Editorial

Pradyuman Thakur, a seven-year-old student at the Ryan International School at Gurgaon, was found killed in the toilet of the school, with his throat slit on September 8. The Haryana police arrested the conductor of the school bus on suspicion. Later, the Haryana police said the conductor had committed the murder and the knife, the weapon used in the crime had been recovered. As there were many discrepancies in the Haryana police’s version, the case was handed over to the CBI. Now the CBI has come out with a sensational report that the...

The Indian Medical Association, the largest non-official body of doctors, has declared a Health Emergency in Delhi, in view of air pollution in the national capital reaching toxic levels, far above the permissible level of toxicity defined by the World Health Organization. The entire capital remains enveloped in a very thick fog or smog which has reduced visibility considerably and made inhaling dangerous. Air and railway traffic has been greatly disrupted. Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has ordered the closure of all schools in...

The country is passing through a critical period when the rights enjoyed by citizens in every country which claims to be democratic – the right to privacy, the right to free expression, the right to criticize who wield enormous powers over the life of citizens, the right to question decisions or remarks by men in authority – are coming under assault, are being abridged. Those in power are getting intolerant of criticism which is the essence of democracy. The arrest of a cartoonist in Tamilnadu is the latest instance of this assault. Cartoonist...

President Ramnath Kovind has completed 100 days in the highest office of the land. Though this is a short period, it brings out many facets of his personality. Firstly, he has given the impression that he is an independent minded person and may not turn out to be rubber-stamp President. He may have been a BJP man all his life but now, in the highest office, he is not following the party line and acting independently. Many eyebrows were raised in the BJP when, contrary to the party’s line, he described Tipu Sultan as a hero who died “a heroic...

The Election Commission has created a furore among political parties by recommending to the Supreme Court to debar corrupt politicians for life from contesting parliamentary or State assembly polls. The EC has suggested setting up of special courts for trying corrupt politicians. The apex court has reacted favourably to the suggestion and asked the Centre to set up designated courts for this purpose and set a deadline of one year for completing trial. The Centre, however, has not responded enthusiastically. Additional Solicitor-General...

Finance Minister Arun Jatiley has prided himself on the fact that in the last one year, India has jumped 30 notches in the latest World Bank ranking to be placed 100th in ‘ease of doing business.’ The ranking was upgraded after the World Bank found that India had performed better in eight out of ten parameters including getting credit and getting electricity. The WB report certainly is good tiding for businessmen. The WB report, however, does not state the ease of access of the common Indian people to the primaries of life like food, clothing...

China is reportedly contemplating to dig a thousand kilometre long tunnel to divert the waters of Brahmaputra in Tibet (where the river is called Yarlung Tsangpo) to irrigate and turn green the Taklamakan desert in its Xinjiang province. The Brahmaputra is an international river. It originates in Tibet, flows down through India into Bangladesh. In India it covers two States – Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, the larger part of the river lying in Assam where it serves a hinterland of 56,000 sq. kms. The river has sustained and nurtured the...

India has just sent its first consignment of wheat to Afghanistan from the Chabahar port in Iran, bypassing Pakistan. India is committed to sending 1.1 million tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan. It is a clear message to Pakistan as well as its ally China that any attempt to choke India’s supplies to Afghanistan will be foiled even if Pakistan denies India’s land access to Afghanistan through Pakistan. From the strategic point of view also, Chabahar counters, even if it does not neutralize, the advantage China got by acquiring the Gwadar port of...

Dengue is spreading fast in West Bengal. The number of dengue patients has already exceeded 20,000 with the number steadily rising. Thirty-nine deaths have so far been reported. Unfortunately, a controversy has started between the West Bengal Government and its critics. The latter claim that the TMC Government is suppressing the actual number of dengue patients because it is unable to cope with the situation. Neither the Health Department of the Government nor the civic bodies are equipped to deal with the situation. Even the doctors are...

Tourism industry is a good foreign exchange earner for India. The Centre is trying to promote tourism and make tourist places more attractive and staying facilities at tourist spots more comfortable. What discourages foreign tourists from visiting India is the incidents of violence committed on them – from defrauding to harassing to rape and even murder.  Last Sunday’s incident at Agra where a Swiss couple was badly beaten up and one suffered a fracture in the skull stands in a different category. Some locals, it is said, insisted on taking...

The Government is now insisting that Aadhar must be linked to almost any service, not just to PAN cards and bank account numbers. Cooking gas connections, ration cards, mobile phone connections – everything has to be linked to Aadhar. This insistence is contrary to what the Additional Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta categorically told the Supreme Court, namely, that “Privacy is non-negotiable, confidentiality is non-negotiable under the Aadhar Act.” He said this when asked by the apex court whether Aadhar data might make its way into the hands...

When a ruling party tries to muzzle the Press, it is a sure sign that it is losing public support. Each time a ruling party does it, it invites trouble for itself. Nevertheless, ruling parties never hesitate to resort to this measure time after time. One of the major causes of the defeat of the Congress party and the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in the 1977 general elections was her muzzling the Press during Emergency. But seldom does a ruling party take a lesson from the past when it seeks to continue in power when public support for its...

The Centre seems to have changed tack on Kashmir. From confrontation it is now seeking conciliation and consultation with a view to reaching a possible consensus. The appointment of a former Director of Intelligence Bureau, Dineshwar Sharma, as the Centre’s interlocutor with all stakeholders including, according to Home Minister Rajnath Singh, the separatist All Parties Hurriyat Conference, a conglomerate of 26 political and religious bodies which champions Kashmiri separatism, is indicative of this. Congress leader P. Chidamabaram has called...

The Indian State starved to death an eleven year old girl because her family’s ration card was not linked to Aadhar card. Santosh Kumari of Simdega district of Jharkhand died because she was starving for nearly eight days. The very poor family she was born into could not get a ration card because they had no Aadhar card. Unable to buy food from the open market the family had to go without food. In no civilized country has the State the right to deprive a citizen from his or her basic right to food, shelter and medical care. Except in India...

Article 47 of the Constitution of India enjoins on the State “to bring about prohibition of intoxicating drinks and drugs which are injurious to health.” Despite this, no government, whether at the Centre or in the States, has taken any steps to bring about total prohibition. Rather, most of the Congress-led governments which took office in the Provinces in 1937 through elections held under the Government of India Act of 1935, encouraged drinking because it increased revenue. After Independence, the taboo associated with drinking gradually...

Chinese President Xi Jinping has announced at the ongoing 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in Beijing that his country will not follow the “two Chinas” policy for long, meaning that the relative autonomy former colonies like Hong Kong enjoy now is about to end. He has also vowed to make Chinas militarily so strong as to make it invincible in any future war. He has emphasized, without mentioning India by name that all “developmental” activities of China on the border will be carried on as scheduled. No objection from any...

Life in the Darjeeling hills has slowly started returning to normalcy after almost three and a half months of bandh enforced by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and its leader Bimal Gurung. Arrest warrants have been issued against Gurung on various counts of criminal offences, the last being the shooting of police Sub-Inspector Amitabh Malik. Gurung has been evading arrest and taking shelter in neighbouring Sikkim, with the Sikkim Government allegedly playing a collusive role. The situation in the Darjeeling hills is far from normal. The role of the...

Two bye-election results, one in the north and the other in the far south, one for the Lok Sabha and the other for the State Assembly in Kerala, gave gone decisively against the ruling BJP.  In the Gurdaspur (Punjab) Lok Sabha election, the Congress candidate polled 4,99,752 vote, followed by BJP’s 3,06,503 votes. The Congress candidate defeated the BJP by a margin of 1.93 lakh votes. The AAP came a poor third with just 23,579 votes. The voters of Gurdaspur rejected Arvind Kejriwal’s party emphatically. In the Vengara Assembly constituency of...

Fires, big and small, break out in Kolkata and its suburbs frequently. In most cases it is found after inquiry that inflammable materials were stored without adequate measures for preventing accidental fire or these were stored totally illegally. The authorities, the police and the fire brigade, were blissfully unaware of illegal storing of inflammable materials because vigilance was slack. Last Wednesday’s devastating fire at a chemical factory at Taratala, the southern suburb of Kolkata was caused because of accidental entry of water into...

The Election Commission has announced that polling for the Himachal Pradesh Assembly will be held on November 9 but the poll results will be announced after 40 days, on December 18, so that the Himachal results do not influence voters in Gujarat where Assembly polls are due to be held within 15 days of the Himachal elections. The EC was expected to announce the poll dates of both the Assemblies on the same day. But it has not done so. The Congress has alleged that the EC did not announce the Gujarat polls simultaneously because the BJP had put...

The use of banned pesticides and pesticides not meant for use for particular crops have taken the lives of 32 farmers in Maharashtra, while as many as 800 have fallen seriously ill and  40 are fighting for their lives. The Maharashtra Government has booked three pesticide companies for this. The use of pesticides for raising crop production has become widespread. The manufacturing companies are out to make a fast buck without the least regard for the lives of the farmers who use these. How the manufacturers managed to rope in the distributors...

The Economic Advisory Council recently set up by the Prime Minister has admitted that the economy has considerably slowed down, a fact that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has been stoutly denying in the face of unassailable facts to the contrary. The Council, headed by Bibek Deb Roy, has admitted that the performance of the Government in employment generation has been dismal and the economy is sluggish. The Council has also observed that demonetization and GST alone are not responsible for the economic slowdown. It is an indirect way of saying...

There was nothing dramatic or sensational about Mukul Roy announcing in Delhi on Wednesday afternoon that he had resigned from the membership of the Rajya Sabha to which he was elected as a representative of the Trinamool Congress (TMC). He had earlier made it known that he was resigning from Parliament and from his party. The resignation was not unexpected either, because it was known for quite some time that his formal severance with the TMC was only a matter of time. He had already been stripped of all party posts and then ‘suspended’ from...

A number of State Assembly elections are coming ahead, followed by the Lok Sabha elections in 2019 unless, of course, the Centre decides to advance the LS polls to sometime next year. Among the State Assemblies slated to go to polls are Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Odisha and the four north-eastern States of Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura. A lot of political changes have come about in these States since the last elections. For one thing, the BJP is ruling the Centre and most of the States. The...

China has reminded India of the UK-China treaty of 1890 when India was a British colony and asked to abide by its provisions. China has, however, no answer to the question why it refuses to accept and abide by the MacMahon line which was arrived by the British and the then Chinese authorities at the Simla Conference in 1914. If the 1890 treaty is so sacrosanct to China, why should it treat the Simla agreement on a different footing? Moreover, The Simla agreement does not entitle China to claim Bhutan’s territory as its own. The latest Chinese...