has gradually moved away from the US and gravitated towards China, heightening India’s anxiety. China’s logistic build-up in Tibet vis-à-vis India is...

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan’s ‘indefinite fast’ to ‘restore peace’ lasted one day. But the farmers’ agitation spreads to MP, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Haryana. Without going into the roots of the farm sector crisis, the leaders of ruling party are accusing the Congress of ‘instigating’ the farmers and bringing ‘anti-social elements’ to create trouble. They refuse to face the fact that nobody can be ‘provoked’ to come to clashes with the State unless there is a strong reason for it. They conveniently forget the fact that...

Both the ruling BJP and the Opposition parties are engaged in exercises to select the next President. The BJP has formed a three-member committee headed by party president Amit Shah to do this in consultation with the Opposition parties. The Opposition is yet to make its choice.  From the BJP camp several names are being talked about – or speculated upon: Draupadi Murmu, Sumitra Mahajan and Ram Naik. The first one is the current Governor of Jharkhand, the second the Speaker of the Lok Sabha and the third, the Governor of Uttar Pradesh. Among...

The privacy of the individual is being constantly invaded by the governments the world over and by the captains of industry. Even to get essential services from the State, a citizen has to fill forms of different kinds, disclosing his bank account, PAN number, Aadhar card number, his and his spouses and progeny’s incomes and assets and what not. The prying eyes of the State will find out every minor detail of the individual. Over and above this,  the citizen in the industrial society is being constantly kept under surveillance and his likes...

The Opposition today does not present any challenge to the BJP or its Government. But the farmers’ stir that is spreading across Central and Western India – from Madhya Pradesh to Maharashtra to Rajasthan to Haryana – does. The BJP is still essentially a Hindi-belt party and what is happening there cannot but be a cause of its worry. In Madhya Pradesh, as the situation turned from bad to worse the party had to change its position on almost a daily basis. First, the State Home Minister denied that the police fired on the agitating farmers. He...

Those who had taken a Tory victory for granted in the just concluded general elections in Britain are now in for a shock. Despite a 68.6 per cent voter turnout, the Tories stopped short of the 326 seat mark that could have given it an absolute majority in the House of Commons. What is of more significance is that the Tories lost as many as 26 seats to the Labour Party. Prime Minister Theresa May’s future, in the circumstances, becomes rather uncertain. It seems unlikely that she will be able to win over the Scottish National Party with 36...

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) had a free run of the Darjeeling town on Thursday at a time when the Chief Minister and the entire State Cabinet were present. The widespread vandalism that the GJM indulged – or rather could indulge – in almost with gay abandon raises several questions. The first and most obvious is why the police and the Intelligence failed totally to know what the Morcha had planned, what was afoot. Second, the Trinamool Congress claims to have made inroads into the hills and won the Mirik municipality and seats in several...

The Congress Working Committee has dragged its feet again, denying the ailing Sonia Gandhi the much needed relief from the onerous responsibility she is carrying. Rahul Gandhi’s election as the next Congress president has been deferred till October on the plea that the party’s organizational elections will be over by that time. There is still an element of uncertainty about it. Obviously, not only the party’s old guard but many further down the hierarchy have reservations about Rahul Gandhi’s leadership ability. But Sonia Gandhi’s position...

It is heartening to find that for once the Government of India was not cowed down by the ravings of a US President but stood its ground. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s emphatic rejection of Donald Trump’s silly charge that India signed the Paris agreement on climate change after ‘extracting billions and billions and billions of dollars in foreign aid from the developed countries” and her equally emphatic assertion that it was not out of greed for money but out of a genuine concern for preventing climate change that threatens the...

Under orders from the Chief Minister, the police have banned political congregations and protest meetings or processions in the Kolkata University area. The College Square, the usual meeting place of the protesters, has been blocked off so that nobody can enter. Movements and agitations are common in schools, colleges and universities. This is a tradition that has been built from the days of freedom struggle. Making the CU area out of bounds for political protesters on the plea of creating a better climate for study does not appear convincing...

Lately, Indo-Russian ties seemed to be cooling off. Faced with economic sanctions imposed by Russia and the European Union, Moscow was seen to be getting far too close to China and Pakistan for India’s comfort. Prime Minister Modi’s recent visit to Russia has gone a long way in further cementing India’s traditional ties with Russia and blowing away cobwebs of doubts and uncertainties. Signing of the pact for setting up of two more units in the nuclear power plant at Kudankulam is a welcome development as is the decision to give a ‘new...

Economic truth has a weird way of coming out, piercing through the miasma of political propaganda. Seven months ago, on November 8 to be precise, when the Centre announced the demonetization of high-denomination currency notes, the people were told that it was a panacea for several ills afflicting the country. In one master stroke, the Centre claimed to have exorcised the devils of black money, funding of terrorists, funding of Maoists and the circulation of forged notes. The intense difficulties that the ordinary people of this country had to...

The judiciary is held in high esteem all over the world and particularly in India where the judiciary is the last resort for a citizen against the arbitrary and unconstitutional acts of the State. The judiciary is the creature of the Constitution and individual judges are expected to go by both the letter and the spirit of the Constitution. Article 51A(h) of the Constitution says that the citizens have a duty “to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform.” This Article of the Constitution has to be kept in...

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has given the State police a clear directive to deal firmly with anyone disturbing the peace, especially where setting up of new industries is concerned, irrespective of the political colour of the offenders. She gave expression to her annoyance and anger when she came to know that the main entrance to a new ship-building industry which is coming up at Titagarh with an investment of Rs. 700 crore has been encroached upon by a club which apparently enjoys the backing of a faction of the ruling Trinamool Congress....

Rumour-mongering with strong communal overtones has become a potential weapon in the hands of mischief-makers. A number of attacks on members of the dalit community in Uttar Pradesh can be attributed directly to mischievous rumour-mongering. Provocative rumours were spread in Kolkata on Thursday after the police chased away BJP workers from Lalbazar. To confuse and mislead the common man, rumours about the identity of the policemen deployed for peace-keeping were spread, as if the police force is deployed on their members’ communal identity....

BJP’s March to Lalbazar on Thursday, coming close on the heels of CPM’s March to Nabanna on Monday, was an exercise in competitive muscle-flexing – of who can clash more violently with the police and give a better demonstration of rowdyism. As far as the police are concerned, their handling of the BJP demonstrators was quite lenient compared to their liberal use of the lathi on the CPM activists. But how far have the people been impressed? How far has their support for one party or the other increased? Because it is ostensibly to win over more...

The term of President Pranab Mukherjee ends in July but there is a perceptible reluctance on the part of both the BJP and the Opposition to name their nominees. The Opposition has made it known that they will support Mukherjee if he runs for a second term. But the incumbent President is firm that the question of his seeking re-election is contingent on the BJP proposing his name. But the BJP is in no mood to see Mukherjee for another five years in the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Different names are being informally talked about in BJP circles. They...

India-Pakistan relations are hotting up and the talk of a war is in the air. India claimed to have carried out yet another ‘surgical strike’ in Kashmir which was routinely denied by the Pakistan army. But the fact that all the three chiefs of Pakistan’s armed forces issued ‘warnings’ against India and threatened India with dire consequences should it embark on a war left no one in any doubt that the surgical strike has really hurt Pakistan and it is desperately trying to save its face before the people at home. The wise course for India should...

The terrorists who masquerade as ‘Islamic’ jihadists have taken a fresh toll of 22 lives – men, women and children -- at Manchester are cowards to their bones. Killing innocents in the name of religion is particularly outrageous. The world has seen many such outrages in the recent past. Unless the IS is decisively defeated, there is every reason to fear that more such tragedies will occur in future. What is puzzling is that the terrorists are carrying out one carnage after another, in one country after another, with impunity but no determined...

The CPM is fast losing its relevance in State politics. The unexpected rise of the BJP is threatening it to lose its traditional bastions in rural areas. That too at a time when the panchayat elections are looming ahead. The CPM desperately needed some media publicity, some attention from an otherwise indifferent public and a little more attention from the State Government as an opposition party. The inept police handling of the party’s ‘March to Nabanna’ on Monday got it all that it wanted: media publicity, public attention and the...