Editorial

Truth has its own ways of revealing itself. One of the professed and loudly proclaimed aims of demonetization was unearthing black money, unmasking the black-money holders and bringing them to book. Data already released by the RBI and other financial bodies have established the fact that very little, if at all, black money has been unearthed. None has so far been prosecuted for holding black money. Now comes a Times of India report which says that ‘offshore’ hoarding of money from India now stands at $62.9 billion or Rs. 4 lakh crore – an...

The second round of meeting of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee with the representatives of the hill parties at Siliguri on Tuesday brought into sharp relief two facets of the situation prevailing in the Darjeeling Hills. The first is that GJM supremo Bimal Gurung’s isolation within his own party is increasing. Two legislators supposed to be loyal to him, attended Tuesday’s meeting. The second is that the common people of the hills are getting fast disillusioned about Gurung’s leadership. They want to go back to their normal life, return to...

West Bengal is heading for Panchayat elections next year. These will be followed by general elections the following year, 2019. With the Congress and the Left gradually losing their support base and organizational strength, it is the BJP which is emerging as the principal opposition party in West Bengal. TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee’s uncompromising attitude to the BJP is well known. She has virtually become the face of the Opposition at the national level. Clashes between supporters of TMC and BJP are daily taking place, mostly in the...

Heinous crimes are being committed regularly in schools – even reputable ones where the scions of the rich and the well-to-do study. The victims are children. Murder, rape, sodomy are being committed with impunity. Sometimes corporal punishments are given by the teachers causing severe physical injury to the victims who have to be sent to hospital. A video has appeared which shows that an older child is boxing the ear of a younger child in a school. The victim lost his hearing. The latest horrific crime was committed in an elite school in...

A massive search operation is still going on in Baba Ram Rahim Singh’s dera or den at Sirsa in Haryana. The Baba has been sentenced to twenty years’ imprisonment by a court for rape. The searches have given a glimpse of the life of luxury, vice and sin that the Baba was leading. What is more, the Baba’s dera was virtually a parallel State within a State which was spread over a vast area of a thousand acres or more. His dera had its own hospital, operation theatre, cinema, eateries, playgrounds, etc. Then there are ‘tunnels’ whose purpose is...

The Supreme Court has come down heavily on the Centre and State Governments for their failure to control those who terrorize the people in the name of the cow. They resort to violence at the slightest provocation and take the law into their own hands and mete out summary ‘justice’ which often means lynching person or persons to death. The identity of these criminals are known – they all belong to what is loosely called ‘the Sangh Parivar’ – but the problem is that no member organization of the Parivar ever owns them up. Individuals may be...

Senior journalist and a crusader against communalism and intolerance, Gauri Lankesh was shot dead by three ‘unknown’ youths who had come in a bike and were waiting for her in front of her house at Bengaluru on Tuesday. Hers will be another name added to the long list of names of those rationalists, free-thinkers and others of similar vein who were murdered earlier like Kannada University Vice-Chancellor M. M. Kalburgi, rationalist Narendra Dabholkar and prominent Left intellectual Govind Pansare. Gauri’s was a terror killing in the true sense...

Sunday’s ‘reshuffle’ of the Union Cabinet makes two things clear. First, the Government is becoming more BJP than NDA. If the BJP is able to increase its tally further in the 2019 general elections, the Union Government may become a wholly BJP Government. The present NDA allies may find themselves left high and dry. The second is that in reshuffling his Cabinet, Narendra Modi’s emphasis was on selecting competent men who can deliver rather than on their Hindutva credentials. Expectedly, speculation about party president Amit Shah being...

The NDA Government at the Centre, the CPM and the Congress in West Bengal and the section of the media that has been traditionally hostile to the TMC and its leader, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, have been carrying on a relentless propaganda campaign that the climate in West Bengal is not conducive to investment. It has been often pointed out that even after holding several meetings of industrialists in Kolkata and the Chief Minister’s several visits abroad, no investment has come to the State. What is often overlooked is that a sustained...

The division in the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) is now out in the open. The Chief Coordinator of the Morcha, Benoy Tamang, attended the all-party meeting on the hill situation convened by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. There were some other local parties as well like the GNLF. GMC president Bimal Gurung did not attend the meet. On returning to the hills, Tamang announced that the seven week long bandh in the hills was being withdrawn and normal life in Darjeeling would return from Friday. Within minutes, Gurung not only denied that the bandh...

The truth about demonetization is out at last, as truth always is. The latest Reserve Bank of India report has virtually invalidated all the arguments adduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and later dutifully echoed by his Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in support of demonetization. Demonetization has failed to unearth black money, failed to stop generation of fresh black money, failed to prevent manufacture and circulation of counterfeit notes, failed to prevent terror-funding. The RBI data show that out of 6700 million 1000-rupee notes then...

Something is definitely rotten in Yogiland, that is, Uttar Pradesh. After the death of about 70 children at the Baba Raghav Das Hospital at Gorakhpur earlier this month, 61 more children died in the same hospital between August 27 and 29. The first time the cause of the deaths was attributed to want of oxygen cylinders and en endless blame game began as to who was responsible for the oxygen shortage.  Then a lame excuse was given that oxygen was given the children but it was industrial oxygen that caused the deaths. Again, there was no...

After nearly two and a half months of tension and fear of a war between two Asian giants, the Doklam stalemate has been resolved, though not in the way India wanted it. On Monday, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs in an official statement said China and India had agreed to a mutual withdrawal of troops from Doklam and revert to status quo ante June 15. Also, the Indian side claimed, the Chinese had agreed to stop trying to build a road in a territory which Bhutan has traditionally claimed to be its and which the Chinese were now...

If the size of the crowd is anything to by, Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Sunday rally at Patna Gandhi Maidan was a resounding success with most first-rank opposition leaders attending it. Sonia, Rahul and Mayavati were three prominent absentees at the meeting but that in no way detracted from the importance of the rally. Next to Lalu the person who, expectedly, drew the loudest cheers from the crowd was West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who has emerged as the most uncompromising crusader against BJP. The Sunday meeting also pointed to another...

Haryana on Friday afternoon was taken over by lumpens and criminals. The enforcers of law and order looked on passively during the first few hours. It suggests the complicity of the Manoharlal Khattar Government It abdicated its responsibilities and quietly allowed the State to be taken over by the followers of the self-styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh who has been found guilty of rape by a CBI court.  Arson and wanton destruction of property went on as the police were seen fleeing away. This happened despite the Government having been...

President Donald Trump has reversed many of his predecessor Barak Obama’s policies. The latest change in taking place in US’ Afghanistan-Pakistan policy. Obama had decided to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan gradually. NATO troops were also being withdrawn. Trump, in a policy reversal, has decided to send four thousand more troops to Afghanistan because he thinks that the ‘consequences of a rapid exit are both predictable and unacceptable.’ He has made the leaving of US forces contingent upon Kabul acquiring the strength to secure and ‘...

In yet another landmark judgment a nine-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court has held unanimously that the right to privacy is a ‘guaranteed fundamental right’ under Art 21 of the Constitution, subject to ‘reasonable restrictions’. This right has been contested both by the UPA and the NDA governments. As a sequel to this judgment, that legality or otherwise of the Aadhar card and its mandatory use for certain purposes will now be referred to a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court. By this judgment the Supreme Court has overruled its...

A Division Bench of the Supreme Court in a landmark judgment on Tuesday held, by a 3-2 majority, that Triple Talaq is unconstitutional and violative of fundamental rights. All forward-looking persons, irrespective of their religion, would hail the judgment. Most grateful to the apex court will be tens of thousands of Muslim women who have been victims of this unjust practice for hundreds of years. Justice Joseph pointed out that triple talaq is not recognized by Koran and as such the practice cannot be defended on the plea of the right to...

The cause of Saturday’s railway accident at Khatauli in Uttar Pradesh in which 24 passengers lost their lives is gradually becoming clear: it was criminal negligence of the concerned railway staff and lack of communication and coordination between them. The rail track was being repaired. But the ill-fated Kalinga Utkal Express was allowed to pass over the line. The Permanent Way (PW) staff claim they had informed the Station Superintendent that repair work was going on and he should have sent messages to stop the train. This he did not do. The...

The result of the elections held in seven civic bodies is out. Three broad trends emerge from the results. First, the Trinamool Congress has swept the polls, capturing all the seven bodies. It won 140 of the 148 wards. Second, the BJP has emerged as the second party behind the TMC. It is still a distant, indeed, far distant second but the trend is quite evident. Third, the CPM and the Congress have been wiped out, their alliance, whether declared or undeclared, could not help them electorally. Both parties were eliminated. If this is the...

The long-term policy objectives of the Chinese along the four thousand km long Sino-Indian boundary are becoming clearer. While the two armies face each other at Dokalam in the north-east, China has created a similar situation in the north-west by pushing its troops to the Pangong Lake in Ladakh. The same eyeball-to-eyeball situation has developed there also. China is probing our defence preparedness along the entire border, heightening tension. For the present there is a stalemate at Dokalam where the Chinese are neither withdrawing their...

North Bengal, Assam and parts of Bihar are reeling under the impact of floods. Road and rail links with North Bengal and those with the north-east have been entirely cut off. With roads and rail tracks lying under water, bridges and culverts ruptured and tens of thousands of people rendered homeless, it is a gigantic problem that the people and the government are facing. As flood waters recede, gastro-enteric diseases are likely to break out. What needs to be studied is whether this is due to sudden and unexpectedly heavy rainfall or is it a...

Ever since he became Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has scrupulously observed one rule: to be always on the right side of the Constitution and the law, while the front organizations of the Sangh Parivar would go on doing their job. Modi would condemn cow vigilantism and say that none had the right to take the law in their own hands but do nothing to stay the hands of the wrong-doers. His Independence Day speech is noticeable for speaking on three subjects on which what he said runs counter to what the Sangh Parivar has been doing since 2014....

Over seventy infants have died in less than a week in a government-run medical college and hospital at Gorakhpur.  Nobody disputes the fact of their deaths. But there is considerable disagreement as to the cause of their death: whether it was due to oxygen supply having run out or whether it was due to encephalitis or whether it was due to negligence of doctors or hospital staff. An inquiry has been ordered and it can only be hoped that the probe will find out the real causes of this tragedy and fix responsibility for the tragedy on those...

The judgment has come at last in the Hyderabad bomb explosion case in which a suspected terrorist blew himself up before a police task force in 2005. Ten persons were arrested in connection with the case, prosecuted and put on trial. After spending eleven long years in jail, nine of them have been acquitted by a local court. The tenth had been granted bail earlier on health grounds. They have been acquitted and unless the State prefers an appeal to a higher court, they will be released. But the years that they lost for no fault of theirs will...