Editorial

The truth has been admitted at last, albeit under duress. Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khwaza Asif has admitted, at an international security conference in Munich, Germany, that Hafiz Saeed, now under house arrest, can pose a ‘serious threat’ to his country. Ignoring the obvious understatement that the terrorist can be a threat (not that he is), one has to ask the question: why has Pakistan taken nine long years to admit that the mastermind of the serial terror attacks on Mumbai on November 26, 2008, which killed 164 people and injured 308...

The truth has been admitted at last, albeit under duress. Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khwaza Asif has admitted, at an international security conference in Munich, Germany, that Hafiz Saeed, now under house arrest, can pose a ‘serious threat’ to his country. Ignoring the obvious understatement that the terrorist can be a threat (not that he is), one has to ask the question: why has Pakistan taken nine long years to admit that the mastermind of the serial terror attacks on Mumbai on November 26, 2008, which killed 164 people and injured 308...

When there is a law, there would surely be a flaw in it to escape it. The truth of it is being underlined every day, mostly by the politicians. The Election Commission and the Supreme Court have said a firm ‘No’ to saying anything in election propaganda that raises caste or communal issues and seeks to polarize the electorate on such issues. But the politicians are a far clever lot than members of the judiciary or the poll panel. Parables, allegories and other figures of speech are often used to do precisely that – rouse communal feelings for...

The digital age has made it practically impossible to separate fact from fiction, truth from propaganda. Facebook, Twitter and Blog have become part of our daily life and it is very difficult, if not practically impossible, to control or keep an eye on their contents. Any attempt to do so will surely invite the criticism that free flow of information is being arbitrarily blocked. But there is no denying the fact that quite often, false, malicious, tendentious libellous and provocative material is uploaded and disseminated through the...

Chief of Army Staff Gen Bipin Rawat has issued a strong warning to those in Kashmir Valley who are attacking security forces during anti-militancy operations. He has said that in future the army will take ‘tough action’ against them. But in doing so the General, perhaps inadvertently, made an admission that the local population is preventing the army from conducting operations and “at times even helping the terrorists to escape.” This is the crux of the problem. Whom Indians call militants or anti-national elements or secessionists are...

Chief of Army Staff Gen Bipin Rawat has issued a strong warning to those in Kashmir Valley who are attacking security forces during anti-militancy operations. He has said that in future the army will take ‘tough action’ against them. But in doing so the General, perhaps inadvertently, made an admission that the local population is preventing the army from conducting operations and “at times even helping the terrorists to escape.” This is the crux of the problem. Whom Indians call militants or anti-national elements or secessionists are...

Kiren Rijiju is not a political lightweight. He is the sole BJP member from Arunachal Pradesh and is the Minister of State for Home who has completely eclipsed the other MoS Home, Hansraj Ahir whose name is seldom mentioned by the media. Often, it is Rijiju who makes important announcements about his ministry. So, when Rijiju says that the Hindu population is declining because Hindus do not convert and that minorities are ‘flourishing’ in India, its sinister implication in the context of the ongoing assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh should...

Kiren Rijiju is not a political lightweight. He is the sole BJP member from Arunachal Pradesh and is the Minister of State for Home who has completely eclipsed the other MoS Home, Hansraj Ahir whose name is seldom mentioned by the media. Often, it is Rijiju who makes important announcements about his ministry. So, when Rijiju says that the Hindu population is declining because Hindus do not convert and that minorities are ‘flourishing’ in India, its sinister implication in the context of the ongoing assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh should...

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is not regarded as a run-of-the-mill politician but one with commitment to certain values and principles. This is the primary reason why, even after breaking with the BJP in Bihar in 2015, he was able to retain power by a convincing majority by forming an alliance with his arch-rival Lalu Prasad Yadav and the Congress. His firm stand against the polarizing politics of the BJP endeared him to the people of Bihar and this was reflected in the assembly election results. His sudden volte face on and support for...

The Supreme Court has rung down the curtains on the sordid political drama that was going on in Tamil Nadu for about a fortnight. It has put paid to the dream of Sasikala to become chief minister as the natural heir to Amma. She has been held guilty in the disproportionate assets case, sentenced to serve a prison term of four years, pay a fine of Rs. 10 crores and been debarred from contesting elections for ten years. Sasikala’s fate has been decided but who will be the next chief minister is still uncertain. Majority of the AIADMK legislators...

The West Bengal budget for 2017-18 makes it clear that rural Bengal remains the ruling party’s core concern and core constituency and it is determined to give top priority to the rural people, their problems and their needs. At the same time, the budget also brings out the precarious condition of the State’s finances. Debt servicing cost the State Rs 36,869 crore in the current fiscal. It is estimated to rise to Rs. 47,000 crores next fiscal and to Rs 51,000 crore in 2018-19. The State’s own revenue during the current fiscal is estimated at Rs...

There has been vague talk for more than a year of India building a ‘secret nuclear city’ somewhere in South India. This secret city is supposed to have powerful centrifuges and other sophisticated instruments to enhance India’s nuclear stockpile quickly and hugely. Satellites are supposed to have taken photographs of the site. Who originally spread this sensational story is not known but the Pakistani media has been continuously harping on it and using it to divert the world’s attention from its own ambitious nuclear weapons programme. India...

There has been vague talk for more than a year of India building a ‘secret nuclear city’ somewhere in South India. This secret city is supposed to have powerful centrifuges and other sophisticated instruments to enhance India’s nuclear stockpile quickly and hugely. Satellites are supposed to have taken photographs of the site. Who originally spread this sensational story is not known but the Pakistani media has been continuously harping on it and using it to divert the world’s attention from its own ambitious nuclear weapons programme. India...

The behaviour of the Opposition members in the West Bengal Legislative Assembly on Wednesday was, to say the least, highly deplorable. They were opposing a Bill the ruling party had introduced that proposed penal measures for those engaging in destruction of property – public as well as private – in the name of political movement. It was not a new law that was sought to be enacted. It was an amended version of a law that was passed as far back as 1972. No sensible person should justify or condone destruction of public or private property on...

The United States, backed by the UK and France, has moved a proposal in the UN Sanctions Committee for declaring Masood Azhar, the mastermind behind the Pathankot airbase attack, as a ‘global terrorist’. As expected, China has opposed the US move. It amounts to supporting Pakistan in promoting terrorism. Due to China’s opposition, Pakistan and Masood may get a temporary reprieve but both the countries will stand exposed in the comity of nations: Pakistan as a promoter of terrorism and China as an aid giver and abettor of terrorism. India...

Nagaland is going through a spate of violence which has already resulted in two deaths in police firing and extensive damage to public and private property. The violence is the sequel to the movement against reservation of 33 per cent seats for women in Urban Local Bodies (ULB), that is, 32 municipalities and town committees across the state. Elections to these bodies have not been held for over a decade. In an age when equal rights for women and gender equality have been accepted by peoples all over the world, the local bodies of the Nagas...

An unnecessary controversy has cropped up in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly on Article 370 of the Constitution. The BJP which agreed to form an alliance with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to form the government when no party could get a majority on its own in the State Assembly in 2014, knew that its position on Art 370 is diametrically opposite to PDP’s which is firm on the continuation of this constitutional provision on J & K while the BJP is for its abrogation. When Chief Minister and PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti said in the State...

In presenting the Union Budget for 2017-18, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley admitted that the response from the private sector in new investments has not been encouraging. The present Government, it needs to be recalled, has been liberalizing private investment from the very beginning. Many incentives have been held out to domestic and foreign investors, especially to the latter. Still, the response is poor.  The CMIE has reported that last year this time,, the inflow of private investment was to the tune of Rs. 2.5 lakh crore. This year, post-...

In presenting the Union Budget for 2017-18, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley admitted that the response from the private sector in new investments has not been encouraging. The present Government, it needs to be recalled, has been liberalizing private investment from the very beginning. Many incentives have been held out to domestic and foreign investors, especially to the latter. Still, the response is poor.  The CMIE has reported that last year this time,, the inflow of private investment was to the tune of Rs. 2.5 lakh crore. This year, post-...

Pakistan has, at long last taken the first and unwilling step against the perpetrator of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks Hafiz Saeed, founder of the two terror outfits Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Lashkar-e-Taiba, by putting him under house arrest. India has long been asking Pakistan to arrest him and put him on trial and gave Pakistan incontrovertible documentary evidence of his guilt. But Pakistan and its ISI could not afford to act against its benamdar which Hafiz Saeed is. But with Trump’s entry into the White House and banning the entry of citizens...

Donald Trump’s stepping into the White House has taken the world thirty more seconds closer to the midnight or Doomsday when mankind is supposed to annihilate itself. We have it on the authority of the community of international atomic scientists. This is the closest to destruction that Man has come since 1953 when the first hydrogen bomb was exploded. An added reason is Trump’s dismissing the danger of extinction that mankind faces from climate change. His decision to build a wall on the US-Mexico border to stop immigration from Mexico, his...

The State Government is contemplating to bring a Bill in the next session of the State Assembly which will make destruction of property, whether public or private, during political agitations an offence punishable by a heavy fine. It is not yet known whether failure to pay will lead to the imprisonment of the offender(s). The idea behind the proposed law is laudable. Wanton destruction of property on any pretext cannot be supported. But when passions run high, agitated mobs do not behave rationally. In big cities like Kolkata there are CCTV...

In the run up to the 2017-18 budget and five State Assembly elections, the Centre is putting a brave face on the political and economic impact of demonetization, as if it were almost a non-event. The political effect will be known on March 11. But the economic impact, according to economists, is a matter for great worry.  There are no reliable data to assess accurately the GDP base for the next fiscal.  And it is on this that other calculations are made. One consequence of this uncertainty is obvious. The Finance Minister may not correctly...

The BJP is facing Assembly elections in five States including the most important State of Uttar Pradesh. Till poll results are announced, the prospect of any contesting party, including the BJP, will remain a matter of speculation. But what is not a matter of speculation is the actual performance of the major political parties in different elections since the Lok Sabha election of 2014. It is here that the ruling party, now enjoying a majority on its own, has reasons to worry. Figures released by the Election Commission show a steady fall in...

The Supreme Court has directed the CBI to nominate two of its officers to form a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the charge that a former CBI director had met some accused in the coal block allocation scam privately at his residence and whether such meetings had ‘interfered’ with the investigation he himself was in charge of. Since the team is yet to be set up, yet to start its inquiries and yet to reach its conclusions and submit these to the apex court, comments are unwarranted at this stage. However, what the charge – as yet...